Water Weight Loss We Have Seen the Enemy.....the Enemy Can be Seen in the Mirror!  editorial Esteban Erik Stipnieks


It was a facebook chat....a fight in Houston got cancelled.  A boxer weighed in got cleared by the doctor at the weigh in then later went to the Emergency room had both kidney damage and a kidney infection....cutting weight.  The person who informed me of the story and provided a link remarked flippantly this was a job for me.  Ok a little later I will admit that he is right. 

Cutting large amounts of water weight REMAINS an issue shifting to the Pro ranks.  In amateur boxing this bad practice is diminishing.  USA boxing in their curricula for level 1 and level 2 certification is actually trying to address this.  When I sat in on a coaches clinic this issue was addressed in bluntness.  An incident from staba past (long before this site was born) was discussed in grim gory detail.  Art explained what happened in detail and how dehydration negatively affected the boxer who wound up with a permanent brain injury.  Art to his credit hammered home the financial liability and made it crystal clear to prospective coaches that the certification is a certificate of financial liability.  As he discussed the incident it made it clear weight loss of a fighter due to dehydration is bad for the boxer and an invite to severe injury and resulting lawsuit.  If you want to increase the statistical probability of severe injury in boxing event simply add to picture cutting weight.  If weight had not been cut it is possible Oscar Diaz might not be in the shape he is in today.    What I could document backed up what I heard rumor mill which paints a far darker picture of the weight loss profile. 

Simply put a severe weight loss via water loss to make weight reduces the fluid filled membrane that encompass the brain.  This alone increases the possibility of a brain bleed.  This alone increases the chances of severe injury.  Art went on and highlighted the effects on muscle performance, strength and endurance.  He explained to coaches how it turns a good boxer bad! 

Ok why does the practice remain? Let me go from 80mm of zoom to an 18mm wide angle perspective.  Boxers and trainers are part of a greater boxing culture that has been developing for more than the past 100 years.  Cultural flaws  simply put die hard....as we have gotten smarter about medical factors this knowledge has been slow to impact.  The collective body of knowledge has increased and we realize how bad the practice is to boxers.  We got the stubborn aspect of a rigid culture.  Simply put as I attempted to explain to a supervisor he could tell us once a new era in terms of equipment standards was here but he was bucking 4 years plus of being told to keep our mouth shut about equipment working less than well the way it should.  The movie Vision Quest while about wrestling reflects a deep seated attitude shared between boxing and wrestling about "cutting weight."  Intellectually some may know cutting weight is bad.  I will add this is where a talented fighter becomes their own worse enemy.  A boxer who gets themselves in weight problems is a boxer bound for potential disaster.  A sound weight loss schedule focusing on loss of fat is demanding and boring at the same time.  The trainer must also fight the boxer at a reasonable weight.  The trouble is many successful trainers have gotten away with cutting weight for some of their fighters.  Many boxing trainers have lived in the world of boxing from back in the day when cutting weight was chic.  Removal of weight cutting chic means eliminating an old way that is familiar. Cutting weight is to the trainer and boxer what busting minimums is to pilots something one can get away with but each time you get away with it you get the false impression.  Inevitably this practice will lead to disaster.  It also means adopting new ways that are not familiar and require an extra layer of vigilance and a fundamentally different way of looking at things.  All of this is an enormous hurdle for even a well intentioned trainer. 

Kidney infection near kidney failure....in reality the boxer got off easy...imagine a kidney infection and brain bleed or even worse a dead boxer in Houston.  Let me go back to my aviation background.  The coaches clinic by Art was an evolution on what I had sat through with the Canos.  When I was learning to fly it was relentlessly hammered into myself that face that looked at me when I stared at mirror was either the weakest point or strongest point in the safety chain.  Sound practices exist (what is the urine color) boxer, trainer you should know what that detail is within 24 hours of a fight!  Clear is nice the darker the color the worse condition the boxer is in.  What is the fighter's body comp...are they less than 5% and how close are they to contract weight? I was at an amateur boxing event and an official asked a boxer about their hydration.  Will someone please buy that staba official the beverage of their choice adult or non alcoholic THEIR CHOICE. 

It would be nice pronounce a nice proposal for TDLR and other boxing regulatory bodies to eliminate the horrors of weight cutting.  As another person pointed out the issue HAS to be taken on at the grass roots level.  Like the aero club member who jokingly said "who here has not busted minimums" only be met with glares by eight other pilots losing large amounts of water weight must become equally unacceptable.  It is something boxers, trainers, and officials must  be aware of.  As Steven Hall accepted he would fight at a heavier weight he has succeeded (look at his box rec record).  We want lean boxers not excessively lean boxers...losing large amounts water weight must not be seen as even acceptable. Sauna suits and other weight loss tricks must go into history.  The only way this can happen is boxers, trainers must look at the medical facts and abandon practices that are known as dangerous and unwise.   



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