The tough intimacy of boxing

Inside the ropes it’s you versus your opponent. There is no one else you need to focus on. The referee is there to ensure you and your opponent adhere to the rules and that you can safely compete. You only focus on him when he intervenes or stops the action. Otherwise, your primary focus is the other boxer.

It is the most non-sexual intimate situation one can ever experience. I describe this experience as one of tough intimacy. Because of its intimacy, boxing is both our cruelest and most poetic sport. The stark drama that occurs between two men in a ring with nothing but padded gloves between them has inspired artists of all stripes for generations, but its photographers whose art is particularly well positioned to capture the drama. Like other sports, it’s a game of tension while the audience waits for big, climatic moments. Unlike other sports where those moments may play out on f.e. soccer fields, boxing’s best moments can be easily immortalized with a single click of the shutter.