The vaccine doesn’t only benefit those who have got it. For others who, for one reason or another, have suffered during 2020, news of the first rounds of care has been enough to provide a shot of much-needed hope.
Sam Kynoch is one of those who, on the cusp of the new year, feel optimistic optimism. Kynoch Boxing’s eponymous owner has had a terrible time, with the pandemic and related limitations ensuring that since February he hasn’t been able to run an event in Scotland.
This has had an effect not only on Kynoch, but also on hundreds of others whose livelihoods in this country rely on small-hall boxing; fighters, their coaches, physiotherapists, masseurs, reporters, ring girls, advertisers, workers at hotels and recreation centers, and many more.
As a trainer, Kynoch was able to take some of his fighters behind closed doors in England to television events – Hannah Rankin, for instance, fought for a world title – but that line of work has come to a complete halt as a promoter.
He hopes there will be a post-vaccination rush of events like never before, but warns that the preparations needed to arrange and promote his shows could mean that before boxing really gets going again in Scotland, it will not be until the spring or summer.
“It’s frustrating, the way things have gone, that we haven’t been able to get something organized for the end of the year,” Kynoch said.
But now we just have to look ahead. And there are signs that things are beginning to move forward, with the fact that the battle against Anthony Joshua has been let in by a small number of fans.
We may all look forward to the news of the vaccine with a little more faith. It could take a little longer, however.
We usually start the year with a Burns Supper event and then in February with a public exhibition, but I’m not going to do any of those because before each event there’s a lead time.
You have to schedule the boxers, you have to sell the tickets and all the rest, and it doesn’t happen overnight. Over the holidays, we will have to wait to see how things grow and then we will go from there.
Cost is another clear factor, especially with the British boxing authorities insisting on testing Covid for anyone involved in a fight.
Kynoch explained, “As long as the authority makes those rules in terms of covid testing, small indoor events will be a big financial burden.”
But I will recognize those conditions, whatever they may be, for the benefit of the boxers, whether it is reduced capacity or increased expenses. We just want to go back to business again.
The sight of soccer fans returning to stadiums in small numbers in some parts of Scotland also inspired Kynoch. And when he unveils his plans for 2021, he might take geography into account.
“I’ve got Dennis Broadhurst – who was due to make his debut this year – Trigger Wood and Kaseem Saleem, who are all from Dumfries, and we’d been considering putting on a show in Carlisle when it looked like England were going to open early,” Kynoch revealed.
So we would have to use the tier system, but only boxers from that area will have to be on the card if there is a travel ban.
“But it’s obviously a really fluid situation. And in eight weeks, for example, it makes it impossible to schedule a show in Dumfries, because there might then be an increase in cases in that area and you will have to switch to another stage. So it’s very hard to prepare something with confidence.
“I don’t want to commit to anything after such a terrible year that may not happen then. Now I am more averse to danger than I would usually be.
The continuous change in restrictions has made it impossible for fighters to be ready for a battle date that might never come. But it certainly helped to have some light at the end of the tunnel.
“Some of the guys clearly didn’t have the motivation to keep training through all of this, and there may be some who never box again,” Kynoch revealed.
But some have gone on toiling behind the scenes to make sure they are able. And the discussions that I’ve had lately with boxers have been more optimistic.
They can see that in the first half of 2021, things will get back to some normalcy, and that has given them a boost. March or April