Smith vs Ryder: A View From Press Row
By Jonny Rashman
The landscape in the media side of boxing has changed beyond recognition. The days of a select few boxing journalists, with peak hats on, cigar in mouth and dictaphone at the ready, have faded into oblivion.
The introduction of social media was a game changer for the sport, not just for fighters but for budding journalists and online media publications.
Although changing, there is still a view, mainly from mainstream broadcasters and traditional sports journalists, that boxing YouTube channels and online media publications are not experienced and qualified enough to be reporting on big boxing events.
Like any industry, the more experience you acquire, the more well-versed you will be in your chosen field.
Online media publications are a perfect platform to set you on your way in the media side of the sport. This doesn’t mean that every person will have success in the industry, far from it. You must have potential, work ethic and creativity to make you stand out. You have to be willing to earn your stripes, and forge relationships, with little money to be earned (at the start).
Although many online boxing publications don’t offer a financial incentive, they can offer you exposure and a platform to show off your work. Does this guarantee you a career in the industry, no, but if you have a view people want to hear and are willing to accept the financial restrictions at the start, then you are on your way to making your passion a financially viable career.
The world has changed, boxing fans no longer want to be spoon-fed their boxing content from the traditional, mainstream media companies, they want their content fast with questions and answers free from any media trained answers.
The likes of IFL, Seconds Out, Boxing Social and Beyond the Gloves have proven, you don’t need to have a commercia powerhouse behind you to have success.
Despite a ridiculous article written last week by a certain well known American, boxing media outlet, alluding to favouritism by promoters with certain YouTube channels. There has never been so many opportunities to get into the media side of the sport.
I suggest to the author of the article in question to find any working industry who doesn’t favour the person who has worked for their success and more importantly brings numbers to the table.
Let’s not kid ourselves, just like any business the more customers you bring to the table, the more money to be earned.
This doesn’t mean there is no room for anyone else to make their mark. I look at it in the opposite way, the more success the likes of IFL have, the more opportunities there is to make a career in the media side of the sport.
If you ever needed proof of the power of social media, just look at the recent KSI vs Logan Paul event. It would have seemed inconceivable 3 years ago, that two white collar fighters would headline a professional boxing card, on pay per view, with two world champions on the undercard.
As painful as it was to see mainstream broadcasters’ breakdown and analyse the fight, it highlighted the extreme growth of social media and made the big broadcasters sit up and take notice.
Print journalism is dying out. In the coming decade, a newspaper will be rendered to the history books. Laying down roots on an online platform will pay dividends in the years to come.
I’ve been writing for FightPost for the last 8 months, which has given me the opportunity to improve my writing, attend boxing and MMA events with press accreditation and more importantly show my work to a large online following.
This is invaluable experience to take you to the next stage. The editor and owner is very approachable, no matter what experience you may or may not have and will give you the opportunity to show off your work.
If you have a passion not just for the sport but for writing, I highly recommend you utilise media outlets like FightPost.
My first experience of attending a show with a press pass was last month in Bolton, for the Alex Dilmaghani vs Fransisco Fonseca fight (yes, the fight that was cancelled 30 minutes before the ring walk)
The venue is a room at Bolton’s football stadium and gives you an intimate experience of the action. Although the fight was live on channel 5, I would class it as a small hall show, which is different to attending the stellar events.
Small hall shows are a perfect opportunity to show your face and build relationships. Fighters who are at the start of their career will always respect the fact that you have taken the time to report on them. If you just want to report on the big box office events, you’re in the wrong game. You have learn to walk before you can run.
Saturday’s British thriller between Liverpool’s Callum Smith and John Ryder provided me with the opportunity to report on my first world title fight from press row.
I arrived at the M&S Bank Arena and was told to go around the back, far away from the queuing crowd. After showing my ID I was given a wrist band and was promptly escorted around the back of the arena and led to my ringside seat.
Having a bird’s eye view of the action is a different experience than watching on the television or high up in the gods. You score and look at the action in a new light.
With every crunching body shot that sinks in, you have a clearer understanding of the notion of breaking your opponent down.
The more fights you watch from ringside the better qualified you are to summarise a fight.
The main event has been a hot topic of debate since the scorecards was announced on Saturday night. I personally had Smith winning the fight, however, the fight was an exciting toe-to-toe encounter and was infinitely closer than the score cards suggested.
Amidst all the controversy, the Anthony Fowler vs Harry Scarff contest flew under the radar. It was a terrific British scrap, with both men leaving it all in the ring.
Fowler truly lived up to his nickname ‘the machine’ and would not stop coming forward. Scarff simply didn’t have the power to make a dent on the Liverpudlian and was ultimately outclassed on the judge’s scorecards.
My experience of my night in Liverpool was a positive one. Matchroom Sport cards always have that bit of fairy dust sprinkled over them.