Sunday, 28 May 2017

Boxing and the Limits of Courage

Kell Brook after his bout with Errol Spence

Boxers are a crazy and gallant species of humanity.

They will fight on while suffering from all manner of physically debilitating conditions: lacerations, broken jaws, severe haematomas, split tongues, dislocated shoulders and even shattered orbital bones.

Pride and determination allied to extraordinary levels of fitness have often brought out an amazing capacity for bravery, and many would argue foolhardiness, in pugilists fighting both for honour and for prize money.

If the human capacity for enduring frightening levels of physical punishment is examined, many of the best exemplars must surely be found in boxing history.

Joe Frazier, the late former heavyweight champion of the world fought for many years while being practically blinded in one eye and partially sighted in the other. Fearful that his career would be ended in the manner of fellow Philadelphian boxer ‘Gypsy’ Joe Harris, Frazier memorised the opticians chart to ensure that discovery of his handicap was avoided during routine pre-fight medical examinations.

He had profited from this sort of deception in his past. He kept quiet about breaking his thumb during the semi-finals of the Olympic Games in Tokyo as discovery would have put paid to his hopes of winning the gold medal he eventually acquired.

His rival Muhammad Ali fought for over ten rounds with a broken jaw after a right cross thrown by Ken Norton pierced through his guard in the second round. Ali felt  a “snap and a sudden gush of blood” run down his throat.

And while Norton later disputed this claim by asserting his belief that he had broken Ali’s jaw in the later rounds, few can argue that both Ali and Frazier were prepared to duel to the death in a dangerously overheated arena in the Philippines in 1975.

“It was like death,” Ali remarked after the ‘Thrilla in Manila’. “Closest thing to dyin’ I know of.”

Somewhere in-between the respective feats of enduring the excruciating pain of moving around with a broken jaw (not to mention the sharp bursts of pain that coursed through his body with subsequent blows to the head and body) and the feeling of exhaustion to the point of physical expiration, boxing lore records Carmen Basilio battling the great Sugar Ray Robinson with a haematoma around an eye which practically rendered him blind for eight rounds of a grueling 15-round world middleweight championship contest.

Not forgotten also is a night in July of 1967 at New York City’s Madison Square Garden when the Canadian heavyweight George Chuvalo absorbed a brutally executed left hook from Joe Frazier which shattered the orbital bone under his left eye. Chuvalo underwent reconstructive surgery in order to re-position his eye which had dipped towards the orbital floor.

But while Chuvalo, who successfully resisted the best efforts of the American Medical Association to have him barred for life, went on to fight thirty more times and Basilio retired with his eye and his faculties intact until his death at the ripe age of 85, the number of boxers who have had to live their years in the darkness of both blindness and dementia pugilista serve as a sobering antidote to boxing’s tendency to revel in its tales of ring daring and fortitude.

In September of 2016, Kell Brook, a British welterweight boxer, suffered a broken orbital bone in a fight with the world middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin. The corrective procedure involved the temporary measure of taking his right eye out of its socket and reinforcing the bone with a titanium implant. Brook had been advised that he had been potentially one blow away from permanently losing his eyesight.

Yesterday, while defending his IBF world welterweight title against the American challenger Errol Spence, Brook sustained an injury on the left side of his eye during the middle rounds. The area around the eye began to swell and the symptoms of discomfort progressively mirrored those he had experienced during his bout with Golovkin.

Needless to say, fighting with diminishing vision, and, in Brook’s case, double vision, presents a tremendous handicap to a boxer. A fighter needs to fix his eyes on a high point of his opponent’s chest. This enables their peripheral vision to anticipate the beginning of his opponent’s punch from either left or right side.

Fighting out of an orthodox stance and a boxer’s crouch, Brook’s left eye would have provided him with both elevated and lateral vision of Spence’s movements. But having impaired vision would have forced him to adjust the way he positioned his body, making him more vulnerable to Spence’s attacks.

Defence in boxing at a fundamental level involves establishing a ‘safe’ distance between the fighter and his opponent. A diminished eye not only severely undermines this, it also causes him to be off balanced.

As the fight wore on, Brook, who had fought a competitive bout of attrition with Spence, began to fade. He suffered a knockdown in the tenth round and in the eleventh, he voluntarily dropped to one knee. The referee decided to end it after administering a count.

While boxing does not lead the statistical field in terms of sports-related fatalities and non-fatal injuries, its detractors understandably frequently express their opposition to the sport on the grounds that boxing lacks sound moral underpinnings because its participants set out to deliberately inflict damage on each other.

The Marquis of Queensberry Rules as well as the standards followed by boxing commissions and the world sanctioning bodies strive to ensure that the safety and well-being of fighters is always of paramount concern. Translating this objective into practice relies on the good judgement not only of officials and the fighter’s handlers, but also of the boxer himself.

Although the violent nature of boxing is sanitized by its rules and regulations, it essentially remains a brutal sport. Still, the safety measures adopted are intended to separate it from the blood sport barbarity of Roman-era gladiatorial combat.

While the sport revels in the valour of its combatants, it is generally acknowledged that there have to be limits placed on the almost infinite reserves of courage from which fighters are disposed to drawing.

It is while bearing all of this in mind that those followers of boxing who casually refer to Kell Brook as a “quitter” and even a “coward” should take stock and pause for some serious reflection.

© Adeyinka Makinde (2017)

Adeyinka Makinde is the author of DICK TIGER: The Life and Times of a Boxing Immortal and JERSEY BOY: The Life and Mob Slaying of Frankie DePaula. He is also a contributor to the forthcoming Companion To Boxing to be published by Cambridge University Press.

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

To the Shade of Roger Moore

Roger Moore

For me it was never a question of who was the better Bond between Roger Moore and Sean Connery. It was also never a matter of whether he was capable or incapable of acting in ‘serious’ roles.

Moore had his own English style of cheeky wit and upper crust urbanity with which many first became familiar during his long-running performance as Simon Templar in the 1960s TV series ‘The Saint’.

His sonorous baritone voice and his handsome countenance complete with distinctive mole and chin cleft obviously played a huge part in enabling him to achieve fame and riches. Yet, most do not carve out a niche in the acting business solely by exploiting their physical gifts.

There was more to this RADA-trained son of a London policeman.

He was a raconteur par excellence. His numerous interviews gave us an idea of the man’s charm and quick-witted humour. It was often dry and self-deprecating - a facility which disarmed and won over those who would have been quick to register dislike and approval had he been prone to display any hint of condescension or arrogance.

Much was made of his trademark raising-of the-eyebrow. Many times in jest or mockery but even more times with affection. Granted, he wasn’t a Laurence Olivier or an Alec Guinness; his brand of thespian talent residing in that of the matinee idol and not that of the method actor absorbed in the intricacies of Stanislavkian technique.

His most ‘serious’ role was his well-received performance in the 1970 film entitled ‘The Man Who Haunted Himself’. But his calling was decidedly in light comedy and adventure roles through which he carved out his long-to-be-remembered roles as ‘Simon Templar’, ‘Lord Brett Sinclair’ and ‘James Bond’.

He will also be remembered for his role as an ambassador for the United Nation’s Children’s Fund, a role which he took very seriously and one in which he expressed a great deal of pride. This compassionate side of the man was a longstanding one which led to him receiving a knighthood for services to charity.

Roger George Moore KBE was born on 14 October 1927 and died on 23 May 2017

© Adeyinka Makinde (2017)

Adeyinka Makinde is a writer based in London, England

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Schadenfreude - Why Putin is Laughing

Vladimir Putin

Vladimir Putin is probably laughing his head off.

The current Russian-centred imbroglio in the United States involving its Congress, its President and the hidden state, replete with ill-tempered verbal jousting and backdoor scheming has gathered a level of momentum many would suggest amounts to a state of impeachment fever.

Why might the president of the Russian Federation feel disposed to privately allow himself a chuckle at the present state of affairs in the United States? The answer lies in the not uncommon human capacity for schadenfreude.

The United States has consistently created mischief in countries bordering the Russian Federation and within Russia itself in order to put pressure on a state which unlike the one headed by Boris Yeltsin has not been inclined to bow to the foreign policy dictates of the United States which finds it intolerable for other nations to pursue an independent course in foreign relations.

The United States has sought to intimidate Russia by expanding the Nato military alliance close to its borders as well as by fomenting a so-called ‘Color Revolution’ in Ukraine between 2004 and 2005, a war with Georgia in 2008 and a coup d’etat in Ukraine in 2014. These were covert operations involving the use of proxies which included NGO fronts and neo-Nazi militias.

While Russia has been reactive rather than proactive in the various crisis around its borders, it is nonetheless clear that it has a national policy objective geared towards weakening American influence in Europe. It has provided varying degrees of support and encouragement for nationalist political parties in countries such as France and Hungary. This is widely believed to include financial support.

Parties such as the Front National and Jobbik are strongly anti-European Union. Russian animus towards the EU is hardly surprising given its view that the EU has been used as a tool by Washington as cover for United States aggression including the anti-Russian sanctions imposed by the EU over the Crimean Crisis; a crisis caused by the American-backed overthrow of the Yanukovych government which threatened Russia’s vital national security interests in regard to its Baltic Fleet based in Crimea.

Only a few could fail to understand if the Russian response to this catalogue of aggression was to back an American presidential candidate who was promising to improve relations between both countries. The question which has consistently exercised many in the United States is whether such support went to the extent of the provision of finance, cyber-hacking and even blackmail.

It is an issue often presented by the American media with an affectation of moral integrity that camouflages the unsavoury history of United States interventions in foreign nations using such means as electoral fraud, economic blackmail, political assassinations and the violent overthrow of governments.

The post-Soviet Russian state has been on the receiving end of electoral manipulation directed by the United States. An American-directed IMF “emergency infusion” of over ten billion dollars into the Russian economy re-routed a substantial amount of this sum into the coffers of the Western-backed lackey Boris Yeltsin who had been languishing with a single-digit approval rating in the run-up to the Russian presidential elections of 1996.

Yeltsin would win a disputed election during which the pro-Yeltsin team engineered a dirty tricks campaign that included  the use of disinformation and disruption tactics against the opposition.

The American media which is quick to chase the scent of any form of difficulties faced by the Kremlin and of dissent within Russian civil society is now contending with a daily news deluge of chaos in the White House intensified after the recent dismissal of FBI head James Comey by President Donald Trump.

Comey’s sacking, the resignation of Michael Flynn as national security advisor,open bickering between the president and the intelligence community as well as calls in congress for the appointment of a special prosecutor have at their root the question of supposed Russian meddling in the last American presidential campaign.

Observing the United States in turmoil over the Trump presidency, Putin could not prevent himself from making the following barbed comment over the recent allegation that Trump had revealed classified intelligence to visiting Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov:

We see that the United States has been developing political schizophrenia, this is the only thing I can think of when I hear allegations saying that the president has revealed some secrets to Lavrov

The still unproven allegations of Russian hacking during the American presidential elections as well as that related to Trump being compromised by a blackmail operation conducted by Russian intelligence only serve to confirm that the United States has plunged itself into a self-inflicted state of tumult.

The baleful westward gaze of the Russian sphinx described by Aleksandr Blok in his poem The Scythians might for a short time at least be replaced by a softer, wrinkly countenance suggestive of a smile.

It is a smile that reeks of schadenfreude.

© Adeyinka Makinde (2017)

Adeyinka Makinde is a writer based in London, England.

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Captain Robert Nairac - An Enduring Mystery

Robert Laurence Nairac, GC

May 15th 2017 marked the fortieth anniversary of the passing of British Army intelligence officer Captain Robert Nairac while serving on undercover duty during the Northern Ireland Troubles.

I suggested back in March that the narrative of Nairac’s activities in Northern Ireland would be presented in as polarized a manner as was the recent passing of former Provisional IRA commander, Martin McGuinness.

The British narrative I predicted would emphasize that he was a ‘tragic hero’: a brave and well-intentioned maverick soldier who might have become the Lawrence of Arabia of Northern Ireland. The Republican counter-narrative would cast him as a bloodthirsty adventurer at the helm of a number of loyalist death squads which committed the most heinous of crimes directed against the nationalist community.

Nairac, an officer of the Grenadier Guards, remains one of the few disappeared of the conflict whose remains have yet to be returned to their respective families for burial, in Nairac’s case one which would be according to the rites of the Roman Catholic faith into which he was born.

© Adeyinka Makinde (2017)

Adeyinka Makinde is a law lecturer with an interest in intelligence and security matters.

Saturday, 6 May 2017

France: A Nation's Conscience and the Question of Terror

The French presidential election being contested by Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen has provided analysts with much to ponder over the direction offered by two candidates who are presenting themselves to the electorate as non-establishment outsiders.

Points of demarcation over foreign and domestic policy often posit Macron and Le Pen respectively as  representing “internationalism” versus “nationalism” and of “centrism” against “neo-fascism”.

Elections also provide a platform for grappling with national existential anxieties. The French nation is one which is perennially involved in soul-searching; of presenting a rationale for its nationhood and the ‘mission’ it has within the global community of nations and cultures. Such soul-searching has included periods in history concerned with the ceding of global power and influence to the Anglo-Saxon nations, the experience of defeat and temporary occupation by Germany during World War Two, the loss of empire and more recently the impact on national identity of immigration from non-white and particularly Muslim lands.

One constant in these episodes of national meditation has been the matter of re-asserting pride in La Grande Nation. The restoration of national pride as well as the reassertion of national independence formed the backdrop to President de Gaulle’s resistance to the irresistible rise of the American empire which saw de Gaulle evicting Nato from its original headquarters in Paris, removing France from the military command hierarchy of the United States dominated Nato and maintaining a nuclear deterrence capability independent of America.

But Gallic pride has often blinded its people to facts and realities. For instance, the Gaullist-inspired narrative of the French Resistance having liberated France during the Second World War has been definitively exposed as a myth. It was pride and with the objective of underscoring her nationalist credentials that Marine Le Pen recently claimed that France was not to blame for the round-up and deportation of Jews during that war.

Her statement contradicted the 2009 ruling of a French high court which held France “responsible for damages caused by actions which did not result from the occupiers’ direct orders, but facilitated deportation from France of people who were victims of anti-Semitic persecution.”

The disconnect between national sentiment and reality continues to the present day.

While many French may wish to perceive themselves as an independent nation only somewhat impeded by obligations imposed by its membership of the European Union, the truth is that France has lost a great deal of control over its foreign policy.

For one, France’s decision under President Nicolas Sarkozy to reintegrate into all structures of Nato in 2009 has effectively put it under direct American influence. Far from representing, as Sarkozy put it, a “strengthening of our sovereignty”, France’s mutation to a certain kind of vassalage was exposed in the aftermath of the Ukraine crisis.

An American stage-managed coup d’etat on Russia’s border created the conditions for a Russian reaction -the annexation of Crimea- which was interpreted as Russian aggression; an act that warranted the imposition of sanctions.

The imposition of American-directed sanctions under the auspices of the European Union forced France to cancel a multi-billion dollar sale of warships to the Russians. Sanctions have also proved harmful to French agriculture. In early 2017, the former frontrunner in the presidential race, Francois Fillion declared the regime of anti-Russian sanctions to be “pointless”.

An exchange between Macron and Le Pen during the recent debate in the forthcoming presidential run-off also provides evidence of an inability on the part of many of the French to be self-critical and to appraise the realities of their subservience to external interests.

When Le Pen accused Macron of being weak in regard to the threat of Jihadists in the midst of the country -vowing that she would make France safer by expelling all foreign suspects- Macron, not unreasonably, responded by noting that a great many terrorists were in fact French and that France needed to examine its own conscience for letting that happen.

Much of the media viewed that as an own goal by Macron who was perceived to be making France as responsible for the situation as the terrorists. The public reaction was as unfavourable to Macron as was the reaction to his comments made earlier this year castigating France for its colonial history in Algeria which he described as a “crime against humanity”.

If the French are still resistant to the idea of acknowledging responsibility for facilitating the deportation of Jews and waging brutal wars in their colonial territories to suppress the right to self-determination, they appear equally resistant in present times in acknowledging their part in facilitating the United States-led wars of aggression in the era of the so-called ‘war on terror’.

After taking the lead in protesting the US-led invasion of Iraq which was accomplished under the false pretext of removing Saddam’s supposed weapons of mass destruction, France resumed a role of supporting the United States in a number of ill-fated military adventures which have only served to stir the cause of jihadism.

Even before Sarkozy re-integrated France into Nato’s military command structure, French troops served in Afghanistan. The French air force took the lead in bombing Libya to smithereens, in the process overthrowing Colonel Muammar Gaddafi and creating the circumstance of lawlessness that has allowed the country to be taken over by jihadi-supporting Islamists as well as becoming the staging post for invasions of swarms of migrants heading to parts of Western Europe including France.

The war in Syria has provided the impetus through which the numbers of homegrown Jihadists has expanded as well as enabling an increase in the numbers of European-bound refugees. Yet, many refuse to acknowledge France’s part in this self-inflicted crisis.

The revelation in 2013 by Roland Dumas, France’s former foreign minister, that the war in Syria was the result of an operation which was pre-planned by Western intelligence agencies provides a great deal of illumination.

While France may have been the dominant colonial power in Syria, its interest in overthrowing the secular government of Bashar al-Assad is not readily apparent. If an argument can be made that French policy is based on following the dictates of its ally, the United States, an equally persuasive argument can be made of French policy toward the Middle East being framed by the needs of the state of Israel.

As Dumas related, “In the region (i.e. the Middle East), it is important to know that this Syrian regime has a very anti-Israeli stance...and I have this from the former Israeli prime minister who told me “we’ll try to get on with our neighbours, but those who don’t agree with us will be destroyed.”

The influential French Jewish umbrella organisation CRIF is implacably opposed to the government of Syria. In 2008 it denounced a decision by then President Sarkozy to invite Assad to National Day celebrations although at a 2012 dinner hosted by the organisation Sarkozy predicted that the regime of Assad would fall. Sarkozy, who would be publically critical of his successor Francois Hollande’s perceived weakness in failing to militarily attack Syria, was alleged to have been inspired to intervene in Libya by the French Zionist media intellectual Bernard-Henri Levy.

It was Levy who, before an audience of the first National Convention of the CRIF in November of 2011, claimed that “it is as a Jew that I participated in the political adventure in Libya. I would not have done it if I had not been Jewish. I wore my flag in fidelity to my name and my loyalty to Zionism and Israel.”

When bombs explode and bullets are fired during episodes of terroristic violence on French soil, anti-Muslim sentiment is ratcheted up while critical commentary related to the policies pursued by the French state which have arguably contributed to the cycle of violence is correspondingly suppressed.

But it was revealed in 2012 that France had funded Syrian rebels. It is clear that the overwhelming majority of militias described as rebel factions in Syria have an Islamist agenda. Many of those militias portrayed as ‘secular’ have close working arrangements with more overtly Islamist ones who in any case have consistently proved to be militarily stronger and in many documented incidents have acquired Western supplied munitions and equipment from other rebel factions whether consensually or by force. In 2014, President Francois Hollande confirmed that France had delivered arms to Syrian rebels.

Mohamed Merah, the alleged perpetrator of terror attacks in Toulouse and Montauban was believed to have been a double agent working for French intelligence. Merah was not the first or last Islamist apparently under the radar of French intelligence who nonetheless managed to leave and re-enter France with relative ease even after travelling to war zones or countries which are hotbeds of jihadist activities.

In November 2015, the Syrian Ambassador to the United Nations, Bashar al-Jaafri revealed that an attempt made two years earlier by the Syrian government to share the names of French citizens fighting in Syria was rebuffed by the French authorities.

The truth is that France has slavishly followed the United States-led policy of using Islamist insurgents as proxies in overthrowing secular Arab regimes. In doing so, France has been complicit in providing the cover used by the United States to intervene in the affairs of Muslim nations which in turn has provided the circumstances through which many young Muslims have been radicalised into becoming terrorists and jihadist insurgents. These wars have also contributed to an increase in refugees from those affected nations.

The institution of anti-terrorism laws covering state-sanctioned surveillance of citizens as well as the curtailment of freedoms through the evolution of a perpetual state of emergency have arguably effectively brought the republic to an end.

France’s resolute support for intervention in Syria does not come with the promise of any substantive political or economic benefits. While some among the French elite view it as a recolonisation project that will reassert French grandeur in the region, the proceeds to be obtained from the destruction of Syria will be largely acquired by other state actors including Israel which has claims on Syrian territory and is also anxious to profit from economic opportunities in the eastern Mediterranean.

The largely negative response to Emmanuel Macron’s call for the French to examine their conscience once again demonstrates a recurring blind spot in a nation with a historical predilection for self-examination, and the costs to its national interests are all too apparent.

© Adeyinka Makinde (2017)

Adeyinka Makinde is a writer based in London, England.

Thursday, 4 May 2017

My views on the Syrian Conflict: An Invitation from the British Labour Party

I recently dispatched a circular to a range of persons and organisations including one blind copied to the parliamentary email address of Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the British Labour Party. Sent in the aftermath of the furore over the reported chemical attack in the Syrian city of Idlib, it was a reminder about the genesis of the conflict.

Last week, I unexpectedly received a response from one Dominic of the Membership and communications section of the party inviting me to contribute to the party’s policy forum. The email emanated from Corbyn’s official email address.

What I found striking was that the response did not bear any trace of what I presumed to be Jeremy Corbyn’s position. Dominic, who did not give his surname, appeared to trot out the mainstream media claims of atrocities by Russia, Iran and Hezbollah in Aleppo and takes as a given that Syria committed an atrocity in the city of Idlib.

When Dominic writes about bringing to account those “who have committed terrible crimes in Aleppo and elsewhere”, one wonders whether he is aware of the irony of his words given the dubious legal basis of the involvement of Western powers in Syria including that of Britain. Does he consider Nato actions which have caused civilian deaths in both Syria and Iraq such as relating to the village of Mansoura and Mosul to be war crimes or merely “collateral damage”?

And when Dominic moralises about not allowing those who have committed war crimes to “escape with impunity” and is insistent that “there must be a day of legal reckoning”, is he aware of the irony of those words given the fact that last November, Labour Party MPs turned out in force to vote against a parliamentary motion for Tony Blair to be held to account for misleading Parliament over the Iraq war?

The National Policy Forum, a body charged with overseeing policy development, was itself set up by Tony Blair as part of what was termed the “Partnership in Power” process.

It is, according to Dominic, open to hearing ideas from ordinary members of the public including non-party members.

My circular:

From: Adeyinka Makinde <
Sent: 10 April 2017 18:33:35

Subject: Syria - A reminder of the genesis of the conflict

Dear all,

As tensions rise after the alleged chemical attack by the Syrian Arab Army in Idlib, here are two essays of mine which provide an explanation for the reasons behind the West’s desire to overthrow the government of Bashar Assad regardless of the consequence of turning Syria into a failed state along the lines of Iraq and Libya. The Destruction of Syria. Will Military Action put America and Russia on the Dangerous path of a Possible Confrontation? (2013) and The Syrian Tragedy: Western Foreign Policy and its ‘Useful Idiots’. (2016)

- Adeyinka

Adeyinka Makinde

The response:

Re: Syria - Areminder of the genesis of the conflict
Sent: Thu, 27 Apr 2017 15:09
From: Jeremy Corbyn
To: Adeyinka Makinde

Dear Adeyinka,

Thank you for contacting us about the situation in Aleppo/Syria.

Almost six years of conflict in Syria, and a devastating campaign waged by Syrian and Russian forces, have left thousands dead, destroyed hospitals and wiped out food supplies.

What is most important now is that we do everything we can to maintain the current pause in violence. The immediate priority should be to enable the peace talks to take place, and the ceasefire has to be observed for that to happen.

There are now estimated to be around 6.5 million people internally displaced across Syria, and there is an urgent need to ensure proper humanitarian support for those in need. If that support cannot be delivered by road, then Labour has called for the UK government to keep its promise and use airdrops as a last resort to get food, water, medical supplies and shelter to all those who so desperately need them.

The UK and others must use the end of the siege to re-engage in serious talks towards a political settlement in Syria, so that the appalling crimes we have seen perpetrated by Russia, Iran and the Assad regime in Aleppo are not repeated in Idlib or anywhere else.

Finally, at some stage there must be a process to bring to account all those who have committed those terrible crimes in Aleppo and elsewhere. Labour believes they must not be allowed to escape with impunity; there must be a day of legal reckoning.

Whether you’re a Labour Party member or not, we want to hear your ideas on how the net Labour government should tackle the challenges our country faces, and build a more equal and prosperous Britain. If you would like to take part in this policy making process, please visit

Best wishes,

Membership and Communications Unit
The Labour Party

Sent by email from the labour Party, promoted by Iain McNicol on behalf of The Labour party, both at Southside, 105 Victoria Street, London, SW1E 6QT Website: to join or renew call 0345 092 2299.

© Adeyinka Makinde (2017)

Adeyinka Makinde is a writer based in London, England.

Sunday, 30 April 2017

The Anthony Joshua-Wladimir Klitschko Fight

This was my facebook blog entry on the morning of the world heavyweight title contest between the Briton Anthony Joshua and the Ukrainian Wladimir Klitschko. While Klitschko is a vastly experienced former champion who has made more title defences than any other heavyweight champion in history save the great Joe Louis, Joshua is a relative neophyte. Klitschko went into the fight with 27 world title bouts behind him in contrast to Joshua having only fought a total of 18 professional fights.

The Anthony Joshua-Wladimir Klitschko bout is the biggest fight in Britain for many years. The fight which I most liken it to is Barry McGuigan’s successful world title challenge of Eusebio Pedroza’s version of the world featherweight title in 1985.

Where McGuigan was the poster boy of peace for the violent sectarianism of Northern Ireland, Joshua is the poster boy of ‘urban’ social mobility in 21st century Britain. The analogy arguably holds tight in the sense that although Joshua holds a version of the world heavyweight title, it was Tyson Fury and not Joshua who dethroned Klitschko. That, together with Joshua’s comparative inexperience, makes him a challenger of sorts.

Victory for Joshua -and a clear and divisive one at that- will mark a formal changing of the guard in heavyweight boxing in a way that Fury’s landmark victory should have been held out but which is now dimmed by the controversies that have followed him as well as his absence from the boxing scene.

No need for predictions, it’s just a question of getting out the popcorn, the beer or whatever takes your fancy and leaning back on the sofa to savour a most intriguing bout!

© Adeyinka Makinde (2017)

Adeyinka Makinde is a writer based in London, England.