Enzo Calzaghe blasts BBBofC for withdrawing his licence
Having had his training licence denied by the British Boxing Board of Control, legendary trainer Enzo Calzaghe was forced to watch from the stands as his longtime student Enzo Maccarinelli picked himself up off the canvas twice to capture the British cruiserweight title on Friday night.
Calzaghe, who required a new licence when his old one lapsed after son Joe’s retirement, was told this week that his licence could not be renewed until he had completed the Board’s mandatory first aid course. And despite having a St John Ambulance first aid course certificate, the champion trainer was not allowed in Maccarinelli’s corner for his domestic title challenge.
Naturally the decision didn’t go down to well with the fiery Italian and he was on the phone to Boxing Futures to lambast the BBBofC and make a stand for trainers up and down the country…
‘I’m really really dejected, I’m so upset. The thing I’m most disappointed about is that I wasn’t allowed in Enzo Maccarinelli’s corner,’ said Calzaghe. ‘You do eight weeks of training to get a fighter in the best shape to go in there and perform and they [the BBBofC] do this to you. You would think somebody over there would have the commonsense to say the timing isn’t right alerting me three days before the fight and let it go till after.
‘What’s more I only found about it because I made a phone call to someone at the Board. Something like that I should be notified of by letter a week before the fight so we have plenty of time to accommodate it. It was put on us out of the blue. They pride themselves on protecting the fighters and having their best interest at heart but how is it protecting the fighter’s best interest to stop their trainer from being in the corner three days before the fight?
‘They said I couldn’t be in the corner for insurance reasons but if that’s the case how come I was allowed in his corner for his last fight? I’m just utterly disappointed that I wasn’t able to properly support Enzo last night after all the work we had done for the fight. I mean what crime did I commit to be hanged and quartered like that?
‘I’ve got a first aid certificate with St John Ambulance and I’ll tell you what, no one knows more about head injuries and traumas than those guys. They work with the Football Association, they work with the rugby players, who are always at risk of picking head injuries, so how can the BBBofC reject it? I was proud to be trained by St John's because they're that good.
‘The BBBofC wanted me to spend £400 to come down from Newbridge to London on a Sunday to do their course. Now if you think some of these trainers are working for 10 percent of £2000, that’s £200 for eight weeks work, so to ask them to spend that kind of money is ridiculous. Now I don’t care about the money but I’m not going to stand around and watch trainers get fleeced. Why is their course much more important than St John’s? It’s called dictatorship, ‘it’s our way or no way’, and that's what I'm standing against.
‘According to them they had sent me letters about the matter but I only ever received two letters from them. They were the only letters they sent by recorded delivery and they even had the wrong bloody postcode on them! One was to tell me to attend the course on December 11 and the other was to notify me that they had rejected my St John Ambulance certificate.
‘I believe the whole thing is about money. If they let Enzo Calzaghe carry on with his St John Ambulance certificate then it validates it and the other trainers won’t feel obligated to take their course and they lose out on all the revenue from it. But why can’t the trainers do it at their local St John’s down the road, which is cost effective? Why have they got to treat us trainers with such contempt as if we’re just an item? ‘Shut up, put up and do what you’re told otherwise we’ll take your license off you’ – it’s bullying plain and simple, and I won’t have it.
‘After everything I’ve given to the sport, 34 years of blood, sweat and tears. The awards I won, MBE, Sport's Personality, that was all for what I've given to boxing throughout the years. The Joe Calzaghe's, the Bradley Pryce's, the Gavin Rees', the Enzo Maccarinelli's, the Nathan Cleverly's, you name it I coached them all, so to be treated like a criminal now is disgraceful!’