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Benji Watt

In this podcast Benji talks about being the first openly gay boxing judge in New Zealand and his upcoming marriage.

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This podcast features an interview with Benji Watt, a trailblazer in New Zealand's boxing world. At just 22, Watt is not only the youngest boxing judge in the world but also the first openly gay one in New Zealand. The discussion, hosted by Gareth Watkins, delves into Watt's engagement with the sport of boxing – a passion that began with watching David Tua's match and evolved into a calling, ultimately leading to a career as a judge in the sport.

Watt shares insight into the connection between the boxing and LGBTQ+ communities, specifically dispelling the notion that they are mutually exclusive. Despite the sport being historically male-dominated and associated with aggression and masculinity, Watt has found acceptance within the boxing community, noting that their professional skills are what truly matter. Reflections on the theatrical elements often portrayed in professional boxing are also discussed, emphasizing that many boxers adopt larger-than-life personas to create a spectacle, a stark contrast to their personal interactions outside the ring.

Throughout the conversation, Watt details the intricacies of judging a boxing match, describing their methodical approach to assessing aggression, defensive tactics, and punch outputs. Their judgments are guided by strict criteria, as well as intuition, honed from years of watching and evaluating the sport. This process has earned Watt recognition for their exceptional talent in making accurate calls at a young age.

The discussion also touches on the shifting landscape of boxing, with Watt advocating for more visibility and respect for women in the sport. Watt also notes the age gap in the judging community, with most being significantly older, and expresses desire for more inclusivity and engagement from the younger generations.

Watt's personal life interlaces with their professional experiences as they discuss their upcoming marriage. Challenging traditional perceptions, Watt is set to marry a transgender partner and speaks candidly about the significance of marriage equality, as well as the challenges faced by the transgender community in New Zealand regarding access to surgeries and recognition.

The podcast covers Watt's dreams for boxing, including potential high-profile matches, and their ambitions to elevate their judging career internationally. They express hope to be involved in events such as the Out Games, contributing to a broader conversation about LGBTQ+ representation and participation in sports.

Finally, the podcast concludes with a glimpse into Watt's wedding preparations, highlighting their expertise in planning and excitement for this personal milestone.

This summary is created using Generative AI. Although it is based on the recording's transcription, it may contain errors or omissions. Click here to learn more about how this summary was created.

Record date:9th May 2015
Interviewer:Gareth Watkins
Location:Wellington, Aotearoa New Zealand
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Archive:The master recording is archived at the Alexander Turnbull Library (OHDL-004361).