Opinion | Aug 27 2014

Frank Bruno’s shot at Tim Witherspoon one of the exceptions to the typically quiet boxing summer

Daniel Herbert examines the history of the quiet period in British boxing
WitherspoonBruno

SUMMER is traditionally quiet for professional boxing in the UK. The last pro show here was in Wolverhampton on the first of the month, when Frankie Gavin lost narrowly to Leonard Bundu for the European welterweight title – and the next won’t be until September 6, when Carl Frampton challenges previous victim Kiko Martinez for the IBF super-bantam crown in Belfast. That’s a 36-day gap.

The feeling is that fans won’t want to be inside a hot, cramped building during the summer months (even though plenty of shows happened in just such conditions in the June and July just gone). Promoters are also discouraged by the long school holidays from late July to early September, which for many families are the only opportunity to get away. No point taking a risk putting on a boxing show when there’s nobody around to see it, goes the reasoning.

Yet there have always been exceptions. In 1986 the appeal of Frank Bruno was such that his WBA heavyweight title challenge against Tim Witherspoon went ahead in the open air at Wembley Stadium as late in the boxing season as July 19. A crowd of 40,000 turned out (including the author of these lines) and saw Big Frank stopped in the 11th round. It was late on a Saturday night, the timing convenient for US television.

 

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