Editor’s Letter: Though boxing seems to be thriving in 2024, that doesn’t imply we are able to’t handle tough points

By Matt Christie

THIS WEEK’S version rightly paints an image of a sport that’s thriving.

There are battle experiences from London the place Hamzah Sheeraz cemented his place as a future star and Reece Bellotti turned the most recent to exhibit what it actually means to be British champion. There are interviews too, like with Mikaela Mayer, which is a fantastically written piece by Anna Whitwham who highlights, amongst different issues, the optimistic influence fighters can have on kids.

There’s additionally a lot about fights we might quickly be getting, and wow, what a interval that is shaping as much as be. I don’t recall a 12 months starting fairly like this when so many fights we’ve been desirous to see are within the works. Whisper it, however in a couple of brief months we could be basking within the afterglow of Fury-Usyk, Beterbiev-Bivol and Buatsi-Yarde.

Not all skies could be blue. We additionally publish a fairly beautiful article on Gerald McClellan, the American boxer who was left mind broken after that unforgettable battle with Nigel Benn in February 1994. It’s at all times tough to deal with that aspect of our sport, however no person needs to be petrified of what they’ll discover inside that story. Boxing Information’ Oliver Fennell, who just lately spent the day with McClellan, has carried out a masterful job. In truth, thanks largely to the unconditional love of Gerald’s sister, it’s one of the crucial uplifting items I’ve ever learn.

BN ought to by no means draw back from these tales, regardless. It’s our job, I’ve at all times believed, to deal with the nice and the dangerous. And extra so immediately when so many members of the boxing media are seemingly fixated on being mere microphones for his or her ‘mates’ in excessive locations. Always remember that the purpose of addressing the dangerous is just ever born to want for the alternative to be achieved.

It was prompt to me just lately that my fixation with Ringside Charitable Belief is turning into a little bit tiresome. I perceive that however make no apologies for it. Each week, I hear about increasingly more ex-boxers who’re struggling.

The extra we discuss their plight, the much less taboo the topic turns into. Significantly if we are able to extra steadily spotlight what a very good job we’re doing to take care of our personal.

Tris Dixon’s guide, Harm, modified the panorama in some ways however nonetheless too many are petrified of addressing the problem. A coach I respect immensely instructed me they dare not learn that guide, whereas additionally admitting in the event that they did, they might rethink sure coaching methods like the quantity of sparring they permit. Make of that what you’ll.

Nevertheless, I do imagine now we have seen boxers turn into more and more conscious that they should plan for a life after boxing. Moreover, boxers retiring on the proper time has been the norm lately, notably these on the prime. For each Derek Chisora who carries on regardless, and that after all is his prerogative, there are considerably extra like George Groves, Anthony Crolla and John Ryder who stroll away the second they realise they’re not fairly who they was once. That doesn’t imply any of them have gotten out unscathed, nonetheless.

Their retirements are unlikely to be a consequence of anybody banging on a couple of charity designed to assist ex-boxers but when one 30-something boxer thinks twice about preventing once more due to an article they’ve learn, so be it. Shining a lightweight on potential mind accidents and the like shouldn’t be, let’s be clear, any type of effort to hurt the game. Solely those that draw back from their tasks are doing that.

Nowadays, one runs the chance of offending folks with the mere point out of one thing not designed to be a tongue up the bottom, like questions on failed drug exams going unpunished or drug lords working amok with their drug cash. For too lengthy, the business has been scared to deal with the reality that too many punches to the mind are dangerous for you. One prepare of thought even means that doing so solely encourages those that need boxing to be banned. What utter garbage. Boxing will solely be banned if these inside the sport present fixed disregard for its potential penalties. What we needs to be doing, as an alternative of rolling our eyes at these making an attempt to assist, is admit there’s extra we are able to nonetheless do.

Boxing in 2024 is in a wholesome place. The dream is for the boxers of 2024 and past to dwell lengthy and wholesome lives and for many who do fall on laborious instances – and, in several methods, a lot will – there are programs in place to assist. As a united fraternity, we are able to obtain that.

Although one wonders what would turn into of McClellan with out the care of his sister, his case is totally different to the boxer who fights on too lengthy. An terrible lot was realized from what occurred to G-Man that night time. Nevertheless, as with every sport or enterprise that’s hoping to progress, the training ought to by no means cease.


IT got here to my consideration final week that Bobby Kelsey, the Londoner who represented Nice Britain within the light-welterweight division at 1960 Olympics, handed away in January on the age of 85.

Kelsey, then boxing out of Monteagle BC, was one in all 5 British boxers competing in Rome that August and September, however he wouldn’t medal. Within the third spherical of competitors, he misplaced to eventual silver medalist Quincey Daniels of the USA.

The workforce would return with three bronze medals, deemed as a disappointment on the time. Crew supervisor John Henderson even criticised the trouble of the boxers, a view not shared by anybody else. “I’ve acquired a minimize eye to show that I attempted,” Kelsey mentioned. “I might have been in hospital if I had not. All of us did our greatest.”

Boxing Information made a sage level on the time, lengthy earlier than the funding system we all know immediately was put in place. We wrote: “It have to be borne within the thoughts that our beginner sportsmen, not like these of many different international locations, actually are amateurs. And till such a time as a State scheme proves sensible means of collective coaching for working lads, we should count on them to begin at a drawback in opposition to sponsored sluggers.”

Prime promoter Jack Solomons didn’t appear to share Henderson’s view both, as he made every of the 5 boxers friends of honour at Wembley Pool the next week for heavyweight Henry Cooper’s bout with Roy Harris.

Kelsey, of Forest Gate, would flip skilled, going 10-7-3 (5) earlier than retiring in 1963. Our ideas are along with his family and friends.

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