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Child Welfare: 'Barbaric' cage fight between young boys criticised by children's charities

A cage fight between two young boys that took place in Lancashire has been described as 'very barbaric' and 'disturbing' and was subjected to a police probe.

The boys, aged eight and nine, were taking part in a wrestling match in front of 250 adults at Greenlands Labour Club in Preston on 10 September.

A video of the fight was published on YouTube and showed that neither child wore protective padding or head gear and they were also shown receiving medical attention.

The promoter of the event, Marcus Holt, claimed that the boys were not in any danger, saying: "There are no kicks, there are no punches, so there's no need for things like head guards and other wear like that. With the children, it's all amateur bouts, it's all demonstration grappling submissions."

One of the boys' fathers said: "He loves the sport. It's not one bit dangerous, it's a controlled sport."

But the NSPCC believe that young children should not be involved in contact sport such as fighting. Head of child protection awareness Chris Cloke said: "We would strongly discourage parents from letting their children take part in this kind of fighting.

"It's quite disturbing that some of those involved in the bouts were as young as eight, an age when they are still developing, physically and mentally.

"The organisers of these activities should think very carefully before allowing children to be involved when they are egged on to inflict violence."

Lanacashire Police investigated the event to see "whether there were issues surrounding the safety of children".

Their spokesman said: "There is no issue with the club's licence to stage such events. We were aware that the mixed martial arts night was taking place but we were not aware that children were taking part."

On seeing the video of the fight, Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt described it as "very barbaric".

He said: "We don't want to discourage children from doing sport, and particularly young boys with all the social problems that we were thinking about in the summer.

"We have to recognise that sport has a very, very important role but I think with this particular sport, I think some people will ask some questions."

Related links:
Read more on the story (BBC)
Read about children's human rights (FindLaw)
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