The Impact of Social Media on Boxing
By Jonathan Oxley
In today’s society has the impact of Social Media soured the sport of Boxing?
In recent years numerous boxers have fallen foul of posting inappropriate or offensive comments on Social Media sparking outrage from fight fans, for instance, British boxer Ohara Davies was taunted for causing outrage for his comments on the Hillsborough tragedy, his comments were quickly removed from the platform but some factions of fans have certainly remembered the comments and now regularly ridicule and mock the boxer on Twitter, amongst other platforms. Davies has several times removed himself from the Social Media platforms to avoid any further abuse.
The interesting thing to me is that the fighter then subsequently returned to Social Media to continue his accounts, obviously to promote upcoming fights but also strangely to reignite his seemingly endless feuds with boxing fans, having read through his Twitter page recently I even felt strongly enough, following some of his comments, to press the Hackney boxer for some insight into where the boxer seems to draw inspiration for his antagonising posts.
Is this a seemingly common trend nowadays amongst certain elements of athletes? especially boxers and also MMA fighters? Is it perhaps to generate interest in their careers and any upcoming fights? If it is, I feel it’s a terrible shame, I, for one consider the fight game in any context should be a Gentleman’s sport and at its top levels a fighter can surely be held in extremely high regard for conducting themselves with class and intelligence, without the need to alienate themselves from public opinion.
To further complicate issues within the sport there is seemingly now an inherent need for the “average” fan to dictate to a fighter whom and when they should fight during their career. If the fighter chooses to go down a different route, for what could be any number of reasons, be it financially or simply a step sideways to go forwards, then the boxer is ridiculed and is then “ducking” another fighter. I’m sure there could certainly be a small element of this within the sport but I would imagine that anyone that has ever laced up a pair of gloves will tell you that there are probably hundreds of deciding factors to consider before even stepping inside the squared circle and is most definitely the case if the fight is at an elite level.
To give an example, over the past year there has been millions of posts, on any forum that a fan chooses to read, Huge numbers of posts online from fans that have read Social Media pages in an attempt to gain the latest on the negotiations. A large proportion of these posts by fans all come across as if they have been sat at the same table as the fighter’s representatives during the negotiations and clearly have an opinion towards either fighter “ducking” their opponent. Any true fight fan will know that any World title does not come cheaply, it is years of blood, sweat and tireless dedication to reach a level of competition to be considered for an opportunity, let alone win a title.
To further cloud this point and give some balance to this argument it also can be said that individual fighters, promoters and coaches do sometimes hurt their own reputation, by posting online and in newspapers, negative comments towards other fighters, promoters and coaches and even everyday life. There have also been cases recently that have made the headlines with several boxers being caught out in terms of failing drug tests for PED’s.
I feel this is certainly diminishing a beautiful sport’s reputation, unfortunately with Social Media being such a widespread platform for everyone to have their say it seems that it will be here to stay. This fan certainly feels there needs to be a clean-up in this beautiful sport where the average fan has a little less to comment on other than the positive side to a fantastic sport.