Hobson: It's an unprecedented time for boxing

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Tommy Frank | Other 3rd Party
This week, we spoke to Sheffield based promoter Dennis Hobson about the effect the coronavirus outbreak is having on boxing.

Q: We’re in an unprecedented situation with the Coronavirus pandemic – what effect is it having on boxing?

DH: "You’ve got journeymen fighters who rely on fighting most weeks for their income, so they’re not earning. Then you’ve got prospects who might have sponsors, but they have sacrificed a different career, and a full wage, to try and be a full time pro, and they’re struggling too.

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"You’ve even got the champions out there, who can’t fight, so they’re not earning. So, plenty of these kids could fall away from boxing and won’t return altogether. There are also others in the industry, the trainers, promoters and managers, who are also struggling.

"You have to remember it’s only the top per cent of those in boxing who are rich and earning big money, most of the others have to be subsidised by sponsors, who are also in difficulty. Some people will inevitably have to leave the sport to support their families.

"This pandemic is going to have a big effect on the sport, it won’t finish boxing, but it depends on how long this situation lasts. It could be 12 months before we return to any sort of normality."

Q: What is your advice to any pro boxer out there, during this situation?

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DH: "It’s a tough one, because this situation is unique. Hopefully they can find something to keep them going. The likes of Tommy Frank has a few sponsors to help get him by, but it’s a very tough situation.

"As long as they’re safe and in the house, and try to keep their training going and ticking over, although it can never be the same as being in the gym. But they need to try and keep in condition so that when we are back up and running; they can fly out of the traps.

"Be sensible and don’t get too down, because a big part of a fighter’s life is being in the gym. Keep positive and talk to as many people as possible. Keep your chin up outside the ring, and your chin down when you’re in it!"

Q: Billy Joe Saunders has had his licence suspended after another controversial social media post – in your opinion, what should happen to him?

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DH: "The British Board of Control have to do something, because they can’t just let it go. For me, there wasn’t any real malice in what he did, but it was very silly, and he can’t get away with that when he’s a high profile sportsman. I know he was only joking, but I thought ‘Billy, what are you doing?'

"I like Billy a lot, but he does do a few silly things. He has to be guided better, and you’d think he might have learnt by now. It was a silly thing to do, but I know he’s not that kind of fella’. Billy does have a good heart, he’s going to be suspended, and rightly so, but I know he didn’t say it with malice.

"I’m not going to jump on the bandwagon and slaughter him 100 per cent, because I do think he’s a genuine lad, who just comes out with some silly stuff in not good taste. He’s a fantastic fighter, but needs to remember he’s also a role model. Hopefully he’ll learn this time."