Boxing

Stop the Front Page – Diversity in Boxing?

Stop the Front Page – Diversity in Boxing?

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FULL STOP

Was last weekend when boxing grew up?

The rest of the world has become increasingly comfortable with the issues surrounding the inclusion of women and LGBTQI but for some boxing retains that macho status that makes both concerns slightly, concerning…

Whilst the rest of us have little reason to fear but rather do embrace the issue of diversity there are certain sports where the idea of a gay man or a woman beating you is repugnant. The fact is, boxing at least looks like it is fast becoming on which aint one of them…

Sure, there are dinosaurs and the reality is that boxing might have a few more lurking in the gym than most, but they have been beaten by 3 falls and a submission.

First reason I have for saying this is Kellie Maloney. When she came out there was a great buzz about how the boxing world would react. Kellie herself has spoken of the warmth and support she received from those who were professional boxers, in the paid pugilist ranks, where you might have expected a pantheon of knuckle draggers; but no. The dinosaurs that gave her the cold shoulder happened to be those established people that are a little bit older and a little bit more steeped in the ways of yesteryear. The young uns, reflecting the society in which we live – because active boxing needs youth – just shrugged and went, so what?

Next comes, Orlando Cruz’s second tilt at a boxing world title which he lost for the second time, this occasion against terry Flanagan last week. It means that his sexuality is no barrier to his boxing progress. I did, cheekily, last week suggest that being gay might have been a positive in negotiations. Of course, he had earned his right to a world title shot but the reality out there is that being gay can, in some ways, become a little edge as people are terrified of offending. There are times when people are more welcoming because they want to appear open and more generous of spirit than they may have been before. Gay men have suffered so much over the years, they have earned a little bit of that but Cruz has also shown that gay men are simple gay and not less of a man.

What was interesting and this is the 3rd piece of my evidence is linked to my second. It is what happened when Frankie Gavin sent out a tweet in comment to the Cruz/Flanagan fight. The tweet has been taken down but to suggest that had he gone in and fought a gay man, and lost that his friends would have taken the mickey out off him caused a rumpus. There was universal condemnation throughout the community for his comments as it simply underlines prejudice and Gavin, give him his due, was quick to apologise and take away the offensive tweet – the times certainly are a changing…

There were my 3 falls – what knocks us into submission?

The explosive Katie Taylor. Make no mistake she took women’s boxing, in 3 rounds, from being women’s boxing to BOXING. There is little doubt that she is going to be a super star and her power and athleticism means we can look forward to a world champion next year who will fill arenas. She will have men – sorry boxers – on HER undercard because of her ability and not her gender. Money men can see that and much though I eschew commercialism it is a recognisable factor in this sport and one that Taylor will take account and advantage of in 2017.

So, the diversity report card looks good – though we can always do better in 2017…

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