BIBA to introduce head scans following Mike Towell and Nick Blackwell incidents

A head is scanned
The scanner takes three minutes to complete an analysis and has a 90% accuracy when detecting bleeding on the brain

Handheld scanners which detect bleeding on the brain will be introduced to improve the ringside care of boxers.

The British & Irish Boxing Authority (BIBA) hopes to use the device at an event in Bradford on 26 February.

Mike Towell died from head injuries sustained in a bout in September, six months after Nick Blackwell was hospitalised with a bleed to the brain.

BIBA will offer use of the scanners to fighters who compete under the British Boxing Board of Control (BBBofC).

But the BBBofC told BBC Sport it "does not recognise" BIBA - known as the Malta Boxing Commission until 2016 - and that it will continue to do its own research and use its own medical practices.

BIBA vice-president Gianluca Di Caro told BBC Sport: "It's not about us and the fighters we work with versus fighters with other organisations. It is about all the fighters.

"If there is a fighter anywhere, who has been suffering with headaches, he needs to know we will go to him and do a scan. Sometimes we will just have to move quickly to ensure that any boxer can be helped.

"We will have one scanner by 22 February, another is on order and our aim is to have 10. I will raise the sponsorship to do that."

Scans 'can only be good'

Mike Towell
The late Mike Towell's girlfriend is pleased with the move to scan the heads of fighters

Towell had been suffering with headaches in the run-up to a bout days before his death after a fifth-round loss to Welsh fighter Dale Evans.

Upon hearing news of the introduction of scanners, his girlfriend Chloe Ross posted on Facebook: "I'm glad to be finally seeing something good coming from what happened to Michael. It shouldn't take someone's life for these things to be used but if it saves someone else's life then that can only be a good thing."

Through sponsorship from an Australian backer, BIBA has purchased two scanners at a cost of $15,000 (£12,000) each and intends on using them to check on fighters before and after fights.

Scanners, which operate by shining a light laser beam into the head, can detect brain bleeds with an accuracy of 90% and take around three minutes to complete. Their use by BIBA will form part of a broad medical undertaken by fighters before bouts, including cognitive testing.

In addition to Towell's death and Blackwell's injury, 2016 also saw amateur boxer Kuba Moczyk, 22, die after sustaining a severe head injury in his first bout.

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