Quantity punching: Boxing growth as soon as noticed 1,000 UK exhibits a 12 months

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While we are approaching a busy month in the UK, it is nothing compared to days gone by

As we slowly move out of a slew of lockdowns and professional boxing, both indoors and outdoors, is picking up speed again, it’s not surprising that our little indoor promoters are again loudly putting on shows. September is already looking to be a very busy month, and this is great news for the hordes of young fellows, ticket sellers and journeyman whose careers have largely been put on hold for the past 18 months.

Over the past 40 years the number of promotions across the UK has tended to fluctuate between 200 and around 280 per year. The last year of over 300 professional tournaments was back in 1955, and for the entire period between 1961 and 1976 there were fewer than 200 shows a year. Throughout World War II there were never fewer than 400 shows and well over 500 in two of 1940 and 1942. After the war a boom set in and it was not uncommon for 1,000 events to be held annually in the UK instead of. That ended with the introduction of the entertainment tax in 1953, when promoters had to pay up to a third of their profits to the government, which was struggling to fix a troubled post-war economy, and small indoor boxing never really recovered.

For truly astronomical numbers, one has to go back to the 1930s, and especially to the years between 1930 and 1934. During those five years there were never less than 4,000 shows a year and over 5,000 in both 1931 and 1933. It was possible to see two or even three professional tournaments on the same day in cities like Preston, Sheffield, Leeds and Barnsley. In much smaller towns, like Royton and Colne in Lancashire, there were competing organizers who regularly put on shows that same evening to large and enthusiastic audiences. Professional boxing has been seen across the UK, often in places the sport has been starved for the past 70 years or so; Norfolk, Suffolk, Cornwall, Devon and Cumbria, where little noteworthy happens these days, have all been breeding grounds, with hundreds of young lads taking part in licensed tournaments in places like Penzance, Truro, Camborne, Newton Abbot, Diss, Spalding, Lowestoft, Great Yarmouth , Whitehaven, Workington and Penrith. Hundreds of tournaments were held each year in the larger industrial areas such as South Wales and the North East, and Newcastle, St.

The global economic crisis that began in 1929 and lasted into the 1930s was responsible for this sports boom in Britain. I’ve spoken to a lot of fighters from that time and while most of them enjoyed their wrestling careers, almost all of them told me they had to box because times were so tough. The purses they fought for, often less than a pound, at least helped bring food to the table, and this period was not called the “Hungry Thirties” for nothing. Nowhere in South Wales has it been hit so hard, where most coal mines have struggled economically to stay, and with tens of thousands of miners being laid off repeatedly, professional boxing gave the many young guys the gloves, even when there weren’t that many people who could afford to see them.

Now that the pandemic is finally receding, it would be wonderful to see boxing go through another mini-boom and that magical sum of 300 shows finally break through again because they need our support.