You know you’ve truly reached a deep, dark hole in the world of professional boxing viewing when you’re witnessing a 58-year-old man making his pro debut get brutally stopped by an 0-5 fighter on a Tuesday night in Nashville, Tennessee.
That’s exactly how I chose to spend my evening, witnessing the monthly “CountryBox” series, which runs on the first Tuesday of the month, free on Fite TV.
If you follow me (@BoxrecGrey) or @TimBoxeo on Twitter, you know that we both love to watch boxing around the world, especially smaller shows run on a tight budget like CountryBox. I’m personally always looking for young “diamond in the rough” boxers or a low-skill level four-round bout to brighten up my evening.
It appeared Tuesday would be no exception, with 58-year-old Scot England making his professional boxing debut against Jashawn Hunter from Wilson, North Carolina, 35 years younger than England.
Who Is Scot England?
Once the fight was brought to my attention, the research of England’s career commenced.
He’s a former television news anchor and author who has been in the entertainment business for decades – not exactly an athletic background. However, he claimed he had been training for years in Tennessee alongside experienced pros like Eric Draper. Clearly, his team felt he was ready to step into the ring for a fight despite his age and lack of an amateur boxing career.
Old guys fighting professionally in the boxing ring is honestly nothing new. Seventy-year-old Albert Hughes set the Guinness Book of World Records for the oldest boxer to fight professionally when he knocked out Tramane Towns in the second round in Indianapolis, Indiana, on December 14, 2019.
Jack Lucious of Houston, Texas previously held the record at sixty-four years old as he was stopped in a round by Yail Eligio on April 6, 2018.
Evander Holyfield was fifty-eight years old, the same age as Scot England, when he was stopped in a round by Vitor Belfort during an infamous Triller exhibition bout in Florida in 2021.
The difference in all the bouts I cited above is all the senior fighters had previous boxing experience, perhaps justification for the fights being allowed to occur in the first place. England had never experienced being hit in the head in a real setting.
When I posted the video of England being knocked down to the canvas with a right-left hook combination, most people asked, “how was it possible for this bout to occur”? One element of boxing I don’t think most people realize is that it’s extremely easy to get a boxing federal ID, which is required to box in all 50 states and Puerto Rico. Getting a Federal ID is as easy as filling out a form and paying a fee.
The standards of being licensed in a specific state obviously varies.
Getting a Pro Boxing License
In California, for example, a fighter must pass a series of medical tests (and if you’re over the age of forty, those tests will increase in cost as a neuro/MRI might be required), and they may want to vet your ability to fight if you’re a pro debut fighter or somebody unfamiliar to the commission.
However, in a state like Tennessee, they want to make sure you can simply pass a blood and eye test – and a member of the commission possibly won’t take the time to vet your skills.
England, like any pro debut fighter, paid his fee for a Federal ID and likely passed Tennessee exam requirements.
The next step was finding an opponent. Anyone who works as a matchmaker in boxing knows that Wilson, North Carolina is considered a notorious factory of opponents who will fight on a show for a very cheap price.
There’s even a term for these boxers (“Skip Fighters”), named after Skip Crumpler, a trainer who is the supplier of these B-side fighters, many of whom are often on parole after a stint in prison.
One could write an entirely separate article on the ethics of the Wilson boxing pipeline, but for the sake of brevity, let’s focus on Jashawn Hunter, one of these “Skip Fighters” who made his pro debut in June of last year.
Hunter, like all “Skip Fighters,” found himself overmatched in his first five bouts and unable to make it out of the first round in each instance. His opponents included 8-0-2 Drew Dwelly and 2021 United States national amateur champion Justin Lacey-Pierce. Hardly fair fights on paper or in practice, considering it is highly unlikely Hunter had been boxing in any setting before 2022.
Less than a month ago, on November 11, Hunter finally made it out of the first round, losing a unanimous decision to 0-10 Kendall Ward and getting dropped three times in the process. Despite the loss, it appeared Hunter has demonstrated a willingness to improve, unlike many Wilson fighters who are content taking the ten count in round one.
Jashawn Hunter’s 0-6 record and being stopped in the first round five times made him appealing to any matchmaker trying to find a “safe” opponent, especially for a novice like Scot England.
I wonder what Hunter’s mind was thinking when he saw England for the first time at the weigh-in – being told he was going to fight a man who was setting the Guinness Book of World Records for the oldest boxer to make his professional debut. I’m sure Hunter’s motivation suddenly increased because, let’s face it, who wants to lose to a 58-year-old guy who used to do the nightly news?
Perhaps it is the years of seeing Wilson fighters rack up losses, but I will admit the alarm bells truly didn’t go off for me until I saw England disrobe – and revealed a man who didn’t look very athletic or conditioned for the occasion.
Down Goes England, Down Goes England
As the bell rang, he threw three very slow jabs before leaving his chin wide open for a vicious pair of hooks for Hunter to land. England immediately was knocked down with his head smacking against the canvas.
Some referees would’ve waived it off immediately. Most referees would’ve waived it off after England somehow made it back on his feet and looked obviously dazed. However, on this night, England was allowed to continue.
I think Hunter himself knew this was a bad situation because he could’ve decided to badly hurt the perhaps concussed England and instead chose to let Scot stumble around the ring for a few seconds.
Thankfully Scot’s corner recognized he was in peril and threw in the towel, with Scot literally holding onto Hunter before being taken to his corner. It was all over in forty-seven seconds.
In a post-fight interview with WAND, a local news affiliate in Illinois, Scot said he was feeling better but recognized he was likely going to hold his Guinness record for years to come because his poor performance likely just ended the hopes of future fighters pushing sixty.
I think that’s for the best and I’m glad Scot didn’t end up in the hospital. However, this should be a wake-up call to commissions to start vetting fighters better.
To toss out yet another example, the Japanese Boxing Council makes every fighter wanting to turn professional go through a strict exam to determine what level they can box at out the gate.
I would like to see a similar system implemented by commissions so certain fighters can be flat-out rejected during the sparring or written exam stage of licensing. On the other hand, it can give excellent amateurs a quicker path to boxing six and eight-rounders so they don’t have to waste time squashing foes in four-round level bouts.
On this night, a Wilson, Carolina fighter racked up the rare win. You could argue this fight had two victims of the boxing industry duking it out – Hunter, a victim of being taken advantage of by a “manager” previously putting him in fights he was never going to win, and England, a victim of not having his skills vetted by a commission and nobody in his gym telling him it was better to keep the concept of boxing as a simple dream.
But, hey, he can tell everyone he’s got the Guinness World Record.
Grey Johnson is a researcher and editor for the United States for Boxrec.com. This is the first article he has written in over 20 years, so cut him slack. You can follow him on Twitter @BoxrecGrey.