This past weekend saw boxing fans around the world tuning in for Sergio Gabriel Martinez' title defense against Martin Murray. Originally the bout was scheduled for a late started though on the night it was brought forward by 2 hours due to a nasty storm that saw the ring, and the fans around it getting soaked. The setting wasn't great for a fight and with it being Martinez's first fight in Argentina in over a decade it certainly left a damp feeling for all those in attendance.
With the bout being televised on Boxnation we were just waiting for a mention of the now infamous bout between Jimmy Carruthers and Chamroen Songkitrat though sadly "boxing expert" (I use that term very lightly) Steve Bunce managed to not only not name the bout but also declare it occurred in Australia. Bunce however was wrong, the infamous bout took place in Thailand way back in 1954.
Going in to the bout Carruthers (then 18-0, 11) was the world Bantamweight champion and had been since beating Vic Toweel back in 1952. His challenger was Chamroen Songkitrat (then 6-1-1, 2) who was at home in the
National Stadium Gymnasium, Bangkok, Thailand.
Prior to the bout there had been a really serious storm (one that one would have made the fans in Argentina think twice) though over 60,000 people had made their way there in the hope that Songkitrat could become the first ever Thai boxing world champion.
Sadly for the fighters the storm had left the ring more like an ice rink than a boxing ring with the boots likely to slide on the canvas. Instead of calling the bout off Ring magazine founder Nat Fleischer, who had been invited there by the ruler General Pichai suggested that the bout should be fought barefooted.
The fighters not only had to fight barefoot but also experienced the nightmare of the light bulbs above them exploding and raining shards of glass on the two fighters in the ring.
Despite the genuinely awkward conditions Carruthers would retain his belt, then soon afterwards announce his retirement. Sadly his retirement lasted just 7 years before an ill fated comeback saw Carruthers scoring 1 win and losing 4 bouts as his record fell to 21-4 (13).
For Songkitrat, who put up a genuinely solid challenge despite the lack of experience he would fight on though lose in 3 of his subsequent 5 bouts including title bouts with Robert Cohen and Raton Macias before retiring in 1958 with a record of 8-5-1 (2).
This bout, to this day, still remains the only world title bout in the history of "the gloved era" to have been
Like Carruthers, the bout, in horrid conditions, really did suggest that it was time for Martinez to hang them up, hopefully, for the sake of his legacy he makes the right decision here.
In the United Kingdom we don't often see fights fought outdoors, sure it does happen occasionally but it's a rarity because of the "good old British weather". Oddly however our German cousins often have fights held outdoors and they almost always go off with out a hitch, however there is always the odd one that goes wrong.
Back just a few weeks ago, on September 14th veteran Timo Hoffmann (40-7-2-1, 23) was facing German youngster Steffen Kretschmann (16-2-0-1, 15) in an outdoor venue when the unthinkable happened...it started to rain. Now what exactly can you do when it rains at an outdoor venue?
If it's a little bit of rain you can probably, just about, get away with fighting a round or two, however when the ring gets slippery and the fights start to fall the bout then becomes a danger. This is sadly what happened in the Hoffmann v Kretschmann as the rain, although not terrible, was starting to make the ring worryingly slippery and twice forcing Kretschmann to fall to the canvas.
The early round were fought fine, as well the rest of the undercard, however in round 5 you could faintly hear the rain falling in and around the ring (in the video you can hear a "pit-pat" sound from midway in the fifth round). By the end of round 5 you see rain drops over the corner (look carefully at Hoffman's corner between rounds) and by the time they came out for round 6 the rain had become heavier and louder.
Within 20 seconds of the restart Kretschmann had slipped in the middle of the ring as the canvas had become almost like and ice rink, he'd slip again just 32 seconds later before the referee, Andre Leloup (who was now beginning to look soaked himself) decided that enough was enough and called an early ending to proceedings.
As a result of the rain the bout was ended in round 6 with the unusual outcome of "6 round no contest due to rain", perhaps a lesson, if ever one was needed, that boxing is often fought indoors for a reason.
The video below comes thanks to WBCA WM