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Int J Sports Physiol Perform. 2018 Aug 1;13(7):860-866. doi: 10.1123/ijspp.2016-0733. Epub 2018 Jul 14.

Rapid Weight Loss Is Not Associated With Competitive Success in Elite Youth Olympic-Style Boxers in Europe.



To examine the influence of rapid weight loss (RWL) on competitive success in elite youth Olympic-style boxers. In addition, this study examined the practice and prevalence of weight reduction, weight-management protocols, and related symptoms in youth boxers from 12 European countries (N = 83, all males, mean [SD] age 17.1 [0.9] y).


The data were collected using an extensive questionnaire on weight cutting and its associated protocols and symptoms prior to highest-level continental championships. Competition results were obtained at follow-up using a dichotomous variable: medal winning vs nonwinning at the European Championships.


Binary logistic regression analysis indicated that "boxing experience" was significantly related to the criterion competitive outcome (odds ratio = 1.33; 95% confidence interval, 1.06-1.66; Nagelkerke R2 = .11), with a higher likelihood of competitive success for more-experienced boxers. Of all the youth boxers, only 25% were included in the RWL group, irrespective of their weight-class stratification. More than 45% of all the youth boxers self-reported the simultaneous combination of different weight-cutting methods that are known to be serious health hazards. Finally, 33% of the boxers experienced muscle weakness as a consequence of RWL.


Our study provided evidence of pathogenic weight-management protocols that are widely adopted by youth boxers, and yet the present outcomes showed that RWL did not translate into competitive success in these elite Olympic-style boxers in Europe. Therefore, the authors suggest a mandatory educational program that should simultaneously target all the mentioned issues including both health- and performance-threatening consequences.


dehydration; gradual weight loss; martial arts; weight reduction

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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