The World Boxing Council is urging Referees to be much more vigilant and to more strictly apply the rules concerning rabbit punches, which are putting the lives of boxers in very grave danger.
A recent incident in the Dominican Republic, landed boxer Tomas “Gusano” Rojas in hospital, after his opponent Ranfis Encarnacion hit him with a rabbit punch. Rojas collapsed and had convulsions in the ring. He was rushed to hospital and mercifully seems to have recovered. The Referee deducted two points from the offending fighter and then disqualified him.
The reason a rabbit punch is terribly dangerous, is because the lower area of the neck, which is called the Medulla Oblongata, is where the spine connects to the brainstem. Punching to this area is strictly forbidden, because it can lead to paralysis as well as catastrophic brain damage.
In 2015 boxer Prichard Colon suffered terrible and permanent injuries in a fight against Terrell Williams, due to rabbit punches. He was unable to answer the bell for the tenth round, collapsed, had a brain bleed and went into a coma for two hundred and twenty one days.
Although Prichard survived, his injuries are exceptionally severe and permanent. Prichard will never be the same again. He is learning how to communicate via a computer.
Rabbit punches are a savage throwback to another era, where serious fouls were mistakenly and wrongly considered to be part of the so called freeform rough and tumble of Boxing. This included deliberate head butting, thumbing, lacing, heeling, palming, pinching, kneeing and biting. While many of these foul practices have been stamped out, rabbit punching persists.
The WBC is not only urging Referees to have a zero tolerance to rabbit punching, we want to advise trainers to thoroughly discourage it, by ordering boxers to immediately and permanently, desist and abandon it. Rabbit punching is not accidental. It is a deliberate foul which often occurs in clinches.
The Prichard Colon Rule, which is officially sanctioned by the WBC involves:
The initial warning concerning rabbit punches being given in the locker room by the Referee with the instructions prior to the fight. We are recommending that Referees must be even more specific, especially explaining the horrendous injuries this foul can and does inflict, so as to leave no doubt in the minds of the fighter and team that this will NOT be tolerated.
The Referee may immediately stop the action and warn an offending boxer, who punches behind the head.
After the warning any continuous action or retaliation must immediately addressed by the Referee with a firm warning and a point deduction.
Referees have the authority to warn, deduct points of disqualify the offending fighter.
We strongly recommend that firm action be taken IMMEDIATELY when a rabbit punch is thrown, before the situation deteriorates and a medical crisis occurs. A zero tolerance to rabbit punching MUST be immediately applied, which means Referees have the duty to instantly disqualify the offender.
This decisive action will deter those who have chosen to involve themselves in dirty fight tactics, via a ruling insisting and underlining that this WON`T be tolerated.
The lives of boxers are at risk. Referees must take strong, prompt and appropriate disciplinary action.