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Digital Subscriptions > Boxing News > 05 Mar > THE CRISIS FACING BRITISH BOXING

THE CRISIS FACING BRITISH BOXING

Frank Warren and Eddie Hearn help Elliot Worsell with his enquiries into why leading British boxers are now being left with little choice but to fight in America

BREXIT

“IF you build it, he will come,” a confused Kevin Costner was once told by a mysterious voice in an Iowa cornfield.

What needed to be built, Costner discovered, was a baseball field. It was there he would eventually meet “Shoeless” Joe Jackson, a deceased baseball legend, who turned up and asked to play catch, as well as his own father, who asked to do the same and whose pain Costner had to ease.

It was there, also, on this cornfield-turnedbaseball field, intrigued tourists would later gather to share the experience, happy to pay for the privilege.

For a while, it seemed British boxing was adopting this Field of Dreams approach.

Soundtracked by Neil Diamond singing Sweet Caroline, there were world champions in multiple weight divisions, there were sold-out arenas and stadiums, and there were promoters with fresh ideas and television networks eager to monetise the sport’s popularity in the form of pay-perview blockbusters.

We were told the sport was getting sexy again. We were told events in swimming pools and ice rinks and shopping malls were ghastly things of the past and that arena and stadium fights and pay-per-view paydays were accessible for all. We were told Britain was now the epicenter and envy of the boxing world. Something was being built.

People were going to come. Anthony Joshua, the jewel in the UK crown, was the light towards which heavyweight moths gravitated. Charles Martin played hard to get but finally opened his legs and even Wladimir Klitschko, the king of Germany, ended up retiring on British soil.

Beneath heavyweight, meanwhile, Gennady Golovkin and Oleksandr Usyk fancied a taste of the UK honeypot and so did Terence Crawford, Errol Spence and Gervonta Davis, future US stars who risked early career losses to venture across the Atlantic.

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DeGALE RETIRES – The history-making super-middleweight hangs up his gloves THE EXODUS – Hearn and Warren on why Britain’s best are heading to America MR PRESIDENT – Sulaiman on the daily challenges of running the famous WBC MUCH, MUCH MORE – Including the moving story of Lisa and Gerald McClellan