Boxing is a sport that demands a lot of travelling especially if you are a highly ranked player who is internationally recognized. You have to be present in different nations during a calendar year. However, the same applies if you are not a boxer but a big fan of boxing who is not satisfied with watching fights online or on TV but wish to see catch the drama in real life. 2018 was a year I dedicated to boxing. I decided to pick 5 countries where boxing is most popular and visited them all just to witness the thrill of live matches. Here are they and the reasons why I chose them for traveling.
Researchers claim that boxing is losing its grip on the population in USA but it cannot be expected that it will get rid of its No. 1 ranking as far as heavyweight championships are concerned. In this nation, boxing signifies steadiness and power. The boxer’s fortitude and his knack of overcoming overpowering odds is now a loved theme in popular movies of USA. The soundtrack for films like Rocky are perpetually associated with the topic of inspiration and persistence. If you aren’t too different, listening to “Eye of the tiger” or seeing Rocky 4 will provoke you to check out boxing gear in the nearby stores as you will be really pumped up for serious action.
Most think that soccer is Mexico’s most famous sport but it is boxing that rules its people. Mexico is responsible for producing more than 200 champions. In the 1930s, Mexico had its first golden era of boxing. Throughout the 60s, boxers from Mexico managed to get some matches around the globe. In the 80s, this sport was very famous in Mexico due to Julio Cesar Chavez who was a sensation. There was a time when he had a winning streak of 87 fights.
UK is the birthplace of modern boxing. Thus, it is not surprising that the sport is popular in this nation. Here, arenas become sell outs quickly as huge groups of passionate fans arrive for supporting their heroes. For instance, in 2016, 02 Arena managed to sell out in eleven minutes for a match between Kell Brook and Gennady Golovkin. In UK, big boxing contests are a source of major excitement. Fans are devoted and support from the heart. This sport is indeed a thriving business with no signs of fading. This is apparent from not just stadium attendances but also television viewership stats. BoxNation is a channel showing matches not just in UK but from across the world. No wonder the United Kingdom is responsible for coming up with 14 world titleholders.
Japan is not a surprising inclusion in my trip at all. In 1921, Japan had its first boxing gym. 31 years later, Yoshio Shirai became the first world champion from this country. Since then, Japan has managed to produce 40 world champs. 1960-80 is known as Japan’s golden era in boxing. In the 70s, Japan simultaneously had 5 world champs. Boxing is famous in its media too. Boxing is linked with societal status. Multiple TV channels based in Tokyo show monthly programs on boxing. Most ballots are between high-caliber Japanese boxers. The newspapers in Japan do feature boxing results in sports section – a lot of Japanese magazines specialize in boxing as well.
Cuban has managed to build a repute for great boxers on a global level. Since it entered the boxing scenario in 70s, it has been able to attain above 100 medals in Olympics and amateur competitions of boxing. Eligio Sardinias Montalbo was the first Cuban champion in boxing. During the 1960s, Fidel Castro ended up banning all professional sports. Many boxers and their respective managers decided to flee Cuba to live in places where they would practice boxing and earn from it as well. However, this did not totally kill boxing scene in Cuba. Instead, while working with Soviet Union, Cuba initiated a boxing program for amateurs. The aim was producing boxers not driven by financial incentives but by their love for boxing, love for Cuba and, most importantly, love for human glory. These boxers endured personal sacrifices while retaining calmness and self-respect.
This initiative turned out to be an incomparable success story. Teófilo Stevenson and Felix Savon both won 3 Olympic gold medals. With boxing, it became possible for economically deprived Cuban families to have members traveling abroad. With boxing, they earned respectable livelihood which was returned to their families to help them at home. Thus, today, even 12 year old children commence training in boxing. This has generated love for this otherwise controversial sport throughout Cuba which has stood the test of time and, most probably, will continue like this in the future.