Tom Aspinall ‘can’t stand the boxing model’ — ‘UFC separates the men from the boys’
Tom Aspinall isn’t a fan of the direction that boxing has gone.
The British Heavyweight sensation has risen to the top of his division in Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) by being one of the most elusive strikers amongst the big men throughout his 17-fight career thus far (14-3, 7-1 in UFC). Now the interim champion after a stunning knockout of Sergei Pavlovich (watch highlights) at UFC 295 earlier this month (Nov. 5, 2023), Aspinall wishes boxing was more like UFC from a matchmaking perspective.
“I am a massive boxing fan,” Aspinall told talkSPORT Drive (h/t MMA Fighting). “I absolutely love the sport of boxing, [but] I absolutely can’t stand the boxing model. Hate it. I hate the way boxing is going at the moment because I love the sport of boxing. I love the science. I love the defensive techniques, which is amazing. I absolutely love watching actual classic, traditional boxers who are defensively brilliant — it’s my favorite thing. The way the sport is going at the moment is absolutely terrible.
“You can literally look at a card, you can look at an Eddie Hearn show, a Frank Warren show, any other promoter’s show and know — say there are 10 fights on, you can know at least eight of the winners before the bell rings on any of the fights,” he concluded. “I can’t stand it. We’re talking about the top guys in the world, none of them are fighting each other. What is this?”
The big obstacle keeping the biggest and best boxing matches from happening at as consistent of a rate as in UFC is that there’s more than one promotion involved in the fights. In turn, this allows for more financial possibilities and rewards for the athletes. Negotiations are just trickier and record padding is more prevalent, in the minds of some fans. Aspinall compares that to UFC where he believes such things simply don’t happen.
“If you’re fighting in the top 10, top five in the UFC, everyone is elite,” Aspinall said. “Everyone is there to win. I don’t mean to say anything bad about boxing, but a lot of them fights, you know who is going to win and who is going to lose before they step in there. The UFC, it’s 50/50 from the get-go. Everyone in there is there to win, and you can see that. You can see that in their eyes staring across. You’ve got some massive, scary guy looking back at you. It separates the men from the boys, that.”