Death of 14-year-old kickboxer in Leeds prompts calls for greater regulation of sport

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The death of a talented young kickboxer in Leeds has prompted fresh calls for greater regulation of the sport.

Scott Marsden, aged 14, fell ill during a national title bout in Leeds on Saturday and died in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

The British Kickboxing Council (BKC) added to the tributes being showered on the youngster, from Hillsborough, describing him as an 'amazingly talented young athlete'.

But the organisation said it did not sanction any full contact events for fighters aged under 16, and it was up to individual event organisers to ensure the safety of both competitors and spectators.

It has applied for permission to govern the sport, in which it feels safety procedures need to be a 'higher priority', and said Scott's tragic death strengthened its case for greater regulation.

"The BKC are currently applying to Sport England for the governance of kickboxing and freestyle combat sports, as the sport is unregulated and the BKC believe that safeguarding procedures need to be a higher priority within the sport," said a spokesperson for the organisation.

READ MORE: Tributes paid to tragic teenage kickboxer from Sheffield

"Incidents such as this fully support the BKC’s application for governance and demonstrate why this sport needs regulation. The BKC will work closely with the NSPCC’s Sports Unit and will be taking further advice in relation to this matter from the designated safeguarding lead.

"Our thoughts are with the family at this difficult time and we remain committed to doing whatever we can to ensure that this remains an isolated incident."

Scott's club, Marsden's All Styles Kickboxing, has said the fight had been an incredibly close one and there was nothing to suggest it needed to be stopped until the teenager became suddenly ill.

It is understood both fighters were wearing protective headgear during Saturday's contest.

The World Kickboxing Association (WKA) England has said it is not known what caused Scott's condition to suddenly deteriorate.

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