England Boxing Publishes the Charles Thomas Report

September 1, 2023 | by Nabillah Akhtar


Following the tragic death of Edward Bilbey, England Boxing commissioned Charles Thomas to carry out an independent investigation and, today, has published his report. 

On 24 March 24, 2017, Edward collapsed at the end of his East Midlands Youth Challenge Welterweight title bout, and sadly passed away later that evening. 

The occurrence of sudden death during sports, although rare, has a significant impact as victims are young and seemingly healthy individuals. The untimely demise of a young athlete is always a devastating and tragic event, deeply affecting families, fellow competitors, and in this case, the boxing community. 

The Coroner’s verdict attributed Edward Bilbey’s death to an undiagnosed heart condition and a metabolic disturbance resulting from intense physical training and rapid weight loss through dehydration. Additionally, the Coroner determined that his death was partly contributed to by the lack of adequate safeguarding and child protection measures. 

England Boxing welcomes Mr. Thomas’s report and fully endorses all its recommendations. The report acknowledges that improvements have been made to the England Boxing rules, safety protocols, and training since this tragic incident. Notable examples of progress include the implementation of the “defibrillator rule” and a successful campaign for defibrillator equipment in boxing clubs. 

However, the report identifies missed safeguarding opportunities, for which England Boxing expresses both deep regret and a firm commitment to further improvements, as outlined in the recommendations.  

Consequently, England Boxing has developed a 25-point action plan encompassing all aspects of the organization and the sport, in addition to the changes that have already been implemented. The plan focuses on enhancing coaching, medical procedures, sports administration, and the training of officials. 

We would like to extend our gratitude to Mr. Thomas and the Sport Resolutions team for their diligent review and compilation of the report, which will provide valuable insights for everyone involved in sports and direct support to young athletes.  Furthermore, England Boxing joins Mr Thomas in offering its condolences to Edward’s family and friends, and hopes that the improvements that have already been made to safeguarding practice and the recommendations contained in the report will help to ensure other families do not have to suffer as they have. 

Please click here to read the full report.