How boxing is picking up the pieces after the tragedy of Sheffield boxer Scott Westgarth

Scott Westgarth, left, with Carl Wild
Scott Westgarth, left, with Carl Wild
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The death of Scott Westgarth eight days ago has rocked everybody to the core in South Yorkshire boxing.

A 10-bell tribute was sounded for the Penistone-based man at Kell Brook’s show on Saturday.

Today we talk to Sheffield fight promoter Dennis Hobson – one of those who has to pick up the pieces of a sport making the headlines for the wrong reasons.

Questions posed by Bob Westerdale.

How hard is it for those in the sport to recover from this?

People want to box, and all you can do is the best you can for them, including the best treatment, and advise them the best you can.

Dennis Hobson

Dennis Hobson

Boxing will recover, but obviously you never forget and it’s obviously very raw at the moment.

It’s a sad time for everybody, especially for the people directly connected to Scott, his loved ones and family.

I’ve heard lots of lovely words about Scott, and it’s such a tragedy that everything else pales into insignificance.

Boxing will carry on though, Scott loved the game and he’d want boxing to carry on because it was his passion.

It’s such a tragedy though and you look for ‘what-ifs,’ and I’m sure his family and friends will be saying what if this or that.

Life is so fragile at times and it’s such a sad loss.

The British Boxing Board of Control say it cannot guarantee deaths and serious injuries won’t happen again - what do you say to those who ban it?

Boxing is one of the most regulated sports in the world, especially in this country, and if you tried to ban it, it would just go underground.

All we can do is keep trying to make sure everyone is as safe as possible.

There are regular head scans and fighters need to make sure they’re not having too many gym wars.

We’ve got paramedics at the shows and if an injured fighter is at hospital within an hour, it’s called the ‘golden hour’, then we can usually save somebody and it’s just tragic that it didn’t happen in this case.

You can’t ban it though; should we ban motor car racing or horse racing, look at the statistics and these sports are more dangerous

Even football now, they are discovering players have been affected by brain damage in later life because of heading the ball.

So, what sport is safe?

As a society we can’t become too sterile.

Any boxers thinking of quitting the sport...what advice do you offer?

If a fighter isn’t committed then I would say quit, because it is an unforgiving sport.

Have you had any personal involvement in tragedies like this?

I had a kid called Mark Brooks years ago; he had a brain bleed and that was a scary time.

He had to stop boxing but I don’t think he regrets his boxing career because he loved it

Fortunately, they got Mark under the knife quickly and relieved the pressure in his brain and he made a full recovery.

I don’t know how those directly involved with Scott’s career will be feeling now though; it’s going to scar them.

If a fighter is taking punishment in the ring then maybe they’ll think about pulling them out quicker than they normally would.

I just don’t know, it’s a difficult one and it’s all about individuals.

What they may be thinking is that they can play a part in keeping fighters as safe as possible in the future because they’ve gone through this horrible experience.