A pressing matter for fight fans
Alan Hubbard’s Punchlines – 30.08.2015
Boxing has been getting short shrift in the public prints of late. Are sports editors giving it the elbow?
I hope not, though some of my acquaintance couldn’t tell a left hook from a meat hook and are totally obsessed by the great god football.
OK, so it has been a busy summer with the Ashes, doping scandals in athletics (so what else is new?), the re-start of the footy season and all that, but some of our daily newspapers haven’t had a line about boxing for over a month.
Leaving aside what has been going on in the pro game the fact that GB had its best-ever European amateur championships, with six medals, including only the third-ever gold, hardly merited a mention.
Don’t blame the boxing correspondents for the absence of fight news.
It seems they can’t get their stories into the paper because their bosses are now pre-occupied with groin strains, and transfer talk.
As a former sports ed myself (but one who appreciated boxing) I find this a shame. It never used to be like this.
It is true that while boxing struggles to fight its corner in the newspapers there is a fair amount online if you scour the websites.
But as it is one of the few sports in the UK with an increase both in interest and participation it deserves better exposure.
Hopefully things might change as the new boxing ‘season’ gets under way with some massive world title fights involving Brits George Groves, Frank Buglioni, Billy Joe Saunders, Terry Flanagan, Liam Smith, Tyson Fury and others, including Scott Quigg and Anthony Crolla, yet to be confirmed.
Plus of course Floyd Mayweather jnr’s ‘farewell’ fight and the potentially mouth-watering epics between Miguel Cotto and Saul Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin and David Lemieux.
The only problem is they will have to fight for space not only with football, but the Rugby World Cup which kicks off next month.
My advice to fans is to let the sports editors know by letter, email or tweet that boxing is very much alive and punching and that millions wants to read about it.
Tripping the fight fantastic
Olympic bronze medal winner Anthony Ogogo – surely the most injury -prone fighter since David Haye – says he is doing Strictly Come Dancing this year because he is unable to box until December with a shoulder injury.
The 26-year-old Ogogo, unbeaten in eight fights since turning pro with Golden Boy has undergone surgery after dislocating his shoulder in his most recent fight against Ruslan Schelev.
Lowestoft-born Ogogo had not fought for 12 months before his bout with Schelev because of an Achilles problem. Presumably this is fine now that he has decided to slip on the dancing pumps shoes and follow in the footsteps of fellow fighters Audley Harrison and Joe Calzaghe.
His 2012 Olympic team-mateand gold medal winner Luke Campbell also tripped the light fantastic – though on ice.
Ogogo, personable and extrovert, must be wonderiNG (or perhaps hoping?) he will end up partnering the dishy Russian blonde Kirstina Rihanoff who has the reputation of something of a sportsman-eater after quick-stepping out romantically with Calzaghe and English rugby star Ben Cohen once the music stopped.
Obviously a gal from Russia with lots of love. Will she now make Ogogo of it with Anthony?
Flanagan deserves top table place
Am I alone is being puzzled at the omission of new WBO lightweight champion Terry Flanagan from the world’s top ten rankings as compiled by Boxing News?
The Mancunian’s 28 fight unbeaten record and the fact that he holds an authentic world title belt surely merits a place in a table headed by IBF champ Mickey Bey and which puts Flanagan’s British rivals Kevin Mitchell, who has lost in his three world title attempts,, in seventh spot with Anthony Crolla (four defeats and three draws in his 36 bouts, and beaten, albeit controversially, when challenging for the WBA version), tenth.
Flanagan is entitled to be a little riled, not that he beefs about it. He’s a modest young man who talks sensibly about the game and how his life has changed after acquiring the title which he defends in his home city against mandatory challenger Diego Magdaleno.
Despite Magdaleno’s jibe that Flanagan was ‘gifted’ his title because of Jose Zeleda’s premature enforced retirement with a dislocated shoulder, they both engaged in civil conversation across the Transatlantic airwaves this week. Like Billy Joe Saunders and Andy Lee, they show refreshing respect for each other, which is always good for the game.
Magdaleno, 28, a fellow southpaw whose only defeat in 29 fights came on a split decision to Roman Martinez in Macau, is a typically engaging American who says he is ‘married to boxing.’ If he fights half as cogently as he talks we should be in for quite a a scrap in Manchester on October 10.
We have no idea if Arsenal fan Jeremy Corbyn, the shock front runner for the Labour leadership, is also an advocate of boxing – as a committed pacifist he seems more likely to be an abolitionist but he throws a neat verbal left hook.
He reveals that that he was once pinned to the wall during a heated exchange by the failed ex-politico Robert Kilroy Silk who hissed:”I am an amateur boxer, you know,” Corby responded: “And I’m an amateur runner – and promptly legged it. Some counter-puncher. No wonder he’s way ahead on points in Labour’s big fight.
Quote Of The Week
I hope George Groves wins the world title out in Vegas. There you go, I’ve said it. I want George to become the WBC champion… I think he can do a job on Badou Jack even I do think he has peaked … I wouldn’t mind if Groves did more than win that WBC title; it would be great to see him taking them all on, beating the lot and being regarded as the best super-middleweight in the world. That would make me look even better!
Carl Froch gives his old opponent a typically backhanded leg-up before the BoxNation-televised bout with champion Badou Jack on September 12.
Tomorrow: Pro-File on Mitchell Smith