Toughman bout video shows woman being punched as she walks away

Thursday, June 26, 2003

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- A woman who died after a Toughman amateur boxing match was hit repeatedly in the head even after she walked on wobbly legs to her corner, a videotape of the match reportedly shows.

The tape shows Stacy Young, a mother of two, taking several blows to the head and being unable to defend herself before she collapsed June 14, the St. Petersburg Times reported Wednesday. The tape, reviewed by a Times reporter, includes shouts from the crowd for the fight to stop, the paper said. Young, 30, was declared brain dead two days after the match. Police are investigating.

The Times reported the tape shows that as Young headed to the safety of her corner, her opponent, 20-year-old Sarah Kobie, followed and threw three punches to Young's head.

Young collapsed and suffered a seizure while her family watched.

Toughman promoter Art Dore was the announcer at the match, at one point calling it "a real cat fight," the videotape shows.

Young was the fourth person to die in a Toughman bout in the last nine months. She is the only woman killed in the 24-year history of the competitions.

Dore did not return a call seeking comment Wednesday. He has denied that the events are dangerous, but temporarily halted the traveling show after the death.

The Times did not identify the source of the videotape, but said police have a copy.

Kobie has an unlisted telephone number and could not be reached for comment. Her father has said she feels terrible about the death.

Sarasota County commissioners voted Tuesday to draft an ordinance to ban Toughman contests.

A state lawmaker has introduced legislation to close loopholes that allow Toughman competitions to be staged without having referees and ringside doctors who meet the standards required in regulated amateur boxing matches.

On Wednesday, the American College of Sports Medicine called on state and national lawmakers to demand safety standards and reform for Toughman-type boxing contests.

"Many participants in these events simply are not properly prepared for the rigors and dangers of boxing," said Robert C. Cantu, chairman of the group's task force on boxing safety.

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