Purpose: 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). Methods: 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. Results: 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 R 2 = .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. Conclusions: 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.
Damir Zubac, Hrvoje Karnincic and Damir Sekulic
Damir Zubac, Drazen Cular and Uros Marusic
Purpose: To determine the reliability and diagnostic accuracy of noninvasive urinary dehydration markers in field-based settings on a day-to-day basis in elite adolescent amateur boxers. Methods: Sixty-nine urine samples were collected daily from 23 athletes (17.3 ± 1.9 y) during their weight-stable phase and analyzed by field and laboratory measures of hydration status. Urine osmolality (UOSM), urine specific gravity (USG), total protein content (TPC), and body-mass stability were evaluated to determine fluid balance and hydration status. Overall macronutrient and water intake were determined using dietary records. According to their anthropometric characteristics, athletes were assigned into 2 groups: lightweight (LWB) and heavyweight (HWB) boxers. Results: Data presented on UOSM demonstrated a uniform increment by 11.2% ± 12.8% (LWB) and 19.9% ± 22.7% (HWB) (P < .001) over the course of the study, even during the weight-stable phase (body mass, ICC = .99) and ad libitum fluid intake (42 ± 4 mL · kg−1 · d−1). The intraclass correlation coefficients (ICCs) ranged from .52 to .55 for USG and .38 to .52 for UOSM, further indicating inconsistency of the urinary dehydration markers. Poor correlations were found between USG and TPC metabolites (r = .27, P = .211). Conclusions: Urinary dehydration markers (both USG and UOSM) exhibit high variability and seem to be unreliable diagnostic tools to track actual body-weight loss in real-life settings. The ad libitum fluid intake was apparently inadequate to match acute fluid loss during and after intense preparation. The applicability of a single-time-point hydration-status assessment concept may preclude accurate assessment of actual body-weight deficits in youth boxers.