The British Boxing Board of Control (BBBofC) faces criticism as it restores the coaching license of Jay Shinfield, the coach of late teenage boxer Eddie Bilbey. Despite an independent report revealing “dangerous training practices” at the gym, the decision to reinstate Shinfield’s license is deemed ‘inexplicable’ by Eddie’s mother, Michelle Bilbey.
Eddie Bilbey tragically collapsed and died following a fight in March 2017. The subsequent 2020 inquest exposed concerning training practices, including excessive weight-cutting measures that contributed to the 17-year-old’s untimely death. The coroner’s verdict pointed to an undiagnosed heart condition, metabolic disturbance, and inadequate safeguarding measures as contributing factors.
The BBBofC’s recent decision to lift Shinfield’s suspension has sparked outrage. Michelle Bilbey expressed disappointment, questioning why her son’s death only resulted in a refresher training course for trainers. She highlighted the overlooked aspects of the inquest and emphasized her concern about Shinfield’s reinstatement, given the criticism of his training practices.
Efforts to contact Shinfield for comment were reportedly unsuccessful. Michelle Bilbey cited statements from other boxers trained by Shinfield, alleging hazardous practices that led to hospitalization due to dehydration.
During the inquest, it was revealed that Eddie’s training involved extreme measures, including wearing bin bags to induce weight loss. The coroner’s findings labeled Shinfield an ‘unreliable witness’ and criticized his lack of registration with England Boxing, absence of coaching qualifications, and failure to adhere to safety guidelines.
An independent report from England Boxing corroborated these findings, indicating “dangerous training practices” under Shinfield’s oversight. The report recommended disciplinary procedures and consideration for preventing Shinfield from working with children and vulnerable adults.
In response to the tragedy, England Boxing implemented a 25-point action plan focusing on enhancing coaching standards, medical procedures, sports administration, and official training. The organization expressed regret for missed safeguarding opportunities leading up to Eddie Bilbey’s death.
The controversy surrounding Shinfield’s reinstatement highlights the ongoing challenges in ensuring the safety and well-being of young athletes in the sport of boxing. As discussions on coaching standards and athlete protection continue, the case underscores the need for stringent measures to prevent future tragedies.