Is it cute or cause for concern?

That's the heated debate hissing around a kickboxing match that took place on Australia's Gold Coast last Saturday.

Eight-year old Jasmine Parr took on seven-year old Georgina "Punchout" Barton in a bout that eventually ended in a draw, but has plenty of outsiders scoring the fight as questionable, at best.

How young is too young, not for just a contact sport, but also a sport in which the point is to physically abuse your opponent into submission?

Supporters of the fight, those that think it was mostly amusing to see the little girls swing at each other, will no doubt point to the fact that Parr is the daughter of kickboxing champion John Wayne Parr and that Barton trains six days a week to perfect the craft. This is, they'll argue, what the girls were born to do. It's in their blood. And that may be true, despite the fact that it probably would be safer for those girls to wait a few years (at least) before wailing on each other's faces.

But Jasmine began crying shortly after the match started, and that doesn't look good for her dad or his supporters those that support the bout -- though they'll argue it was just the usual nerves kicking in.

Is it more conflicting because the kickboxers were girls? Would there be as much uproar if two fiery little boys traded blows? Maybe not, but there are plenty of people that would argue that it doesn't make it any more justifiable.

"I'm not scared of getting hurt," Jasmine said after the fight, "because I get hurt a lot."

She joked after earning $100 in prize money that she'll wait until she's 10 to fight again. Whether her dad lets her wait that long or not, there's no doubt that when the first bell rings, there will still be a question of whether it should be ringing at all.

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