Tonight David Haye meets Derek Chisora in Upton Park to box in the highly publicised “Licensed to Thrill’ ” event. To clarify; neither boxer holds a British boxing license and consequently the British Boxing Board of Control (BBBofC) has refused to authorise the fight.
Through loopholes in the licensing laws, however, the Luxembourg Boxing Federation sanctioned the fight and allowed it to go ahead, on British soil. Confused? So am I… this is basically the professional sporting equivalent of a mischievous child asking their dad for permission to do something when their mum has just said ‘no.’
The BBBofC stated that parties behind this event were: “Not concerned with the interests of the sport of boxing,”thus condemning the fight. Such a statement is, arguably, true.
Boxing is often referred to as ‘the noble art’; a sport which prides itself in strict ruling and the poise between its brutal nature and gentlemanly conduct, yet nothing about the Haye vs Chisora saga is at all noble. From allegations of spitting and biting to Twitter quibbles and media conference brawls: both men seem willing to stop at nothing in the promotion of the event and muscling their way into the sporting headlines.
To recap on why neither boxers currently hold a license to box: David Haye announced his retirement on the 13th of October, 2011, on his 31st birthday and Derek Chisora had his license withdrawn following his antics surrounding his defeat to Vitali Klitschko, with the BBBofC stating that he was not: “A fit and proper person to hold a licence.”
So it seems this fight isn’t really ‘Licensed to Thrill.’ But surely it will at least thrill? Promoted as being for “the vacant WBO and WBA International titles,” this sounds like a prestigious event indeed.
Well, not really: the “vacant WBO International title,” and indeed any WBO International title, seems to have only existed for less than 6 weeks and been boxed for a grand total of twice.
As for the WBA International title, this has always been competed for at Upton Park at varying fight lengths and weights. Somehow, in the last five weeks, it has been removed from its previous owner, Andrzej Wawrzyk, and made to be ‘vacant’ with no explanation given as to why. To further complicate matters, the very name of the title is even in dispute; promoter BoxNation refers to it as the: “WBA Inter-Continental title.”
In fact, there is a lot more than these two ‘illustrious’ titles on the line for these boxers as the BBBofC stated that any participants: “Will be deemed to have terminated their membership.” Participants could include a number of parties, not merely both boxers, but also promoters, broadcasters, sponsors, officials and the Luxembourg Boxing Federation.
The whole farce around this event are two slugging, second-level, hyped-up heavyweights who have desperately and shamefully grabbed some attention which, in my opinion, they do not deserve. For any fans who would like to see some more respectful and more exciting boxing I would recommend staying up a little later tonight and watching Amir Khan take on Danny Garcia for some actually prestigious titles; or wait until September and watch the superfight of Scotland’s Ricky Burns take on Kevin Mitchell in Glasgow; or even get behind the Glasgow University Amateur Boxing Club in the home-hosted Scottish University Championships…at least there will be some boxing licenses and actual thrills.