Model With Implants Banned From Boxing

Sarah Blewden, a 25-year-old British model and hair salon owner, insists her breasts should not stand in the way of her competing as an amateur boxer.

She suffered a blow to her ambitions when the Amateur Boxing Association of England (ABAE) recently told her she would be unable to register because of her breast implants. Their international regulations say that repeated blows to her chest could be dangerous, possibly knocking the implants out of shape and damaging her breast tissue.

"If I had great, ginormous, double-F breasts it would be different," said Blewden, who has pleaded with the medical certification team to allow her to wear a breast protector, just as men wear groin guards for their testicles.

Blewden, who has a 5-year-old daughter, said she had gel implants to boost her budding modeling career in 2003. She enlarged her breasts from a 32B to a C cup, which she says enabled her to do some topless shots. Later, she turned to boxing to keep fit.

The svelte, shapely blonde said she has been accused of taking up boxing to "do sexy shots," but she is adamant that it is the sport itself that exhilarates her.

'Safer Than Horseback Riding and Skiing'

"This isn't about that, it's about boxing," she told ABCNews.com. "I'm not trying to get my five minutes of fame. I just want to try to see if there is any way they can approve breast protectors. You look at the medical stats of women in the last year and all you see are three grazes on the cheek. It's safer than horseback riding and skiing."

Her claim is backed by the USA Boxing Web, which states that "study after study indicates Olympic-style boxing is among the safest of the contact sports."

"If you compare, this just isn't fair," she said.

Dr. Julius Few, director of the Few Institute for plastic surgery in Chicago, said the rule against boxing and implants is "theoretical at best." He has treated patients for injuries in both horseback riding and skiing and said, implants are "incredibly rugged."

"In those contact sports, women have taken a fall and landed on their chest and the hit has not been a problem," he told ABCNews.com. "The risk is greater if someone is in a car accident with a restraining seat belt."

But, Few cautioned, "Most board certified experts would agree that it's something that hasn't been studied and it's kind of an optional activity, better to err on the side of safety."

Women's boxing is booming in Britain with about 30,000 amateurs, according to the ABAE, which was upset with media coverage of the issue in British newspapers this week.

"We are trying to have a positive spin on the Olympics," said Rebecca Gibson, national women's boxing development manager for the ABAE. "It's a shame and an unfortunate situation."

Women Boxers: Equal, But Safe

Gibson said that women's boxing is still not recognized as an Olympic sport and ABAE officials were hoping to be included at the London 2012 games. Their successful national team has jumped from 50 to 500 registered female boxers since 2005 and recently won a silver medal in China.

"We have a big, big push for this and it's really just bad timing when we are pushing for equality, but we also want to make sure that people are safe," she said.

Blewden's love of the sport began with Thai boxing -- "which is a lot more brutal," she said.

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