Sports Outside the Beltway

Army to lift boxing ban in South Korea

A ban had been in place since a PFC died last year.

The U.S. Army in South Korea will lift its ban on boxing matches, but participants will have to follow several new safety rules, an Army spokesman said Tuesday.Army boxing

The ban was imposed last fall after Army Pfc. Jason Price collapsed during a boxing match and later died.

The new rules will apply to all “high-risk contact” sporting competitions, including wrestling, mixed martial arts and tae kwon do.

The rules govern only soldiers and civilians assigned within 8th Army in South Korea and do not apply to regular unit martial arts training, said Maj. Jerome L. Pionk, an 8th Army spokesman in Seoul.- Stars and Stripes

Physicals will be mandatory under the new rules for anyone who wants to take part in these sports. I have mixed feelings about servicemembers being allowed to take part in boxing. The sport, no matter how many precautions are taken, can cause permanent health problems that are sometimes not detected for years. My father used to own standardbred race horses and one of the driver/trainers who my father used was named Billy Pocza*. Pocza had once been a heavyweight fighter and sparring partner for Champion Jersey Joe Walcott.Charlie Zam

While still short of 50 years of age, Billy Pocza’s mental condition started to deterioate. He eventually died sometime in the mid-80’s and I know he was somewhere around 55 years of age at the time. The slow degeneration of Pocza’s mental abilities was sad for his family. His son Jay(who was the same age as I give or take a year) and I were friends back when our fathers had a business relationship and I was over to the Pocza’s Florida home a couple of times.

While I don’t advocate a ban on boxing, I rather not see an Army family have to go through what Jay Pocza did with his father. There are other sports that carry few if any risks.

*- That is a 1972 photo taken at Brandywine racetrack of a horse named Charlie Zam after he won a race. From Left to right- My grandfather, me, my father, Charlie Zam, Billy Pocza, Jay Pocza, Jody Pocza, unidentified woman.

I remember this race and time well. Charlie won by five lengths, a day or two some storm hit the mid-Atlantic seaboard causing me, Grandpa, and Dad to stay holed up in a Delaware hotel for an entire day, and the binoculars around my neck had been given to me by Grandpa just before we left on this trip.

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