Boxers in skirts?

Athletes' outfits aren't usually controversial, but a fierce debate has sprung up after the Amateur International Boxing Association (AIBA) suggested that women boxers should wear skirts and tight vests.

Dr. Ching-Kuo Wu, president of AIBA, said: "I have heard many times, people say, 'We can’t tell the difference between the men and the women,' especially on TV, since they’re in the same uniforms and are wearing headgear."

Their rather extreme solution was to hand out skirts at last year's World Championships - which Dr Wu explained were optional. However, he added: "After we hear about its comfort and how easy it is to compete in the uniform, it may be compulsory."

Female boxers have understandably been angered by the proposal. Katie Taylor, Ireland's three times world champion, said: "It's a disgrace that they're forcing some of the women to wear those mini-skirts. We should be able to wear shorts, just like the men.

"I won't be wearing a mini-skirt. I don't even wear mini-skirts on a night out, so I definitely won't be wearing mini-skirts in the ring."

However at last week's European Championships, two nations - Poland and Romania - did adopt the uniform. Romania wore the skirts from the AIBA, while Poland went a step further and designed their own.

"By wearing skirts, in my opinion, it gives a good impression, a womanly impression," Poland coach Leszek Piotrowski told BBC Sport. "Wearing shorts is not a good way for women boxers to dress."

Women boxers have worn shorts since the 116-year ban on women's boxing was lifted in 1996.

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