ALAN HUBBARD’S PUNCHLINES – 6.12.16
Is Carl Frampton right when he says the BBC are biased against boxing, which he claims is why he has not been included in their 16-strong Sports Personality of the Year nominations?
I think he is bang on the button. The Beeb’s dislike for the sport has been evident since they got their financial fingers burned by Audley Harrison some 15 years ago.
Now, With BT linking up with BoxNation, the ongoing Sky deal, occasional excursions into the pro sport by Channel 5 and ITV believed to be considering taking a fresh pugilistic punt, the BBC stand alone among major channels in turning their backs on boxing’s surge of popularity.
Frampton’s condemnation is withering, describing it as “anti-Northern Ireland” and “anti-boxing”.
“If I’d been English I’d have made the list,” he argues.
Well, I am not sure that’s altogether true.
Nicola Adams is there because the Beeb screens the Olympics and obviously cannot ignore her accomplishments.
But because of his on exploits in 2016 surely the personable and loquacious Frampton, the first Ulsterman to become a two-weight world champion, deserves to be listed alongside her.
It is said that their so-called annual short list usually contains only one representative from each sport. Not so.
This year there are two footballers and three cyclists.
The candidates are:
Nicola Adams – Boxing, Gareth Bale – Football, Alistair Brownlee – Triathlon, Sophie Christiansen – Equestrian, Kadeena Cox – Athletics/Cycling, Mo Farah – Athletics, Jason Kenny – Cycling, Laura Kenny – Cycling, Andy Murray – Tennis, Adam Peaty – Swimming, Kate Richardson-Walsh – Hockey, Nick Skelton – Equestrian, Dame Sarah Storey – Cycling, Jamie Vardy – Football, Max Whitlock – Gymnastics, Danny Willett – Golf.
Certainly some worthy names among them – and in my book Andy Murray, as Olympic and Wimbledon champion, is a no-brainer, especially as he has finally unearthed the personality that was lurking inside himself. And personality is supposed to be what it is about.
For me, Nicola Adams is a close second. Have you ever seen anyone with more fizz and sparkle?
I have covered dozens of sports for over half a century but I confess there are at least two names in that list that I have barely heard of.
Actually, SPOTY’s appeal has shrunk as more and more major sporting events forsake the Beeb for the more lucrative slots on the satellite channels.
The programme has become a self-congratulatory BBC beano. At least five of the 12 judges who selected the short list are employed by the Corporation.
Who was the last boxer to win the award? Answer at the foot of this column
Some consolation for Carl Frampton came on BoxNation on Monday when in an especially lively Boxing Matters debate he was unanimously named as Britain’s Fighter of the Year by a panel consisting of the Sun’s Colin Hart, Gareth A Davies of The Telegraph and myself.
What’s more, all three of us included him in our list of the world’s current top ten pound-for-pounders.
As I say, it was a lively debate with bags of controversial views.
Two of us (Colin and myself) had Gennady Golovkin in pole position with the 46-0 Nicaraguan phenomenon Roman Gonzales as Gareth’s nomination.
We all had the superb Vasyl Lomachenko high on our lists but I was castigated for leaving out Sergey Kovalev for the sensational Japanese Shinsuku Yamanaka, as was Colin for omitting Guillermo Rigondeaux for Keith Thurman.
Of course, such opinions are subjective, but what arguments they create among fight fans.
If you missed it you can catch up with repeats throughout the week.
True club class
I weaned my boxing writing career on local newspaper in South London and one of the great amateur boxing clubs which helped formulate my love of the sport when I covered theirs shows at Wandsworth Town Hall was Earlsfield ABC.
So it was good to see it has now rep-opened with a grand refurbishment.
Boxing buff Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, whose brother Sid is head coach there, did the honours on Monday.
This legendary gym, alma mater of luminaries such as Bradley Skeete, Richard Williams and Olympic silver medallist Joe Joyce, along with numerous other European and British champions – not to mention over 100 amateur champs (including the late referee Roy Francis), now has a new mezzanine floor, fitness and viewing areas, plus new female changing rooms.
As super-heavyweight Joyce, says: “Earlsfield and their coaches have been a tremendous influence on my life and performance pathway.
“However, there is much more to what Earlsfield does than just producing skilled boxers. It is open to people of all abilities and even those who don’t want to box, but are keen to work out in the surroundings of a boxing gym.”
“I am sure that with these fantastic, new facilities, Earlsfield ABC will continue to go from strength to strength.”
Hear, hear! Fond memories.
I stunk the place out. I am as truthful as they come. I should be embarrassed to talk about facing Gennady Golovkin on that performance, there was nothing there, I felt flat, that was terrible, not a world-class performance. But a win’s a win.
At least Billy Joe Saunders is openly self-critical after his lacklustre-some said lamentable – showing against Artur Akavov
From now until the fight I could get smashed out of my mind every night, and I’ll still knock you out. I will turn up, drunk out of my head, and you’ll get knocked out. I’ve earned my credentials the hard way inside the ring, not on film sets. There will be no second takes, no stunt men taking the blows and no flashing lights on the red carpet, the only lights you will see are those of the spot lights shining down on you when you wake up from your nap on the canvas.”
David Haye tells Tony Bellew what to expect when they collide in March
Frank Warren has been my favourite promoter since I knew what boxing was. I’ve always liked him. From when my mum was with my dad (Nigel), she’s told me stories and I always thought in my head that if I was a boxer I would want to be with Frank Warren.
Harley Benn, one of Queensberry’s clutch of exciting new signings, says he always knew in which promotional direction he was heading.
Not exactly. But I wouldn’t mind doing a bit if acting at some point. I went to a casting for Spectre, the last Bond film, to play the villain. But I messed up my lines a bit.
Olympian Joe Joyce asked whether has decided on his future.
(The last British boxer to win SPOTY was Joe Calzaghe in 2007)