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WBC bans Indonesian boxers for six months

JAKARTA, Indonesia -- Indonesia's boxing commission pledged Wednesday to improve safety after the World Boxing Council imposed a six-month ban on its fighters because of deaths in the ring.

"We have evaluated the situation. We know what the root of the problem is," said Ebert Hutagalung, vice chairman of the Indonesian Boxing Commission.

Five Indonesian boxers have died in the past 18 months. The latest casualty was lightweight Donny Maramis, who died after being stopped in the seventh round of a national title bout Oct. 27.

At its annual convention last week in Thailand, the WBC banned Indonesians from fighting in WBC-organized bouts outside the country. Indonesians were dropped from the WBC's rating system.

The WBC, though, can't stop the dozens of bouts in Indonesia each week.

The WBC will donate $1,000 to the families of the five dead boxers and promised to cooperate with local sports officials to improve safety standards.

Hutagalung said medical checkups will be carried out regularly in boxing training camps and on the day before a bout. The Indonesian boxing commission also will investigate whether mismatching contributed to the high death toll.