We remember where we were when we heard it for the first time. It was in Eddie Hearn’s back garden. Between rounds six and seven in a war of a fight with Irish boxing sensation Katie Taylor and a very game Delfine Persoon.
The Bray Bomber was in her corner, desperately trying to catch her breath, high pitched, high intensity, the sound was extraordinary. For a second there was concern, was KT actually ok, or was she about to keel over? Then the penny dropped, this was the sound of an elite boxer pushing themselves to the very limit.
And this is what boxing without fans brings you. Let’s be clear, we’re not saying for one second that boxing is better without fans, no chance. But. Yes, there is a but. What the lack of fans has done is bring us closer to the action, to reveal the full beauty and brutality of the game we love and respect.
From the desperate gasping for air between rounds, to the low thud of a rasping body shot, or the sound of bone crunching on bone. It’s like we can see the action clearer, sharper. We can feel it more.
Take Saturday night in Peterborough, when the brave Joe Laws was floored three times by the impressive Rylan Charlton. You could hear the raw power in the punches that sent him to the canvas. Feel the distress as he rolled over, dazed on his knees. This was boxing in its purest form.
Which is why the news from the big fight on the card of an otherwise excellent night of boxing, if true, is so infuriating. Judge Terry O’Connor has been accused by Eddie Hearn of being on his phone during Lewis Ritson’s controversial points win over Miguel Vazquez.
Ritson won a split decision and O’Connor one of two judges who scored the fight in his corner. The British Boxing Board of Control are investigating, but the images on social media appear to be pretty damning. And fair play to Hearn, he admitted he didn’t think his own fighter, Ritson, should’ve been awarded the victory.
Terry O’Connor had one job. To watch the fight. Boxers deserve that at the very minimum from a judge. Now that we can see and hear exactly what they are going through in the ring, how they are pushing their bodies to the very maximum, the passion, the power, the bravery.
How could he not be captivated? The sport needs to come down hard if he’s found guilty. No excuses, it’s what our brave, breathless boxers deserve.