And so, the summertime lull returns. The need for a boxing season has always been a bit mysterious to me, but traditionally late July through August tends to be a quiet time, as does early January. The next two weekends see a slew of lower key shows, the highlight of which is probably the Dillian Whyte / David Allen heavyweight clash in Leeds, followed by virtually nothing for a month.
In keeping with the general theme, Turley on Tuesday will take a bit of time off as well, getting some vitamin D and enjoying some R & R with my much ignored family, rather than constant writing. (I have other commitments as well as this one – I’m actually surprised my 3 year old remembers who I am.) The column will return the first Tuesday of September.
This has the danger of being one of those tumbleweed moments, but I wanted to take advantage of the breathing space to canvas a bit of opinion. When I first started filing weekly pieces for Instant Boxing, in Nov 2014, I was told by the management that I was free to write what I wanted. For someone like me, that was an exciting offer.
One of the downsides of the internet age is that there is just so much content out there. Anyone with a smartphone can record a video interview and anyone with a laptop can scribble a bit of copy. That’s a good thing, in many ways, the information we receive has been democratised, but it does create issues.
Undoubtedly, one such issue is that quality control has dipped. In order to write professionally for Boxing News say, a newspaper, or a book publisher, there was obviously an expectation that you possessed a level of skill or flair with the written word. Pieces would have to pass the beady eye of an editor – not always a pleasant experience, particularly if your editor was a bit of a dick – but it stopped incoherent nonsense from being inflicted on unfortunate readers. For broad swathes of the internet, that simply isn’t the case.
The other downside is that with so much material out there, all readily accessible via a couple of clicks, it can be difficult to stand out from the crowd. Getting your voice heard in the internet age is a bit like shouting into a hundred-mile-an-hour wind. Fighter interviews, fight previews or pound-for-pound type musings are two-a-penny. Literally everyone and their mum is writing them.
For that reason I decided to cover topics that the mainstream boxing media were ignoring. In the first year of Turley on Tuesday I wrote about things that bothered me and I know bother boxing fans in general, but were avoided by other writers who labour under editorial sensitivities or because the issues highlight boxing’s contradictions. In that way I examined the rise of Pay-per-View, I discussed brain injuries and puglistica dementia and was the first to give any coverage to the Malta Boxing Commission who suffered under a media blackout at the time.
That’s all well and good, but interestingly some of my most popular articles have been little more than rants, when an issue annoyed me enough to hammer a thousand words onto the keyboard in about half an hour. That can make you lazy – why bother researching and investigating a subject if gobbing off a bit gets more readers?
So I am contemplating various changes of direction from September, but would like to ask regular readers (yes, both of you) for your thoughts. Are there are any particular topics you would like to see covered? Anyone interested enough to respond can message me on Twitter @MarkTurley72 or via email turleymark AT hotmail.com. I’ll mull over any suggestions over the summer and act upon any I find interesting when I’m back.
Before signing off it would remiss not to mention that today is the 30th anniversary of Frank Bruno’s first, unsuccessful world title attempt, against ‘terrible’ Tim Witherspoon at Wembley. An interesting night, in which the Bruno hype balloon was finally punctured. He had already lost to Bonecrusher Smith and been wobbled by Jumbo Cummings, but getting stopped by a visibly out-of-shape Witherspoon confirmed the fear that while Frank’s jab and right hand power could carry him to British and Euro level comfortably, he was just shy of elite world class. Witherspoon, after all, would lose in his next defence. Today’s article could have been a full blown retrospective of that night, I suppose – watching big Frank fade as the fight drew on, eventually pounded into a strange, sitting position by the American in the 11th, is indelibly burned in my brain – but I’m sure someone else will write that…
My book ‘Journeymen, the other side of the boxing business’ was longlisted for William Hill Sports book of the year and named one of the sports books of the year by The Guardian. It is still available from all usual outlets.
Please listen to this excellent and very topical podcast about the darker side of boxing, featuring interviews with Ryan Rhodes, Paul ‘silky’ Jones, Glyn Rhodes MBE and Jerome Wilson.