Child boxing match involving 9-year-olds being promoted in West Virginia

A promotion in West Virginia is hosting a child boxing fight involving nine-year-olds.

By: Nate Wilcox | 2 weeks ago

Thanks to child boxing, we might have found a new low. West Virginia boxing promoter Chill Boxing has announced the Boone County Brawl in Madison, WV, featuring a match between Mason “The Viper” Maynard from Ashland, KY and Landon “Pitbull” Vandyke from Richlands, VA. The two fighters weigh-in at a maximum of 68 pounds.

Boone County Brawl will feature a child boxing match between 9 year olds Mason “The Viper” Maynard from Ashland, KY and Landon “Pitbull” Vandyke from Richlands, VA.

Boone County Brawl promoter salutes bravery of child fighters

Chill Boxing announced the child boxing bout on their Facebook page.

“** FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENT ** Two youngsters stepping into the ring for the first time ever. This bout will be at a 68lb max and both kids are 9 years old making their boxing debut. Mason “The Viper” Maynard is out of Ashland, KY and is coached by Charlie Hanshaw. Landon “Pitbull” Vandyke is trained by Coy Witt in Richlands, VA. We are so proud of the young fighters that have the courage to step in the ring and these bouts are some of the most exciting matches you’ll see. Tickets are available now for the Boone County Brawl at Live stream of the event available at This event is sanctioned by USA Boxing.”

Child boxing touted as safer than football or wrestling

In the comments on their Facebook post a number of people cited claims by amateur boxing organizations about the safety of amateur/child boxing vs. football, wrestling and other youth sports.

“In terms of boxing safety the below information will rather refer to the competitive end of the sport as outside of a minor hand or wrist injury recreational program activities virtually pose no physical risks whatsoever as regards the casual boxing enthusiast.

“Delving into it, athletes as well as the parents of those athletes must understand that Amateur boxing is not only highly regulated, but it’s deemed the safest of all contact sports according to ROSPA [Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents] and the NSC [National Safety Council].

“Considered to be safer and result in fewer injuries as compared to that of high school football, wrestling, soccer, hockey, rugby etc., amateur boxing rates as the 75th least dangerous sport out of 100 in the ROSPA table while according to a 1996 NSC accident report it ranks 23rd on its list of injury-producing sports.

“Both ROSPA and the NSC would further determine amateur boxing to have much lower incidences of injuries in comparison to that of gymnastics, in-line skating, equestrian, motorcycle racing, scuba and or sky-diving, and mountaineering amongst other such activities.”

Pediatricians beg to differ

The Canadian Pediatrician Society has a different take.

“We want children and teens to actively pursue sport and recreation, but boxing is not a good option,” said Dr. Claire LeBlanc, co-author of the new position statement and chair of the CPS Healthy Active Living and Sports Medicine Committee. “We recommend young people participate in sports where the prime focus is not deliberate blows to the head.”

Amateur boxers are at serious risk of face and brain injuries including concussion. Children’s brains are more vulnerable to concussion, and recovery takes longer than for adults. Though amateur boxers wear safety gear, there is no evidence to show that head guards actually reduce the incidence of concussions.

“While most sports have some risk of injury, boxing is especially dangerous because these athletes are rewarded for dedicated and deliberate hits to their opponent’s head,” said Dr. LeBlanc.

Boxing Canada and USA Boxing do not keep statistics on the number of participants or injury rates of their members. However, the Canadian Hospitals Injury Reporting and Prevention Program database shows that among all combat sports, boxing led to the most hospital admissions between 1990 and 2007; of those admissions 58 per cent were for facial fractures and 25 per cent sustained closed head injuries, such as concussion.

The CPS and AAP are calling on paediatricians and other health professionals to strongly discourage boxing participation among their patients and guide them toward alternative sport and recreational activities that do not encourage intentional head injuries such as swimming, tennis, basketball and volleyball.

Canadian Paediatric Society

Not the first time we’ve covered children in combat sports

Over the years there have been a number of incidents involving young children in combat sports.

In 2017 we covered Enbo Fight Club, an MMA gym in Chengdu which ‘adopted’ hundreds of children from marginalized ethnic groups. Enbo, the gym’s leader, housed the children in a complex attached to the gym and trained them to become fighters. These kids would also work for Enbo, as drivers, bodyguards and anything else that was needed. Former TUF contestant Jeremy May was one of their trainers. Chinese authorities eventually stepped in and nullified the ‘handshake’ adoptions involving these children, returning them to their families and enrolling them back in schools.

Bloody Elbow has also covered Chechen dictator Ramzan Kadyrov and his obsession with MMA and boxing. Part of his obsession, over using these sports to enhance his strongman image, has been putting his sons into rings and cages to show off the power of his bloodline.

Karim Zidan’s report on child boxing and MMA in Chechnya.

Kadyrov’s sons have been training and ‘competing’ from young ages and were once trained by former UFC fighter Abdul-Kerim Edilov. Edilov would later be promoted to Kadyrov’s chief of staff before dying in mysterious circumstances.

Kadyrov’s kids are now trained by Khamzat Chimaev.

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About the author
Nate Wilcox
Nate Wilcox

Nate Wilcox is the founding editor of As such he has hired every editor and writer to work for the site. Wilcox’s writing for BE is known for its emphasis on MMA history, the evolution of fighting techniques and strong opinions. Wilcox developed the SBN MMA consensus rankings which were featured in USA Today from 2009 to 2011. Before founding BE, Wilcox was a political operative working for such figures as Senators John Kerry and Mark Warner and an early political blogger. He is the co-author of Netroots Rising, a history of the political blogosphere from 2003 to 2007. Wilcox also hosts the Let It Roll podcast on music history for the Pantheon Podcast Network.

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