In an illuminating discourse with Forbes, Oleksandr Usyk, the esteemed WBA, WBO, IBF, IBO heavyweight champion and a visionary co-founder of the Ready to Fight boxing platform, delineates five pivotal reasons why boxers and industry professionals ought to engage with RTF:
1. The Challenge of Finding a Coach
For aspiring boxers, especially in areas lacking boxing facilities, locating a qualified coach can be formidable. A coach is far more than just a boxing instructor - they are mentors, strategists, and trusted advisors for the athlete.
I was fortunate enough to find such a mentor early in my career. I recall a training session where my first coach challenged my son and me with a task we believed was impossible. Our hesitation led him to teach us a valuable lesson: there are no impossible tasks, a point he drove home by having us spar for the remainder of the session.
This experience was one of my life's most enduring sparring sessions and underscored the importance of having a wise coach who imparts life lessons and boxing skills.
2. Vetting Agents and Managers
Due to poor management, the boxing world is rife with tales of potential squandered. Assessing the honesty and competence of likely managers and agents is a significant challenge, but it's a vital step in a boxer's career. This is why we at RTF place a heavy emphasis on this aspect.
3. Finding Suitable Sparring Partners
Matching up with the right sparring partners regarding skill level, boxing style, weight class, and training level is critical to a boxer's development. A boxer's growth and progress are significantly hindered without appropriate sparring partners.
4. Access to Sports Medicine
Even a minor misstep in a training regimen can have significant repercussions, either derailing a critical match or impacting a boxer's health. Providing athletes with access to top-notch medical support is crucial for their success and well-being. In today's digital age, the ability for athletes to connect remotely with sports medical professionals offers a timely and essential resource.
5. Engaging with Promoters and Sponsors
Identifying a proper promoter can be a daunting task for boxers. A promoter's decisions on fight locations and schedules can make or break a career. Similarly, navigating the complex world of sponsorships is challenging, particularly for those outside the limelight.
The Role of Industry Opinion Leaders:
In my view, boxing community leaders are responsible for exploring methods that enhance connections within the industry, boost transparency, and promote sponsorship opportunities. This proactive approach can significantly aid boxers in making informed decisions, contributing to their overall success. While the core spirit of boxing should remain intact, there is room for modernization in the surrounding framework.
As someone who has navigated these challenges, I believe there is immense potential for growth in the boxing ecosystem. We can no longer afford to waste an athlete's talent due to avoidable barriers. It's time to usher boxing into the 21st century, not just for the sake of the sport but for the fighters who breathe life into it. This is the vision at the heart of Ready To Fight.