Friday, July 1, 2022

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Fighting talk: Small-hall boxing is almost ready to return

Since PM Boris Johnson confirmed the further easing of lockdown restrictions, there has been a renewed sense of optimism among the local boxing scene.

Last week, I confirmed two professional shows have been booked in Swindon at MECA for later this year, with the first taking place on the September 18. Since the announcement, my phone has been red-hot as boxers that have been quiet over the last year are getting in touch to ensure they are on the card for what looks is already looking like a pretty full night of top local talent.

Top-ten ranked cruiserweight, Luke Watkins, has confirmed his intention to blow off a few cobwebs and will be entertaining the Swindon fight fans a couple of times before the year is out. Never in a dull fight and with a massive following, I’m delighted to have Luke on as my main event.

Fortunately, all of the fighters who regularly appeared in our successful Fight Town series have been in touch and are eager to get back to business, which is really pleasing after the year we’ve all had.

I have also been pleased by the number of new boxers coming through, I’ve signed three new fighters in the last two weeks alone and have been receiving new enquiries every few days.

After initially being concerned that the closure of amateur clubs and white collar gyms would result in some potential professional fighter’s drifting away from the sport, I have been pleasantly surprised by the number who kept themselves in shape and still have the desire to take the next step up.

I’m now hopeful that step four, which the government has said will take place no earlier than June 21, will mean boxing will be in a position to have all limits on social contact removed and we can all get back to cheering on our local boxing favourites.

Personally, I have not only missed the unique atmosphere of being at ringside at a great 50-50 fight but also some of the entertaining press conferences, which at times have been quite a tense affair with both fighters keen to out-psych the other.

I’m crossing everything that this Indian variant won’t be a fly in boxing’s ointment and we can soon get back to watching the sport we love.

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