email@example.com (Chris McKenna)
Boxing continues to fight on as the sport waits for normality to return.
The promoters who have returned with fights behind closed doors need to be commended.
Especially when it would have been easy to chuck the towel in on what is an almost thankless task.
The fighters are probably the most appreciative considering they are able to ply their trade in a sport so reliant on fans when there are none.
But the fact there is even live boxing at the moment is a success story in itself.
Daniel Dubois was the latest to headline a behind-closed-doors show on Saturday night within the sanitised BT Sport studios.
There is little doubt it was a mismatch with Dutchman Ricardo Snijders considering the visiting fighter touched the canvas four times in a bout which lasted just 200 seconds.
All week in the fight hotel, Snijders looked like a man who wasn’t fussed about facing arguably the brightest prospect in heavyweight boxing.
There were no signs of fear about taking on someone who is already creating big interest because of his frightening power.
But in the silent studio it seemed to suddenly dawn on him that he was being sacrificed as the 15th victim of the man promoter Frank Warren one day hopes will be a heavyweight god.
Snijders already looked every bit of the two stone lighter he was but, when the towering Londoner was standing in the opposite corner, the Dutchman seemed to shrink even more.
A late replacement who was brave enough to step up when given the chance in his 20th professional fight but, in those few seconds before the bell, he must have really wondered what he was thinking when he agreed to it.
The feeling wouldn’t have subsided once Dubois trudged across the ring towards him.
Nor when those crippling body shots lashed in and every smack could be heard in the venue with a handful of people wincing and wondering how many more times he could rise.
Tyson Fury watched on no doubt well aware of what was unfolding in front of him.
A keep busy fight ahead of a much bigger showdown with Joe Joyce. Did anyone really expect Dubois to be in against a threat to his unbeaten record?
Fury has had his nights like this on his way up.
Dubois looks to be on the right path even if we didn’t get to learn much about him from this.
The Joyce fight will tell us so much more and it is one of the many reasons boxing is in desperate need for supporters to return.
There is a bunch of a highly-talented young heavyweights floating around while those at the top are on course for huge nights but none of those will happen without fans.
Back in Stratford, boxes were ticked on what was an enjoyable night of boxing even if the main event was one-sided.
A fighter was happy to get a training camp behind him, go through the motions of fight week and the night, getting to knock a few cobwebs off -if not them all – and, most importantly to him, getting paid.
A broadcaster got a fight to show on a Saturday night with a talent they hope will one day be a pay-per-view monster and they will be happy with the numbers who tuned in and those who stayed on after watching the Community Shield.
While a promoter got some rising stars paid and moving up rankings.
Job done for Warren after a busy few weeks of bringing boxing back.
Much like it was for Eddie Hearn’s Fight Camp. Fighters paid and happy while a broadcaster got to offer its subscribers some live sport at a time it is not plentiful.
Could it all have been better? Of course.
But how long can all of this go on?
The costs are high, even if Hearn turned to pay-per-view to prop up his Fight Camp finale.
Boxers’ purses may not be as big with no crowds but they still have a few zeroes.
While between all four major promoters in the UK the estimated cost of COVID-19 testing comes to around the £200,000 figure.
It is a necessity in these times but that is almost a quarter of a million that has slipped away from a sport where those kind of figures really make a difference.
The old cliché that has been trotted out too many times in recent weeks is that football is nothing without fans.
But boxing really can’t survive without supporters for too long.
The promoters will plough on for now though with the next wave of shows just around the corner in September .