Ballhaus Forum, Infinity Hotel, Munich, Germany, April 6, 2019
Part 1: What are we celebrating on April 6th in Munich?
The “BDB“ is the ‘German Association of Professional Boxers' that sanctions all the pro boxing events in the country. Unfortunately, the state of professional boxing in Germany has been in decline for more than a decade. Currently it has hit new lows regarding the international achievements and rankings of German-based boxers. Even more troubling, the general quality and quantity of German national boxing matchups and events has also clearly deteriorated, leading to a great loss of local fans for the sport. Where boxing was once frequently broadcast on multiple German free-TV channels, it is today only an occasional thing on TV.
Sadly, amateur boxing is also suffering today with the “DBV”(German Boxing Federation) in open legal conflict with state boxing organizations over the cancellation/relocation of the famous and historic “Chemiepokal”, the top international amateur event in Europe with nearly 50 years of tradition. Worse yet, accusations of a scandal cover-up involving a trainer accused of taking advantage of one of his amateur female boxers have also come to light in recent years.
How did we get here?
An interesting example is the sad saga of GGG in Germany. Gennady Golovkin is one of the most talented, exciting, and successful boxing champions of the past decade. But Gennady wasted half of his career in Germany hoping for better opponents and a chance at a title fight. How could that happen?
Could it be that the power and skills of a high potential prospect from Kazakhstan were seen as threat in Germany, rather than an opportunity?
How could the German boxing establishment allow a exceptional, exciting boxer like Golovkin to languish, and then slip away? So GGG finally exits Hamburg stage left and leaves for the boxing “promised land“ USA, and you all know the rest of the story.
Wide-spread complaints, a range of accusations, and finger-pointing summarize the today's situation in German professional boxing. Obvious is that no person, boxing promoters or organizations, or sports broadcasting companies have yet taken any responsibility for the sorry situation. One would think that the BDB would be at the forefront of the clarification of the problems, providing the leadership that is so sorely missing. But the ‘German Association of Professional Boxers' is known for its lack of initiative and professionalism, which Jab Hook has personally witnessed and experienced. Therefore, Jab will not be celebrating the BDB on April 6th, 2019 in Munich.
Is it always darkest before the dawn?
Often talking to boxing colleagues, boxing fans, and especially with the boxers in Germany, Jab feels their mounting frustration and sad resignation of our helplessness. But Jab Hook can attest to the quality of the women and men still in the sport in this country. These veins of loyalty and principle are full of people yet enjoying the “Sweet Science“ for the sheer love of the sport. Like Jab, they appreciate that good boxing is where you find it!
There have been recent glimpses of hope in Deutschland's boxing. Interesting local/regional boxing events popping up which provide affordable entertainment and a valuable platform for prospects and future contenders to grow. DAZN has also helped by making inexpensive access to international boxing with German commentary a viable option for fans in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland.
A very educational and interesting look behind the scenes of professional boxing was also recently aired on free-TV. Called “Sport1: The Next Rocky“ it starred the late Graciano Rocchigiani, the German boxing icon (below) and former two-weight world champion.
The reality show team and all of Germany's boxing fans were stunned by Rocky's untimely death in a traffic accident. His family's choice to air the rest of the show did proved comfort to fans and gave support for the return of boxing to the mainstream.
Most importantly, local gyms in Munich, Augsburg, Nürnberg, Berlin, Hamburg and many other towns and cities are doing great work in their facilities. On a daily basis these hidden heroes of boxing are fostering the sport from the ground up. While the powers that be in German boxing seem to still be “Waiting for Godot“, real boxers, trainers, and a small army of everyday people are working all the while developing talent and dispensing boxing tradition.
On April 6th in Munich, Jab will be celebrating the boxers and all those that consistently do the fundamental work in this sometimes thankless sport.
Part 2 of the 70th anniversary of German professional boxing is coming Wednesday with a look at two local boxers: a world belt-holder and a prospect.
“Jab Hook”, aka “Brooklyn” Joe Healy is a boxing writer, an expert commentator for DAZN.de, a professional cutman from the BOXWERK gym, and a licensed referee/judge in amateur boxing. A lifelong aficionado born in Brooklyn and living in Munich, “The Sweet Science” is his passion. Please feel free to contact him as Jab Hook on, FaceBook or https://www.linkedin.com/in/