Eddie Holloway fight fan - by Pete Moscardi

Eddie Holloway (64) is a dyed-in-the-wool boxing fan – and has been since he was around 19. Eddie’s first memory of boxing was as an 11-year-old in Mufulira in the then named Northern Rhodesian Copper Belt. “One day I was watching a trainer take some kids through their paces and I was hooked from that moment on. The next day I joined a local boxing club where I was trained by Ray and Tommy Baird,” he recalls Eddie was a dedicated participant at the Baird’s club until emigrating to the RSA in 1961. Having both boxed himself – and being a devout fan of the sport – it was interesting to engage him in conversation on his favourite subject. So often we get the views of the boxers, trainers, officials and promoters drummed into us, but seldom do we take the time to sit and garner a perspective of the sport from a genuine boxing fan.

Today Eddie is the owner and chairman of a company he started back in 1981.
Called Holbay International, the company, which is based in Berario in Johannesburg’s northern suburbs, is a wholesale supplier of corporate goods. “My
business involves a lot of travelling to various parts of the globe and I have lost count at the number of times I have been to China,” he says.

Eddie says that today he is an armchair fan and watches as much as possible on TV. “I used to go to the fights regularly to watch the likes of Jan Kies, Spider Kelly, Gielie Buitendag, Jimmy Richards etc. In those days the venues of choice were either the Ellis Park tennis stadium or the Wembley Arena. There were no casinos around at that ime. The main promoter in Johannesburg was Dave Levin and he put on some good shows,” he recalls. While Eddie Holloway believes that today’s
boxing has improved from the times of the ‘70s and 80s when he was attending the fights, there are several factors he would like to see changed.

“I have a philosophy which maintains that boxers are the bravest of the brave and they need to be nurtured to a greater degree than, say, tennis players or golfers. A tennis player can lose a match and that has little impact on his career. But if a fighter loses a fight – particularly if it is a bad loss, this can impact negatively on his career. Therefore I do not like to see fighters put to any unnecessary risks. I would like to see boxers’ seconds be more circumspect in their use of water and ice in the corners. Very often you will see a fighter come out for a round with ice dropping out of his shorts onto the ring canvas. And also you will often see water
poured over a fighter in his corner, leaving the ring canvas dangerously wet and slippery. Why can’t they introduce a drip tray such as is used in the Olympics?” he suggests.

Another factor which is of concern to this avid fan is the late stoppages of fights. “I do believe that seconds should sometimes show more concern for the welfare of their boxers. I have, too often, seen fighters take unnecessary punishment and get pushed out to fight round after round when they have no chance of winning. It would do no harm if, on occasions, a greater display for the welfare of fighters were displayed by their cornermen,” he opines.