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Benji Watt - boxing

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[00:00:00] This program is brought to you by pride [00:00:04] My name is Benji or Benjamin watch. I'm 22 years old turning 23 in June or cycling married in June as well. I am a boxing judge the youngest one in the world and the first gay one in New Zealand. I'm also the I'm also the second person to be the box editor for box Rick for New Zealand and I'm at the moment I'm the only one for New Zealand so yeah, [00:00:36] so what drew you to boxing? [00:00:38] Um, I've always liked to watch boxing, I just never really spoke about it because it was more of a like a personal interest and well, every time mentioned boxing people think like, Oh, it's aggressive and very masculine and stuff like that. And like a lot of the gay community like quite shunned upon upon stuff like that, like against sports and stuff that apart from like the beer community, they were into it. And like, I got really hooked into it when that first not first when I first watch my first boxing fight with David orifices Lennox Lewis. Ever since then, like it was kind of like an interest but it wasn't like a passion. And when I saw Shane Cameron Pfister's David tour, that's when I got hooked. And it wasn't saying, I've been quite passionate about and like, seen all the shows and pay per views and stuff like that. [00:01:35] So what what hope to [00:01:37] I don't know, it's just like one of those things that just created a spot out of nowhere and dislikes no penalty to slap you in the face is like, wow, you know, like, this is really good. And like going to these live events is like quite thrilling in my get very excited quite easily and stuff like that. [00:01:56] So yeah. And so are you boxing yourself? [00:02:00] No, no, no, I can't I can't talk. So I have played with the idea in my head about that. But I just thought to myself, like no, like, last year, I had like two concussions from like, falling off the deck at my house and, and like being in character, and in that problem that put me off for eight months last year, so if I had any more concussions, I probably be get brain damage. So this the idea of me boxing in the ring is not I played with the idea, but not sure anymore. And you're saying that boxing in the kind of gay community mystery scene is kind of closely aligned, or the gay community kind of shuns it in some way. How's it actually within the boxing community towards, say, Rainbow people? Well, boxing is a very male orientated masculine, lots of testosterone type sport, you don't really the idea of such as this, like, they don't clash with each other and cross paths. But every single boxing person that I've met her know that I'm gay, like me, I don't care. I do a good job. That's what counts. So they don't really have a problem with it, and which is good. And figures like in 2015, your funds quite open minded and stuff like that. I really like this is the occasional, like, tweet, tweet, because I'm on Twitter a lot. And I kind of have to be with my position on Twitter a lot gain contact with other boxes and stuff like that. And there's the occasional fans that get quite rowdy, you could say, but apart from that, there's not not really much of a problem. [00:03:40] So like in other sports at the moment, so like in cricket, whether as kind of, or in rugby league with is kind of sleeping and kind of homophobic remarks, either by players or things? I mean, do you find that in unboxing? [00:03:53] I'm not as far as I'm aware, this probably like this probably like some talk, like in the ring. Well, maybe at the press conference, but I don't think that she made it. Like majority of the boxes I met. I've met personally, so far. They're quite nice people. They're quite genuinely nice people. But as soon as you put a camera in the face or something like that, or microphone or whatnot, then the theatrics come out. And so as soon as the being at the press conferences and stuff like that, so what they say they don't really mean it is saying it and trying to create a reaction and stuff like that. Okay, [00:04:31] so it's kind of these larger than life persona type things. [00:04:33] Yeah. Like, the classic example is the brown butter being he's, he's a, you see him like with a lot of videos on Facebook, YouTube and whatnot. And he he, he's quite an asshole. But I've mentioned a couple times, and he's like, the nicest guy you can ever met. And like, a lot of people hate him, as well. So but yeah, he's quite a nice guy. [00:05:00] So the idea of kind of theatrics and persona that's all part of professional boxing. [00:05:05] Oh, yeah, there's this is a lot of people say that this boxing is break broke up into many sorts of ways is the boxing in the ring. This is the metrics before and after, and is the dodgy professional side. But but that I'm not really involved with. [00:05:24] So we're going to talk about a wee bit about how you came into judging, but I'm just wanting to follow that line of thought, like when you're ringside and you are judging, what are you looking for in like, I mean, if somebody throws a punch that you think all it's just that dodgy, I mean, can you make people down on it? [00:05:40] Um, well, this is what we're supposed to do. There's three rules that we're supposed to abide by its aggression. So that could be from like this guy doing a punching flurry or always stepping forward and stuff like that. This defense of fighters that kind of like Floyd Mayweather, which a lot people think, oh, he's running, stuff like that. He's a counter puncher. counterpart always looks for those opportunities, and just keeps on moving his head around. And he can get backed up, get good marks for that. And then there's like, the amount of punches output and stuff like that, those those I've gotten the JOK. Three. Well, so I like Islam. Other things that me personally, I always go for my gut feeling if I don't know, because there has been situations where I was like, Oh, crap, this has been really close round. And I don't, I have a strong rule that I don't do 1010 rounds, which is like the maximum box appear round can get, I don't mind nine, nine rounds, when there's a point deducted or there's been double knock down or something like that. But I don't, I don't like 1010 rounds. It's my pistol rule never to do that. So I'm always go for a gut feeling. If I can't call it then I feel this boxer has done properly. This is slightly better than the other book. So some of that. So yeah, that's how I kind of Judge unboxing. Right. Yeah. [00:07:08] So how do you learn to judge? [00:07:11] Um, well, how I go into it is actually through box, Rick. And as you know, the box Rick is the, what they call the Bible of boxing that has all each and every all the boxes, details, all the pro boxes, details. And the rankings, the actually very fair rankings as well. And I'm the editor of that on the New Zealand editor, which is was ridiculously hard to get as become the editor. But I'm happy being the editor. And again, a lot of spec for that. And my name goes everywhere for much. And I got my context for box rate to have a chat with Pat Leonard, who's the I think he's the president and longtime. He's definitely the awesome representative of the NZHP. Ba, and how they do things as they get you to do a shadow fight shadow judge, which is you come and watch an event for what a judge your own, like do your own scorecards OB unofficial, and he mocks you off with all the other justice and how he personally feels. And you have to do that three times. And if you do well, which is lot of people don't, then you become a judge, pet looked said that. I've got extraordinary talent, like cooling, making right calls. And he hasn't actually seen that with anyone before. Especially with my age. So yeah. And so yeah. As for like learning. That's how the training goes and see if you can do well. And then he probably have one on one chat with you if you don't do well. But I'm really just I've been watching boxing since I was eight, because that was the Dave toughest Linux last fight. I just got hooked into it since then. And I learned from that. And I kind of you know, picked it up a few things. So it was natural instinct. [00:09:13] So you kind of natural instinct and kind of gut reaction to what's happening in front of you. Yeah. [00:09:19] Yeah, that there's the really how I got into it. But the problem with judges like these days are aging judges. majority of them are 50 6070, even 80 year olds, they're doing the judge. [00:09:34] So when you're looking at potential new judges, what what what are the skills that needed to be a judge? [00:09:41] You need to be very focused and have a good eye. And like, we've got you have to be quite disciplined as well. Because like you go to these events and the extraordinary events and stuff like that you're not allowed to drink alcohol. It's like, yeah, that's my big role. It's even the President's big role. Don't drink don't do any drugs, obviously. While you're calling because that could affect you. Like for, for example, which the Mayweather Pacquiao fight has, it was my day off. I was watching and I wasn't caught admiring those scoring. But I was having a good time while scoring and giving my opinion and stuff like that, after watching the fight I fought are packing out, I should have one. But then after the next day I rewatch the and maybe it's a little bit of a draw. But there was such such a close fight as needed to watch it again. And maybe they came up by one round, in my opinion, [00:10:37] that idea of watching something the second time and getting a second chance to judge it. Have you done judging where you thought, you know, the next day, or actually, I made the wrong decision. [00:10:48] You ever had that from a live event? Fourth of may where there was free TV, so you can't isn't? It's very different. Because from watching it live, you see things that the cameras can't see. The cameras might go from different angles to different angles, but it's nothing like what you can actually see right right there. And you can actually probably feel almost feel the punches of how how they doing by this, how loud it is and stuff like that. And that is actually a big key to judging as well. Because it's like, you need to feel like well not feel it, but you need to actually feel the moment and stuff like that. [00:11:28] So what is that like being on ringside in being in front of a fight? [00:11:33] Well, there's been a couple moments where I wish I had umbrella. Because I'm actually I tell you about this event A couple of weeks ago, these two women were going really hard and one of them had a like a really blood nose and nose every punch. This is like this blood been everywhere. And well, I just wished I had was all across my table. And I had my laptop with me to four box Rick Rick senses like I had to keep on making the Dodgers for my laptop. So I don't have bloodwork right, so yeah. But um, I love being at ringside is a thrilling thing. Yeah. [00:12:11] Have you been the target of, you know, the audience reacting badly to the judgment? [00:12:17] Not yet. But this is very confident for me to say this, but I've never made a bad judgment when I was at a live event, even when, from a split decision. I've only had one split decision that went the other way. I still think that Michael was the right call compared to the other calls. However, that doesn't make vehicles this village. I feel Michael was the right one. [00:12:43] Boxes allowed to interact with the judges. [00:12:46] Oh, yeah, we but there's no bribes obviously. But everyone knows everyone that's very close. It's called the gay community. Everyone knows everyone and you know, as with by everyone, like everyone has, at least everyone wants [00:13:02] so many gay people in boxing in New Zealand, [00:13:05] not as far as I'm aware of, as far as I haven't actually met one yet. As far as I'm aware of in the boxing community on the first gay one, I could be wrong. I could be the first guy on at the current at this generation. But as far as I'm aware of I haven't met a gay boxer. [00:13:23] Is it something you would like to see more of more more gay people in boxing? Oh [00:13:30] I don't know. I didn't really put a thought torch but it'd be quite interesting to having a gay boxer. It reminds me of this movie actually. called the beautiful boxer which is which is a transgender MTF which is not actually boxing. It's actually I think it's more Thai or kickboxing, or its most high and it's Thai boxing, Thai kickboxing one of the 31234 and it was about a transgender TF doing and had makeup on and everything and great movies. Yeah. But yeah, I never thought about it [00:14:11] to you aware of boxing being held inside like the out games or I mean as a part of those kind of larger rainbow competitions. [00:14:20] I would be I don't know as it out games I'm not sure it would be good to have that okay, because that way it's like if our games come back to New Zealand I could actually be a part of it because half always wants to be a part of our games and of course the outcome each and every boxing from Pro to corporate to amateur they have to go through our sanctioning body will one of the two sanctioning bodies which I encourage the advertisement here, I encourage the out games committee if they ever come to back to New Zealand use the instant PPA as your sanctioning body for boxing. But um, yeah, I'd like to be a part of that out games for as a judge for boxing stuff like that. So [00:15:09] you mentioned right at the start that you're the youngest boxing judge in the world and also New Zealand's first gay boxing judge to want to be seen as either of those two things have you know in terms of people putting labels on you? Is it is it something that you want to be seen as [00:15:25] well? At the moment is quite exciting having those labels I think, at the moment like when you're doing something new, it's good to have labels that's like Wow, really thanks for these labels won't last long. Or maybe the first gay one that will last forever but the youngest one currently that won't last for long because there's always gonna be someone coming across coming along to be younger, but I label so exciting sometimes in my opinion. [00:15:54] What would be your dream fight? [00:15:55] Well, I've had like the idea of like, David to Earth This is Mike Tyson. That's one good one. I had a list of I actually did have a list but that was like the one that stuck to me. Also like, one day when Joseph Parker gets much bigger. He would I want him to fight Klitschko if Klitschko doesn't retire, but he'll be good match for Klitschko. I can't say Floyd fizzes Pacquiao and anymore because that's just happened and not a lot of people got disappointed from that because I wanted something more exciting but you know it's one defeats a fight of his aggressive fighter that was been to happen for any other dream fights A lot of people say mike tyson faces Muhammad Ali Of course will never happen because big generation gap but um, yeah, I think that's about my main dream for I suppose I'm George's pocket Cali me hand. Golly, me and David tour when they were both in their prime is not now because that old, which is harsh, the site but sure. I think that's about it. [00:17:09] Do you kind of think it's like a bit of a, like, a drug, like a bit of an addiction in terms of the, you know, the prestige and, and the kind of the glamour? [00:17:17] Well, its fame, in a way, it's another form of fame and stuff like that. So me personally, I wouldn't want to get hit in the face multiple times, like, once every three months or something like that, you know, to the end appropriate, it is a drug to them. And they it's a fiction, the career so yeah, I probably enjoy it. And yeah, it is the addiction. [00:17:42] And in terms of judging, I mean, is that a professional thing that you're doing? Or is it I mean, you're getting paid for it? [00:17:48] I am getting paid for it. But that's it. I'm still at the lower end of my career. So I'm not getting a lot. So at the moment is that hobby stage but I call myself a five year plan like I want so of course I'll start here in New Zealand and after gang steady pro fights on my about our to eventually make my way to Australia and get myself a judging license there. And then probably go from there to the UK, get my judges judging license with the British British boxing commission, I think it's called. And then eventually, maybe, maybe get a judging license and the stakes, one of the states because like each state has their own law and whatnot, most likely probably in New York, because that it says a New York, Las Vegas, or just Nevada, or California, but yeah, but um, I guess my dream job after that will probably be like a supervisor for like the WPA, [00:18:52] or something like that. And you're down in Wilmington, this weekend to judge [00:18:58] the WI be a woman's super bantamweight championship, which I'm here to see actually a New Zealanders actually part of that. But she's, she winds up the second woman from New Zealand to win a World Title. And I think it's the third New Zealand born World Champion, because the first one was in the 1920s. The second one was 2006, which was the first woman also the first woman to be World Champion with the IVF, which is actually not a lot of people know that. But it's such a massive deal. [00:19:36] Is there any difference between a male and the female fight? [00:19:41] Yes, there's a big difference. The woman fights, very underrated, then they don't get a lot of media and stuff like that. And I think if I had a goal in boxing is to make more woman fights and make it more prestigious and make people want to see one fighting. Like I gave the idea to like the super eight fit, they should be a super eight woman's total lunch. And they said that they would think about if there was a demand for it. But of course, that means no. So yeah. And also like this, an idea was my other idea of trying to if there was another It was probably bring like amateur boxing back into high schools, because you don't see that anymore. And it's a shame really, because boxing is a war. When you're at that age in high school, it's about discipline and, and stuff like that. So yeah. [00:20:38] In terms of judging when it comes to either fight or female fight, because you seeing it in exactly the same way, or are there differences? [00:20:46] I see it the exactly same way. The box Rick website, they see it differently, though, the woman's like itch. Since there's not a lot of women's boxes compared to the mailboxes. It's easier to rank higher, to get rankings quite quickly and the woman's boxing. But you can see things changing. Like there's more woman fights that I'm trying to like, put my door my foot in the door saying hey, put more and more than the fights get the more credibility and stuff like that. You know, it's slightly changing because there's woman fights happening. And if a woman fights happening, becoming more equality with women fights is probably going to eventually be other stuff like maybe the Rose BK boxing, it is like the out games and stuff like that. So yeah, you can see a slight change happening. And it's always going to be such a male dominance, very masculine testosterone type sport, but you can see that is they'll be a slight change. [00:21:52] But it's interesting from what you've been saying. It doesn't sound like it's necessarily kind of exclusionary. You're not the people on the spot, excluding other people, what's more, people aren't going to come into the sport. [00:22:04] Yeah, it's personal interests, like you've probably safe it's a hobby and people make making something from this hobby. But yeah, ultimately, as a interest, and if people get into it, they get into it. [00:22:17] You mentioned right, the very start that you're also getting married in the next little while. Can you tell me about that? Are you happy to talk about that? [00:22:26] Yes. I'm getting married to someone who's actually transgender, which a lot of people like confused with that. Because, like, they see me as a game, our game married to someone who's transgender, that's female to male. And people like, right, you're by as I know, I, I'm, I'm gay. I'm heavily gay. And I announced myself as gay. I just don't mind the body parts, you know. But I am attracted to males. I don't care about the this pots or anything like that. So yeah. But yeah, I'm getting married. On the 19th of June. It's trying to remember. And I've already finished planning here, Frank. So I'm quite excited about that. [00:23:13] And why is marriage important? [00:23:16] Why is marriage important? I know this makes scarf like a new milestone for myself. And like with the whole gay marriage and stuff like that was a lot of his have spoken like so a lot of people gave people straight people and stuff like that. A lot of people don't like the idea of marriage just in general, because I think it's just a piece of paper. Even gay people think this was the way of getting gay marriage because like this other important things to talk about and stuff like that. And I, my reaction to them is like gay marriage is a step 2002 important things. If you don't think gay marriage is important than get tight gay marriage is the next step to take care. Let's stick to important things. I think like my personal opinion, gay marriage has no problem with me anymore. Like we've got it now. So I think it's important that we had it, but now we've got it. I think the next important thing is to looking into the whole transgender stuff. Like it's ridiculously hard to get transgender surgery here, especially funded by the the Public Health Board. Because the health insurance and New Zealand sees transgender surgery as [00:24:41] cosmetic, which I'm like a. So [00:24:47] which I feel like it's called a slap in the face to them effect. I know this from my partner in California. They passed this law earlier this year, late last year, where medical insurance health insurance, they cannot discriminate against the trends in the community when it comes to surgeries from top surgery, bomb surgery, all the surgeries and almost treatment and psychology and stuff like that. And I'm thinking if California, which is land of United States who some people think they're not the land of the free, which they plan they are, can do it, then why can't we do that? It's quite, I think it's a good idea that we could probably pass that on to the government or something like that. So yeah. [00:25:38] And the choice between having a civil union and the marriage was that of a kind of, you [00:25:42] know, as always being marriage wasn't even a question. [00:25:47] Mainly because someone you in some museum has recognized internationally, [00:25:51] marriages are recognized internationally, some of unions aren't recognized internationally. So if for some reason that my partner got a hospital, [00:26:00] overseas, I've also for us, that'd be like, no. [00:26:06] That'd be like, you can already be family. If you want to meet your see your partner, I saw that. And as I go to civil unions, and I'm the husband, and they'll be like, no civil union is not recognized in this country. [00:26:20] Can you tell me a wee bit about how the wedding is going to go? [00:26:23] Well, very non traditional is quite a boring wedding way to stay doing it in the registry office, which is actually how my brother with his strike winning [00:26:32] in reshare office. In fact, I was as the biggest laugh if he did it in shorts and a T shirt. And I've been pushing for myself to be done and shorts and a T shirt. And every tie suggested that I get told off. So. [00:26:52] How have you found the planning? Is it been quite stressful? Because I've been really enjoyable? [00:26:57] No, it's quite natural for me. I'm quite I'm good at cleaning stuff. [00:27:01] For me, I was this OCD about time and punctuality. [00:27:06] So when you put that towards planning comes, planning comes quite natural for me. And of course, I, I had a few barriers, but I just clicked Oh, let's do this instead. That's quite easy. It's actually quite cheaper as well. So never really a problem when it comes to events planning and wedding planning and stuff like that. [00:27:26] Well, congratulations. I hope that that goes really well. And you know, it's really fantastic news. [00:27:31] Thanks very much.

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