Coronavirus crisis: the boxing world reflects - part 4
Sonia Randev & Luke G. Williams
Photo: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images
How are members of the boxing community worldwide coping with the Coronavirus crisis? In the fourth of a new series, Boxing Monthly hears from Terri Harper, Conor Benn, Hannah Rankin, Jennifer Charlton and Shannon Courtenay...
"I'm gutted that my fight is off but everyone’s health comes first. We were on a roll in camp, settling into the southpaw sparring, weight coming down, fitness increasing. All I know is I’ve now got more time to get myself physically and mentally prepared for the fight (whenever it does happen).
"Financially I’ve been quite lucky, having fought recently in February I’ve got all my purse money saved. We’ve just bought a house though so having to be careful what we’re buying for that until we go back to normal. Also I’m helping family members out as much as I can who are struggling financially, like my dad who’s self employed and can no longer work. Boxing will definitely survive the aftermath, there’s no doubt. Boxing fans all across the world are missing the boxing. There were so many great fights coming up and cancelled last minute. Once it’s safe to do so, the sport will be full steam ahead!
"I hope everyone is keeping themselves safe. My message is: stay positive, make sure you get your daily exercise in as I’ve found this has been a massive thing for me mentally in these sad times. Try to keep a routine, and take each day one day at a time!" - Terri Harper, WBC super-featherweight champion
"I am still training hard and doing what I can to stay active and stay in shape. I can’t see this as my time off- I can't be there drinking or eating badly I need to keep in shape! It's hard but it's what I have got to do. I am running outside, shadow boxing-doing anything and everything I can to keep my mind in a good pace. I will be ready as soon as this period is over to get out there and fight a big fight if needed. I am staying focused.
"Financially I have always tried to keep myself on a sound footing as you never know what is around the corner in boxing-a defeat or whatever. I always put money aside and (hopefully) made wise investments here and there. Thank God for the wisdom my parents instilled in me. And of course I am grateful for my sponsors who are key in this moment and help me put a roof over my head. Of course boxing will survive. After all this is over the atmosphere [at events] will be incredible. Most fight nights are rowdy already and after this I think everyone will just be happy to be back supporting their favourite fighters and the sport as a whole.
"My message to my fans is keep safe. And stay blessed. Thanks for all your support before, and through this tough time now. I promise once I get back on the ring you will see something special. But the most important thing is to stick together and get through this together. We need to support one another now so we can enjoy those fight nights in the future. - Conor Benn, welterweight contender
"I'm a boxer and a musician so I'm completely self employed. The Coronavirus has meant that all my work got cancelled within a week! I’m busy setting up online training options and teaching my music students via Skype from home to try and have an income coming in. Also there is no fight date on the horizon which feels strange as I’m normally very active. So mentally I’m just trying to stay focused and positive and keep up the training so that I’m ready to go when we do start getting back to normal.
With regards to my dad and sisters, so far they are safe as they are pretty isolated on the farm at home and Emz is in NZ but I did have to make the decision not to go home just in case as I wouldn’t want to carry the virus back there from London. But I am of course worried about all of them, especially my grandparents who are all self isolating to avoid getting ill. - Hannah Rankin, former unified middleweight title challenger
"My three children and I are now in isolation at home. we are not ill but think the government is not action quick enough to lockdown, I have been preparing for this for the last three weeks. My full-time college course continues now from home which is proving difficult trying to home school three kids. I am also self employed. I dropped my hours initially to allow me the flexibility to do the boxing and motorsport photography to build up the business and invested heavily in photography equipment believing I for once have found something I am truly destined to do. I love it so much and I had to give it my best shot as life is short.
"Many others I have met through boxing are the same and like me are still not making any money at it yet but we are so dedicated and passionate we have taken the risk. I am now in the position where my self employed work has stopped (no boxing, bike racing or as a cleaner as all my customer are either over 70 or at home from their work now not needing me).
"I have debts from being a single mum for ten years and have no family support as my dad just passed away 12 months ago. Basically I am terrified and so worried for everyone else I know. Praying we can all build it up again and stay healthy." - Jennifer Charlton, boxing photographer
"I actually had two fights lined up which is frustrating, one in April and one in May. I’m still training, I’m not training like I would before a fight but I’m still ticking over just to keep me positive and professional, basically as well as keeping physically in shape, I’m trying to keep mentally in shape too, which I think in an uncertain time like this is very important.
"If you don’t fight, you don’t get paid. Like I said I had two fights coming up so financially I’ve taken a hit by losing out on two purses in the space of two months basically, but I’m very blessed and fortunate that I have very loyal sponsors in Toureen Group, FMS recovery, Alsford Timber and Dixon Flooring who are still financially supporting me through these awful times, I’m very blessed to have them.
"Obviously no sports are going on at the moment, it’s not just boxing, it’s football, it’s cricket, it’s rugby, it’s golf, it’s everything so boxing's not the only one that’s missing out and I actually think that once this is all over, boxing will be booming again because people have missed out on so much and they can’t wait to see the fights happen again.
"A quick message to my fans - thank you so much for continuously supporting me through this awful time and please please please listen to the Government, stay at home, stay safe, look after your loved ones and the sooner we all do abide by the rules and stay at home, the sooner we can get over this awful virus and we can all go back to normal, back to work, back to boxing! Stay safe and God Bless!" - Shannon Courtenay, super-bantamweight contender