The Culture of Boxing
AMATEUR boxing is one of the most popular sports in Ireland next to GAA. In recent years the Olympic sport has become much more popular due to the success of Irish athletes in major competitions. However, boxing has always been a cause of debate. Many people brand the sport barbaric and inhumane. Is boxing barbaric or is it a disciplined art form?
Many argue that boxing is barbaric because of the goal – two people fight until one has been beaten up. However, boxing is about much more than that. Boxing is a sport of discipline, there are rules and regulations which keep the participants safe. Nonetheless, sometimes accidents do happen and boxers are injured. Arguably one of the most high profile and saddest cases is that of Korean fighter Duk Koo Kim. During a title bout against Ray ‘Boom Boom’ Mancini, Kim was hit so many times in such quick succession that he collapsed into a coma and died four days later of brain damage.
Even the ‘World’s Greatest’, Muhammad Ali was adversely affected by the sport that he loved. To this day, the heavyweight world champion suffers from Parkinson’s disease, said to be a result of trauma to the brain.
However, these were men that knew the risks and were willing to take them for the sport they were passionate about. There are innumerable benefits to boxing. It’s a sport that teaches discipline in the highest regard – an experienced boxer will never step into the ring out of shape or underprepared. It teaches how to win as well as how to lose and gives a sense of respect for others. As well as respect for others, it teaches self-worth. Scores of great boxers come from underprivileged backgrounds. Boxing has taken a lot of young men and women off the streets and put them into the gym, giving them no time to meddle in activities that would bring them down.
Boxing has always gotten negative publicity. However, there are plenty of sports that are much rougher. Take MMA for instance – a full contact sport where almost anything goes. Or the alternative to regulated boxing, bare-knuckle fighting. A pastime that has no rules, no doctors and no gloves. In comparison, boxing is a much safer sport.
All Ireland Light Welterweight Champion Dean Walsh agrees that boxing is a safe sport. “Boxing is not barbaric, don’t get me wrong sometimes the outcome can be brutal and change lives, but most of the time it is a very safe sport”, he says. Walsh also believes that boxing is one of the most disciplined sports, stating, “You can’t party and you have to be meticulous about your weight. It’s not just a sport. It’s a life sacrifice.”
‘The sweet science’ – as boxing is often called – is not just about how hard you can hit, it is also about being clever enough to make your opponent miss. Boxing combines skill as well as strength and as such should be respected for the beautiful sport that it is.
Photos c/o rte.ie, dailymail.co.uk