I WAS disappointed to read Cllr Haworth’s description of bare knuckle boxing as if it was an unsafe sport, and even more appalled to hear her describe the sport as making fighting and violence on our streets more likely.

As a long-time participant in Shotokan Karate since I was eight years old, where I found the honour and discipline of the sport was instilled from day one, I must say her comments were particularly galling.

There is no good evidence that boxing, kickboxing or other martial arts foster violence in the street.

This argument is as baseless as the claim that violent films and violent video games cause people to be more violent in their everyday lives.

Studies have consistently shown that participants in and viewers of these supposedly violent media are actually less prone to violence than those who do not partake. Her claims are therefore patently and demonstrably false.

Moreover, bare knuckle boxing is a safer sport than standard boxing.

The use of padded gloves in boxing matches allows a fighter to punch harder and rain a more sustained series of blows than they would be able to if fighting bare knuckled. Combine this with the safety rules and banning of head blows in bare knuckle boxing and it is obvious to anyone who has watched or even quickly researched the sport that bare knuckle boxing is perfectly safe.

This is yet another case of the hand-wringing crowd seeing something that looks unappealing to them at first glance and deciding “something must be done”.

It is not a problem, don’t try to make it one.

Yours faithfully,

Zoë Kirk-Robinson,

Cllr for Westhoughton North and Chew Moor