Monday, 21st May, 2012
The German boxing press and its authorities are further cranking up the pressure on Frank Warren and his huge July card featuring David and Dereck Chisora, with the German boxing board (BDB) formally writing to both the British Boxing Board of Control (BBBofC) and the European boxing Union (EBU) asking that the Luxembourg commission be expelled for fronting what some have called a ‘freak show’. This follows on from the news that the massive German broadcaster, ARD, have gone back on their claims stating that they will not show the fight, with news coming through from Sauerland events that they in fact will be screening the event. It makes for tense times for Warren and his mammoth fight card on July 14th also featuring a WBA ‘title bout’ between Alexander Povetkin and Hasim Rahman.
As soon as the grudge match was announced two weeks ago, president of the BDB, Thomas Pütz, stated that the broadcaster ARD, who have a long standing relationship with promotional heavyweights Sauerland, had declined the offer of showing the show due to the negativity surrounding the bout between the two British fighters who participated in the now infamous Munich brawl. Now the CEO of Sauerland Christian Meyer has stated that the broadcaster are willing to show the Povetkin versus Rahman fight at least, sending out very confusing messages to the fight fraternity in Germany and here in the UK. “I can confirm that Povetkin v Rahman will be transmitted. It is up to ARD to transmit other bouts on the card. But is my understanding that they have not yet put this decision again on their agenda,” stated Meyer. What is clear is that there is a lot of pressure mounting on the network not to show the British matchup, although it would be mightily popular in Germany. Pütz appeared to be wielding the sword in the fight to have the Haye versus Chisora duel all but blacked-out. “As you may have heard, even big TV stations like ARD here in Germany has come to its senses after all the public outcry and criticism over the last few days. I believe that other institutions will follow ARD’s example and withdraw from their decisions to support this event in any way.”
The German board have continued to mount pressure on all parties involved, in particular the Luxembourg boxing federation, who are sanctioning the bout, with formal letters being sent to the BBBofC and now the EBU. BDB ruler Thomas Pütz had this to say; “Neither Chisora nor David Haye hold a valid license with the BBBoC; still they are planning to fight each other in Great Britain. This fact alone justifies Wladimir Klitschko’s comment that we should not talk about a boxing fight but about a ‘freak show’. I have to say that even though I would choose a different wording I totally agree with our World heavyweight champion in this point. I think most of my colleagues from the boxing commissions and federations all over the world and the world sanctioning bodies agree that the fight between Haye and Chisora on July 14 should not take place and cannot be tolerated or even supported by the EBU or any of their affiliated commissions or federations. As a Union we have to respect each other and support each other for the sake of the EBU and the sport in general. Therefore I cannot understand the decision of the Luxembourg Boxing Federation (LBF) to support the ‘freak show’ against the explicit will and decision of the BBBofC, the BDB and the WBC.”
Grim reading for Frank Warren, no? Oh, he isn’t finished yet. “However, if the LBF sticks to its decision and plans to actually sanction the ‘freak show’ I hereby officially request to expel the LBF from the EBU for not respecting the authority and decisions of other affiliated members of the EBU. In my opinion, especially in difficult times like these where promoters try all different kinds of moves to undermine the decisions made by commissions and sanctioning bodies and new unreliable and suspicious federations are founded every day, the EBU has to make a clear statement, show strength and unity and let the world know that we stay true to our ideals and values and are not the promoters, fighters or anybody’s puppets.”
This all adds to the outcry surrounding the controversial fight card, with big names in WBC boss José Sulaimán handing indefinite bans to both British boxers, and Wladimir Klitschko who has lately gone for the kill, after both Britons publicly humiliated the recently crowned undisputed heavyweight champion of the world. The Ukrainian was taking to UK radio show Talksport earlier today and had this to say; “It is something that is actually disgraceful for the sport of boxing. It is not right to sanction this fight. That is my opinion. I am totally against it. People have compared Mike Tyson to Chisora and said he has done some bad things too. Let’s not compare Mike Tyson to Dereck Chisora. Mike Tyson has been the youngest heavyweight champion of the world and he has been an exciting fighter. Chisora hasn’t accomplished anything. He has lost his last three fights in a row, the last fight he lost against Vitali, the other guy lost against a Klitschko as well. The promoters are trying to sell the fight as the greatest ever and both guys lose their last fights against Klitschkos. It’s two losers against each other.”
So there we have it, British boxing is being dragged through the gutter, overseas at least. But it is incredibly popular here in the UK, with nearly 30,000 tickets sold for the live event, and possible hundreds of thousands more subscribing to watch the action. Is the fight good for boxing? In the great scheme of things, and to be blunt, no. But, it is getting boxing in the papers again, and I do feel it is all being blown a tad out of proportion. Boxing history is littered with scraps and outrageous incidents, but what better way to settle ones differences than lacing a pair of gloves and battling it out under the Queensberry rules? Surely that is the ideal advert for the sweet science, a sport which promotes controlled and disciplined violence, not the mindless thuggery that has blighted the two fighters careers of late. I feel the fight IS good for British boxing in the short term; great PR, boxing back in the papers, and for once a fight this summer will eclipse all footballing events. It’s that big.