“Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place and I don’t care how tough you are it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life.”We have all heard this epic speech from the sixth instalment of Sylvester Stallone’s Rocky Movies. This speech features in countless motivational videos on youtube, every few months it appears then reappears on social media and time and time again we will sit back and listen to every word and adapt it to our own lives. I doubt when Stallone wrote this famous scene he knew he was telling the story of the struggles so many fighters endure to chase their dream.
Since I started this website around three years ago I have had the privilege of meeting and interviewing some great characters within boxing . I have been a guest in Boxing Gym’s around the country which has gave me the opportunity to see what the life of a boxer is away from the plaudits and bright lights. Yes, i have always known that these guys are finely tuned fighting machines, but i had never seen the sacrifices and dedication to the sport boxers have up close. I had never sat in a gym and watch these guys do two hours of drills before they go to work and then again after work. I had never looked into a fighters eyes and seen their chilling determination to reach their goal. I had also never seen the pressure applied on a boxer to sell tickets, pay for training camps and the work that goes in behind the scenes to try and secure sponsorship.
On Saturday night I came across a post on social media by IBF European Champion Ronnie “The Shark” Clark saying he had put his IBF belt up for sale on eBay. On closer inspection Ronny says that due to his fight being cancelled for a third time he was in financial trouble and with Christmas just around the corner he had decided to sell his belt to raise cash for his kids Christmas presents. The night Ronny beat Zelfa Barrett to win that title he also won me over as a fan. He was brought in to test an up and coming prospect in Barrett but ultimately he was meant to lose, but Ronny tore that script up and wrote a whole new one. That night in the ring Ronny won over a country. After serving time in prison it looked like this guy had got a second chance at life and took it, but boxing again proves it is no Hollywood movie.
We hear from media outlets like Sky Sports and BT that British Boxing is booming but sadly this just isn’t the case. Just like in society the vast majority of wealth stays at the very top of the sport. The sad facts are that small hall boxing is living hand to mouth and it’s to the detriment to its boxers all over the country. I know for a fact there are small hall promoters who pull fights on the day of the event because a fighter hasn’t sold his quoter of tickets. I also know there are some promoters who pay fighters a low flat rate when they have sold well over there quoter by thousands of pounds. I have spoken to fighters who have fell into depression due to the sheer pressure that is put on them before they have even laced up a pair of gloves. I know boxers who have decided to work a 9 to 5 and settle down with their family rather than deal with extra burden that comes with the professional game.
Now here is a scary thought for you to ponder on. How many boxers with the god given talent and potential right to the very top of the sport lose heart and give up the sport due to the stress and constants battles just get in the ring.