BIBA, FightPost & Nicola Hopewell
Whenever you put something out on social media in whatever form, critique and criticism are usually part of the course. But there is that thin line between criticism and downright abuse.
A post I was made aware of on Wednesday night aimed at me crossed many lines. There was no justification for much of what was said. It was vile and disgusting, why someone close to the fighter that made the post didn’t advise the fighter in question to delete the post is beyond me. It speaks volumes in many ways. Why anyone feels that the type of language contained within that post is acceptable is for their conscience. For most, it clearly isn’t.
The abuse, and trust me, that’s exactly what it was, came because of recent posts in relation to Nicola Hopewell. I expressed an opinion, nothing more, and for expressing that opinion I was subjected to having to view the aforementioned post.
It is sad, regrettable and an unfortunate sign of the times. There is no excuse for what I saw, it was simply unforgivable. Nothing can possibly justify what was said.
The fighter in question is a BIBA affiliated boxer, and hopefully, in time that person will understand and learn from the words that were written. I could and perhaps should name the fighter in question, but I won’t.
There seems to be a narrative that I have some issue with BIBA, a boxing promotion that runs their business outside of the British Boxing Board of Control.
My opinion is simple, I think Hopewell an unbeaten Worksop fighter currently fighting under the BIBA banner, could and should be fighting on a bigger platform. The opportunities would be greater in my opinion, if she fought under the British Boxing Board of Control. Some may not agree, which is fine, but what I witnessed on Wednesday, takes things to a completely different and unacceptable level.
For the record, as I have said previously, BIBA has their place in boxing. They deserve credit for being able to put on shows in these testing times, giving their fighters work, especially with the behind closed doors shows during the various lockdowns of recent times. They deserve credit for doing so.
They have aspirations and ambitions to grow further, and I wish them well. If they can offer a different route to the more conventional route then everyone concerns benefits. If the fighters have more choices, then that usually means more money for the fighters.
I do believe there is a limit to how far that growth will be, for many reasons they will face issues and many struggles. But again, I wish them well.
Again for the record, I have no issues with Hopewell’s coach. He has hardly been mentioned in any of my articles on Hopewell. When he has been referenced, it has been to praise the work he has done bringing his stable of fighters to where they are now. Again, I will reiterate that point.
The fact that so many people think Hopewell can box at a higher level is a compliment to her current coach. I have said previously if Hopewell decides to move over, then I hope it is with her coach by her side. However, for many reasons, I accept that is unlikely.
But the articles are not about the coach, or what’s best for him, it is what is best from a career point of view for Hopewell. Nothing more nothing less.
Between the FightPost team, we have interviewed 4 BIBA fighters in the past year or so, including ironically, the fighter who put the post up last night. Hopewell has featured on the website multiple times over that time and is one of the most heavily featured fighters on FightPost. We have no issues with BIBA, we have helped promote their fighters and therefore their shows.
I have watched numerous BIBA shows in recent times, I have my opinion on them, both good and bad, I have largely refrained from airing the bad. I have offered my opinion on certain things, I accept opinion will be given back in return. Debate is healthy. Abuse is not.
Hopewell fights in Worksop this coming Sunday and I had originally planned to be there, but I am elsewhere in the boxing world covering another show. For balance, BIBA did invite me to the Brighton show in December, but again I will be elsewhere. The invite apparently remains open, but after recent events, my presence might be a little awkward to say the least. If circumstances permit, I have no issues with another member of the FightPost team covering a future BIBA show.
It’s sad that Hopewell is caught up in the middle of this. She has been both brave and honest in recent interviews expressing her opinion on what may or not lie ahead. Hopewell should be free to decide her future however she chooses. If Hopewell decides to stay with BIBA for the long-term then personally speaking I wish her all the best and will genuinely support her decision. Hopewell will be featured on FightPost on a regular basis going forward regardless of her decision to stay or go.
But if the decision is to move away from BIBA, then I hope others will do the same and support that decision. It’s her life, her career. Her decision should be respected.