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SOCIAL MEDIA – THE POSITIVES AND NEGATIVES FOR BOXING

By Mark Dormer – We find ourselves in the third article of the series and am truly amazed at the level of discussions and debates that have already been created. We are now in an era where it has never been so easy for a fan to follow the sport. With just one click of a button, we can look up the majority of boxers we want to follow, know immediately what belts they have, what fights they have won and of course what they have lost. More amazingly than that, we can interact with them on a very social level. Before social media, this wouldn’t have been an option. How did fans be fans? How were fans able to follow the boxers and gain information about them? How easy was it to know when fights were taking place and where? Up to now, we have some great responses from the fans and also more to come.

Over the course of this week, we will be discovering how some of our most well-known boxers use social media to better engage with their fans but also deal with the ever-present effect of negative trolling. We will also be hearing from their fans, and learn how social media has altered how they follow the sport and their favourite stars.

The third instalment of the week sees us speaking to GB athlete, ABA Champion, Three Nations Gold Medallist, GB Champion, 4 x multi-nations Champion, 2 x NABC Champion, Jordan Reynolds. Our fan for the day is boxing fan/amateur boxer (19-1), George Rodriguez. 

Bout-15-75kg-GB-No-1-Seed-Ben-Whittaker-RED-beat-GB-No-2-Seed-Jordan-Reynolds-UNAN-5.jpg

Jordan Reynolds

(Twitter: @reynoldsboxing)

Q1. I think most people would agree that social media platforms have created a far more open and visible relationship between fighters and their fans, but would you say that this is always a positive, and why?

Jordan: I think these days it’s a big thing, it gives people an insight to what you are going through and what you’re doing, they can follow you. Like other things, they know what your into, what music you are in to, when you go to the gym and how much time you’re putting into work. It’s definitely a positive, always a positive. These days everyone knows everyone as well through social media. Back in the day they didn’t have all this internet stuff so you didn’t know hardly anyone. But yes definitely a positive and a good way to build your profile up and get yourself out there.

Q2. Do you feel that the pressure to engage with fans on social media can have an effect on how you train, or recover from training? For example, in the day leading up to a fight would you feel pressurised to respond to messages instead of focussing and relaxing?

Jordan:  There’s no pressure really, I don’t feel no pressure I just keep it natural and be myself and just post when I can. I make sure I just be myself, I’m not going to go out my way, start a session and then go home and start on the bags for Instagram or for Twitter, I would never over do it. Maybe some people would get pressured into it. I feel that Eubank Junior does if I’m honest. It’s a nice way to interact. It’s hard to say thank you to everyone, but with social media it kind of gives you time to say thank you to everyone.

Q3. Social media not only allows fans to pass on positive comments, but also an unprecedented ability to troll a fighter with negativity. Have you ever felt that this has affected you in any way, how, and how do you deal with it?

Jordan: You are always going to get haters on there, I always think to myself if you’re not getting no haters or anyone sticking the nose in, you’re not doing your thing right. You’re always going to get people who don’t want to see you do as well as them. We all get it, I just block them or just have some banter with them and then block them. There’s no time for negativity.

Q4. We have seen and increasing number of fight negotiations being made public on social media platforms. Do you feel that this is good practice, and do you think it helps or hinders the negotiations process?

Jordan: It’s a great way to make fights, a lot of people, they say ‘oh he wants to fight me’ or ‘I want to fight him’ behind peoples back. With social media, if they both have good followings, they can put it out there and you’re not really hiding it then. It’s good to get fights made and people can see who really wants to fight who. Some people do fake it. It’s a starting platform and you see a good few fights are made through Twitter.

Q5. Finally, overall, would you prefer to have fought in an era that social media didn’t play such a pivotal role in boxing?

Jordan: You know me, I wish I was born in that era anyway, everything was better back then, even probably the boxers, obviously not as technical as us but it was very ‘blood, sweat and tears’ back in the days. Now it’s a business, back then it was like, if you fought, the best was the best and number one would fight number two and things like that. There’s so many paper belts and Mickey Mouse belts now, but yes and no, I’m kind of  sitting on the fence there really. It is good these days because it is a business and you can live through social media. But back in the day it was a lot harder.

Our third boxing fan we speak to this week is

4-U_JjAC_400x400.jpgAmateur boxer (19-1) George Rodriguez

(Twitter: @Rodriguez_RPM)

Q1. I think most people would agree that social media platforms have created a far more open and visible relationship between fighters and their fans, but would you say that this is always a positive, and why?

George: Overall this is a massive positive for both the fighters & the fans. The exponential growth of social media platforms within the last decade has created a way for the fans to interact & gain an additional insight into the fighters. Such a developmental step in our sport can only further encourage an increase in boxing fans & those actually entering the profession, whether as a fighter or within the means of another respected role & I can most definitely vouch for this myself with the additional of motivation in my participation levels as a former white-collar & now amateur boxer. The greater exposure that social-media has given us all within boxing to me has to be the greatest beneficial factor out all & is becoming integral to the further development, growth & popularity of our sport.

Furthermore & secondary to my point of origin, fighters are now given a voice to air their opinions & expose tactical/strategic information. This is of course used primarily with the intention to benefit the fighters respective career; prime/recent example would be Phil Lo Greco’s online antics & goading of Amir Khan, which eventually/consequently resulted in the capture of the fight & his largest purse to date, only as a result of such strategic use of social media. While he was unable to even be competitive in the bout (as long as it lasted), he was still able to attain a great sum of money & further his wealth. Without the means & usage of social-media, Lo Greco would not have even been considered for the bout…

However, while the positive results of social-media in boxing far out-way the negative issues, it still is necessary to highlight how social media can be interpreted as being used in a negative or harmful light. My chosen example for this would be Adrien Broner & his recent comments/exposure of a three-fight-deal with Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing & his newly announced streaming partners DAZN. IMO this brought some positive response & may benefit AB in a way but I feel it was plain to see the negative connotations far out-way those of the positives. Usage of controversial text & overall representation of what exposing a private document does for his ever-increasing bad rep. It also allows & increases separation in views & tensions between rival fans, as it allows debate… For the record, I felt it was a more than fair opening offer to acquire his position as a fighter in Eddie Hearn’s stable & on the DAZN platform.

Finally, It still does, however, remain clear to see that social media has helped to evolve the sport of boxing and help expose the sweet-science to a greater (worldwide) audience. Also helping the fighters get the bouts they want & increase their individual opportunities.

Q2. In your opinion, would the way a boxer interacts with their fans through social media influence your opinion of them? For example, are you more likely to follow closely a boxer who is more prevalent on a social media platform than not, regardless of any other factors?

George: From my personal aspect no. While social-media can easily become a distraction (as it could for anyone) I’m at a stage which I have a minimal presence & I feel I’m in no need as of yet to point more focus onto the social-media aspect. I feel as though if I want to make the decision to dramatically further progress my career a turn possibly professional then I would need to apply more focus & become tactical with my usage of social media. Interaction on social-media, ‘pre’ & ‘post’ training I find enjoyable & communicating with those who support me gives me great satisfaction (This could very well change).

Q3. Social media not only allows fans to pass on positive comments but also an unprecedented ability to troll a fighter with negativity. At what point do you feel that a fans constructive criticism turns into blatant negative trolling or even bullying?

George: Nowhere near to the extent of many seasoned pro’s but I’ve had my fair shake. I’ve been heavily doubted for my ability by numerous fans & even had some ‘beef’ with other well known & not so well known fighters.  I enjoy it personally, I gain great satisfaction from the hate, it only motivates me more & honestly I find it rather funny as I don’t get offended easily.

Q4. When we look at the build-up to fights, social media has become instrumental in creating a hype to help sell the fight. Looking back at the super fights over the last 18 months, do you think it would have been possible to fill the likes of Wembley and Principality with 90,000 fans without the use of social media?

George: I feel it’s clear to see that fight negotiations have become more of an ever-present feature on social-media platforms. It can both hinder & help the process, in some cases even facilitate those negotiations. The usage of the platforms to discuss fights which would normally be held behind closed doors can have its benefits & dramatically ‘speed-up’ the entire process as you could interpret the published demands of $50 million from AJ on IFL TV which was actually met with a legitimate response from Al Haymon’s team. However, IMO the negotiations of bouts should remain in the privacy of the promoter & managers as well as the fighters themselves, social media has proven to only complicate & hinder/stall those contractual talks, which for the best part has hindered the Joshua vs. Wilder talks. Furthermore, these releases of information on social media again increase divide with the fans again further confusing negotiations. While saying this I have been able to secure verbal agreements for bouts & create opportunities for myself thanks to social-media, Alright Tom Farrell mate???!!!

Q5. Imagine that you lived in a time without social media. Do you feel that you would follow the sport as closely as you do now? Do you think that your choice of favourite fighters would differ without the increased visibility that social media brings?

George: Simple answer, NO! When used strategically the Intelligent fighter can increase their reputation & value as a commodity & should only be seen as a tool with the ability to enhance your career as a competitor, we’ll always have the negative in with the positives but I feel that the fighter & legends of the past would have begged for such exposure to themselves & more importantly the sport we love.

Thank you to both Jordan and George for allowing us this time! Tomorrow’s article see’s us talking to former WBO World Champion, former undefeated 2 x World Champion Kickboxer, Chris Algieri as well as Canelo superfan Laura!

Here is Part One & Part 2 in case you missed them

2 comments on “SOCIAL MEDIA – THE POSITIVES AND NEGATIVES FOR BOXING

  1. Pingback: SOCIAL MEDIA – THE POSITIVES AND NEGATIVES FOR BOXING – TOPCLASSBOXING

  2. Pingback: SOCIAL MEDIA – THE POSITIVES AND NEGATIVES OF BOXING – TOPCLASSBOXING

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