Spending a Saturday night with my bride is a good thing, spending it at the boxing is not my idea of a romantic night out or even a night out really. in truth it would never occur to me to go to the boxing as a form of entertainment with or without my bride. But here I was. The most out of shape man in the room, and quite possibly the only one without ink. A few months ago I had said yes (as I stupidly always do) when I got the phone call asking me to do a charity auction of just one or two things.
With the usual calendar creep, the night suddenly loomed in my diary and I hightailed it back from the farm to get dressed to attend a night of boxing, somewhere in which I was required to get into the ring, and sell a framed glove and a huge framed boxers robe. Sure enough this was the crowd that would be most likely to buy such memorabilia but I needed convincing that anyone in the room would spend the money.
The room was chock-a-block full of muscle, tattoos and testosterone. Fair to say, not my usual charity auction crowd and certainly not my usual social mix on a Saturday night, and certainly not date night. For what its worth I thought the boxing was really interesting. I watched about twelve fights I think. Most of them going the full three rounds, one lasting three seconds.
I was more comfortable watching men fight than women, but that could just be me being sexist. I was more comfortable watching young men fight than old, but on another level I worried that the young men might be taking risks with their body that their head couldn’t match up to in later life. A couple of the fights were between men in their fifties. My instant thought was, “surely by fifty you don’t need to be getting into a ring to get pounded!”. Then I did also think the same rule applied to anyone regardless of age.
They call it the sweet science, but it is pretty brutal stuff. The most interesting aspect of all to me was the impact the fights had on the crowd. One well placed and well-timed punch had men instantly on their feet baying for more. It instantly recalled a similar feeling when I was very young watching the wrestling on TV with my younger brother and getting gee’d up to the extent we would wrestle on the lounge with great vigour. These men were all a fair bit older than that though and took it all a bit more seriously too.
A little scuffle broke out in the crowd, which I guess is pretty standard stuff on Saturday nights anywhere, but it took on a whole new level when you took into account the size of the men involved and the menace with which they held their threatening poses. I couldn’t back out of the area quick enough. It did all settle down quite quickly though and the fights continued.
A special mention to the fight promoter. If there is a spectrum upon which every fight promoter stands relative to their good looks Astrid Ven Der Sluys is definitely at the other end from every other fights promoter I have ever seen. I am reliably informed she is a more than handy pugilist.