RingSide Report

World News, Social Issues, Politics, Entertainment and Sports


By Donald “Braveheart” Stewart

An opinion piece from the only Donald worth listening to…

Full Stop – In British English grammar a full stop is a lengthy pause, in the US, you call it a period. In the UK that tends to suggest feminine products. Here it means a period of time where I look at something in boxing in a little more depth. I am typing from my perspective of a fan who watches the sport closely. It’s an opinion. It is my opinion. Don’t like it? There are other opinions out there but if you don’t like it then good, debate and democracy are a good thing. If you do like it, feel free to spread the word.


On the 20th of July 2024, a 27-year-old man who has been boxing for quite a few years and has won all but one of his fights, faces a man my own age – 58. His opponent is one of the fiercest men on the planet and can “boast”, aside from time in prison, some of the most memorable fights in history.

But this match between two people is not happening in a car park, after an acrimonious wedding, out the back of some chain hotel between fighting families who are decades into a dispute which most of their families have no idea how it all started. There is no Romeo on one side, nor Juliet on the other. Why an up-and-coming young man should feel the need to challenge and taunt a man more or less old enough to be his grandfather is down to one thing – money.

They both should be rolling in it. And they are about to gather a considerable amount more. Jake Paul, at 27, has managed to become a phenomenon in the boxing world. Undeniably, the number of people who shall tune in to watch his fight are multiple times more numerous than the boxing fans who tune in for world title fights. Mike Tyson, his opponent, was once able to boast that he brought millions to watch his fights and was the undisputed King of the world of boxing. His reputation and his legacy may be tarnished for some, but his name continues to capture and light up the imagination of many, despite a lackluster exhibition with Roy Jones Jr. a few years back.

For real boxing fans? We are trying to stifle a yawn. But then real boxing fans are beginning to worry about this development, of people getting into the fight game who have no business in being in it OR in being back in it. But let me separate the two out.
Jake Paul has earned his right to be in a boxing ring. The man trains professionally and I have little issue with him boxing. Francis Ngannou, similarly, had the right to face boxers in a ring. There are other YouTube boxers and willing combat sports artists coming in from other disciplines who similarly I have little issue with.

That Jake Paul is fighting Mike Tyson is simply problematic, and Ngannou’s two fights against Fury and then Anthony Joshua, also troubling. The fault? Not that they fight, but who they chose to fight against.

Ngannou was left out cold, after barely getting warm in his fight against AJ. Right afterwards, people returned to their oft quoted concern that someone was going to get hurt in one of these fights. But that is nothing as to the concern that has been raised around Msfits boxing.

Now, this is a phenomenon that has gathered worldwide coverage because it puts tomato cans and night club bouncer level fighters in a ring against people of a similar set of experiences and hope they can entertain. Promoted by Wasserman Boxing and broadcast by DAZN, this is a spectacle which has made many squirm – me included. Now, don’t get me wrong, for some of the competitors, they train seriously, hook up with real quality boxing people to prepare. It makes for a spectacle that the eyes of the young and the people who actually know who these people are, can get onboard and pay their subscription to give this event credibility.

The officials have some grounding in the sport with referees and judges having been officials and referees for legitimate organizations like the British Boxing Board of Control (BBB of C) before but are now either retired or for one reason or another, no longer employed by the BBB of C. The concern raised around Ngannou being hurt, coming from one code to another, is multiplied ten-fold when talking about these fights. There are some who argue that if two people of similar background are matched in a ring that this lessens the risk. After all, similar skill v similar skill level might punch itself out…

But these guys are not matched through ability but by beef. Online beef. Or hyped Twitter arguments that lead to a fight in a ring. Many are there to promote their Only Fans page and the weigh ins and face offs are where the real traction online happens. Artificially created arguments are available all over the net, on legitimate social websites, like IFL TV to watch time and again as the “fighters” who look the part, behave the part, and are then taunted by keyboard warriors find themselves in a toxic online war that does not always end with a final bell or unspectacular knockout.

Sometimes the hatred is real, as was seen when the arguments over World’s Strongest Man and the 2017 competition spilled into a ring as Eddie Hall took on Hafthor Bjornsson over three rounds. These guys disliked each other and having had Halfthor question and mock Hall’s World Strongest Man’s win was truly a fight worthy of some attention.

But it was a snooze fest.

Msfits, to be fair to it, has not had anyone seriously hurt because of it. So far. Tragedy is always the way that attention is pulled to an event or a person or the people around them. The greatest worry will always be that we need to have one to pay attention to, when there are so many indicators available that suggest we should be paying this much more attention than we are. Of course, the worry is going to be that it shall take a fatality or disability to gather that attention into action. The licensing of these bouts does not come under the auspices of any boxing authority recognized within the sport, but minor authorities with little by way of a history, though people behind them do have some credibility. In fact, one of these minor authorities has removed their sanction from these events due to concerns over the safety of fighters… Increasingly signs are emerging that we need to pay attention. As the saying goes, it is all fun and games until somebody loses an eye… Let’s hope that money does not continue to pay to keep authorities from being blind to things.

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