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Kiwi world’s first openly-gay boxing judge

Sat 15 Aug 2015 In: New Zealand Daily News View at Wayback

Another barrier has been knocked out in sport - New Zealander Benjamin Watt is believed to be the first ever openly-gay male professional boxing judge. “It’s just great to do what I love doing, which is being a boxing judge," says Benjamin Watt. He judged his first ever fights at the Weekend Warriors event in Auckland last night. At 23, he is also believed to be the youngest current judge on the circuit. Watt tells GayNZ.com his love for boxing was sparked when he was eight-years-old and watched the “Royal Rampage” 2000 David Tua vs Lennox Lewis fight, which went 12 rounds and near stopped the nation. “From that I just fell in love with boxing." He didn’t want to actually get in the ring, but wanted to be involved, and started by doing record keeping for professional fights, when judging called. Watt had a mixed bag with his first two fights as a judge last night. He says the first was clear cut, as it was a first round knock-out, while the second bout was difficult. “From round one they just came out guns blazing. Those kinds of fights are always hard to judge and sometimes you have to use instinct. I made the right calls though, so I’m quite happy with my judging.” He says it does take a sharp eye, especially when the ref gets in the way. “I had to move my head around, and even move my chair around, because I was scared the boxers would go through the ropes. That’s been happening quite often recently.” Watt says the fact he seems to be the world’s first openly-gay boxing judge has already been posted on Wikipedia. “So apparently it’s official,” he laughs. “I’m a little bit surprised because I thought there would be others. But I’m happy that I have got that.” Nobody’s raised an eyebrow, “no one cares,” he says. “It’s just great to do what I love doing, which is being a boxing judge.” The world’s first openly-gay male professional boxer Orlando Cruz came out in 2012. The Puerto Rican stated "I have and will always be a proud Puerto Rican. I have always been and always will be a proud gay man".    

Credit: GayNZ.com Daily News staff

First published: Saturday, 15th August 2015 - 10:29am

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