Boxing: Scott lands senior IBO role

International Boxing Organisation Asia-Pacific vice-president Steve Scott: ''Basically, what...
International Boxing Organisation Asia-Pacific vice-president Steve Scott: ''Basically, what people need to understand is that boxing is equally a business and a sport.'' Photo by Linda Robertson.
He might not be throwing punches, but Dunedin man Steve Scott will certainly be pulling strings in the boxing world.

Scott (54) is the new International Boxing Organisation Asia-Pacific vice-president, a job he will mostly do from Dunedin.

His role involves supervising any fights, organising titles and ensuring boxers progress through the ranks and into a position to fight for a world title.

Scott, who was born in Australia but has a Kiwi father, also hopes to bring a few IBO fights to New Zealand, and said when asked if Forsyth Barr Stadium was an option, ''You never know.''

With 32 years' experience in boxing, Scott brings a wealth of knowledge to the job.

After hanging up the gloves in his early 20s, he did a stint as a corner man before trying his luck as a trainer when he was 26.

He trained Australian boxer Emmanuel Otti to an IBF super-middleweight title fight in 1987, which he lost to South Korea's Chong-Pal Park.

''I was doing a bit of judging and refereeing at the time . . . I got told that I was either a trainer or an official, not both,'' Scott said.

He gave up training and eventually judged and refereed 26 world title fights, including a fight between Thailand's Samson Dutch Boy Gym and Filipino Rolando Pascua in Phrae, North Thailand.

''There was an election coming up, so a local politician put the fight on, paid for everything and said to the people in the town that they could come for free.

''So there was literally 150,000 Thais crammed into a soccer field. You could just see seas of people . . .

''The supervisor said to me before the fight, `Do not make a mistake, we will not get out of here alive'.''

After stopping the fight in the ninth round and handing the Thai victory, Scott walked to the changing rooms.

''Pascua saw me and started running up to me. I thought he was going to hit me. He threw his arms around me and said, 'Thank you sir, thank you, he was killing me, I thought I would die, you saved my life'.''

Scott most recently judged Australian Will Tomlinson's IBO super-featherweight title win over South Africa's Malcolm Klassen last year, and Shane Cameron's IBO cruiserweight title loss to Danny Green in Melbourne in 2012.

For those who criticise boxing for its confusing structure at the top level and number of one-sided fights, Scott has a simple message.

''Basically, what people need to understand is that boxing is equally a business and a sport.

''Obviously, if a guy wins a title, he wants to defend that against the easiest opponent possible. That's when you find there are mismatches. Just like two kids having a fight at the park - one can fight and one can't.

''People think it's a farce, but it's only because fights are hyped up for the wrong reasons.''

Despite the increasing popularity of mixed martial arts and other forms of fighting, boxing was still growing, Scott said.

''The numbers are certainly still there, especially in New Zealand in the heavier weights . . . not so much in the lighter weights. There's not many 45kg guys running around wanting to fight.''

While Scott rated Joseph Parker, he warned it would take world heavy weight champion Wladimir Klitschko to retire to open up the division.

''At this stage it [Parker's future] looks bright. But, unfortunately, the way the heavyweight division is geared, he's kind of between a rock and a hard place. He's certainly not going to meet Klitschko in his next 15 fights.

''Parker's size is going to be his problem as well. If he was fighting 30 years ago with Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier, he would be the same size as them, but Klitschko has got six inches [10cm] on him, and some weight. It's like fighting a guy a third bigger than you.''

- Robert van Royen


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