The boxing world is an expansive place. From an outside perspective, boxing is black and white. Two men box with an attempt to find a winner by any means necessary, within the Queensberry rules set.
But is it really that straightforward? Far from it. And it has nothing to do with what’s going on in the
The business of boxing is led by the United States and the United Kingdom. You would think that they would be very similar in the ways they do business but you would be very wrong. They couldn’t be more different.
Britain has a very clear path on how you get your opportunities in boxing. In the pro ranks, ability isn’t everything. If you don’t sell tickets, you don’t fight in the home corner. Simple. It doesn’t matter
how talented you are, if you aren’t selling those tickets, don’t turn professional. I have seen fighters who have boxed internationally retire young due to the pressures of selling tickets and the inability
to sell them. It’s reached epidemic heights in Britain.
America, on the other hand, seems to be quite open to giving opportunities if you can fight. It appears a trainer’s say goes a lot further in the US than home and gets fighters opportunities with managers who are tied into promoters that can help relieve the stress of selling tickets unlike in Britain where there are only two major promoters. If you can prove you can fight in the USA, opportunities seem to arise quicker than in the UK.
Another difference between the US and UK is that fighters tend to be matched harder from day one in the USA than in the UK. In Britain, you’re not being tested until your 10-15th fight unless you’re a special talent. The US seems to have a sink or swim mentality, which for fans is great as they tend to get action-packed fights from the get-go. Many UK fans are tired of sitting through nights of boxing watching the home fighters work away at a tricky pro for 4-6 rounds with barely a punch thrown back.
The gyms are very different. The gyms in the USA tend to cater to all forms of boxers. From your keep fitters to your pros all under one roof. A perfect example of this is Gleason’s Gym in Brooklyn, which
caters to the boxing fans merely going to keep fit but they are also surrounded by former and current World Champions such as Heather Hardy, Joan Guzman, Yuri Foreman and many others. This is less common in Britain, however, fighters seem a little more approachable in the UK when in the right setting. There is a path set out for you in Britain, whereas in the States you have far more options when looking into the pros than in Britain,
British boxing is reliant on ticket sellers, the art of promoting is dying, rapidly. It’s up to the fighters to self-promote. Heavyweight boxer Dave Allen has developed a cult following due to being seen as a
normal down to earth lad. Josh Warrington and Tony Bellew developed fanbases through football (soccer) clubs in Leeds United and Everton. This differs massively than in the USA where the art of promoting is still alive. A perfect example was seeing Vasyl Lomachenko..
..playing around with kids, signing autographs and taking pictures in Gleason’s Gym on Wednesday.
Yes, there are open workouts in Britain, but the personal feel like the kids saw Wednesday is not there with the majority of them, and the sense community isn’t as much either. I’ve never seen young kids being able to sit and play around with some of Britain’s superstars like I did today with a megastar of boxing.
Britain has fantastic fighters and there are some very good shows in the UK, but the USA is still the place to box as a professional in my eyes. The opportunities of bright lights and success can become a reality much easier through hard work. Talent is appreciated more stateside and politics within the sport are less apparent (believe it or not). People who believe boxing is dying in the USA are very much mistaken. It is alive and well and if anything will continue to grow in the years to come.