Why do sports fans continue to glorify the so-called sport, boxing; wallowing in its excruciating physical excesses?
Last night for the first time in well over twenty years, I sat down to view the television broadcast of the WBA “super” version of the world heavyweight championship between Britain’s own Anthony Joshua and Wladimir Klitschko of Ukraine. Here were two imposing, muscular prize-fighters intent on causing physical bodily harm to the head and torso of each other; they certainly achieved that! What was even more disgusting was that they were surrounded by 90,000 spectators packed into Wembley Stadium, all baying for a blood-fest.
The next day, sports journalists were full of superlatives for the bout: “Privilege of sharing in electric feeling unmatched in sport”, “…epic lives up to hype”, “Wembley wonder joins the elite…”. What is sporting, skilful or beautiful about an activity that involves two powerful men utilising their athletic prowess to hurt each other? I can only describe boxing as regulated fighting akin to human cockfighting. Just like two trained gamecocks, boxers are conditioned to put the opponent down with vicious blows to the head and body. This may include some skilful jabbing and fancy footwork but, ultimately, the boxer’s goal is to pummel and smash through each other’s defences to inflictphysical damage; in some cases, (unintended) death.
Cockfighting – usually referred to as a blood sport – was banned in England and Wales way back in 1835 (Scotland waited a further sixty years to institute the ban) with the Cruelty to Animals Act. Look at the scene above – it is not too dissimilar to the one enacted at Wembley Stadium on Saturday night; only Wembley magnified the raucous and brutal assembly considerably. We must ask ourselves, should we continue to organise, support and glorify a ‘blood sport’ which promotes cruelty to humans? How many spectators would want to partake in such an activity (sport [sic]) themselves if given the opportunity? Very few, I would guess, unlike the uptake in the vast majority of other spectator sports!
It is time to ‘ring the bell’ on boxing. In the 21st century, we should be able accept that boxing is not a sport; it is a cruel, inhumane activity that must be banned!