Petra Kirsch – Gelsenkirchen
It is no secret that major sanctioning bodies in boxing charge their champions for the privilege of fighting under their organisation. Some alphabet championships are splintered, split between: super champions, regular belt holders and interim titlists… with more belts, comes more sanctioning fees. The Independent Boxing Syndicate (IBS) is, yes, another sanctioning body, but their president David Gardner told On The Beak how they differ…
“The IBS is very new and we are recognized by the ABC [association of boxing commissions], Andworldboxing and also Boxrec,” Gardner exclusively explained to On The Beak assistant editor Petra Kirsch. It is hard not to give Gardner his dues… the man has set up a body within boxing and, after just 13 months of operations, can brag three notable champions. This, while he still serves in the US military.
“We have attracted a few names such as – Melissa Hernandez, Travis Walker and Hank Lundy who wore an IBS belt into the ring on Friday Night Fights against David Diaz (the red leather belt),” Gardner told me. Walker (pictured above), won the IBS US National Heavyweight title for his majority decision trumping of Alonzo Butler in May. Travis, dubbed Freight Train, has a 38-6-1, 30ko record, lost his most notable fights – Ruslan Chagaev (UD), Alex Leapai (4th Rd TKO) and Chris Arreola (3rd Rd TKO) – but scalped quality domestic level opposition like Jason Estrada, Jason Gavern and Butler.
Hernandez (15-2-3, 5ko) is one of the top female super bantamweights in the world and a worthy titlist. She avenged one of her losses, to Layla McCarter, while tying Lindsay Garbatt in a rematch. It is Hammerin’ Hank Lundy (21-1-1, 11ko), though, who is arguably the marquee IBS name.
His motor-mouthing attracts headlines while his boxer-puncher fight style satisfies a crowd’s desire for blood. In the dust-up with Diaz that Gardner mentioned, Lundy’s patient and methodical jabbing, uppercutting and hooking eventually opened up a horrendous cut over his opponent’s right eye that, by the sixth round was deemed to have jeopardised his vision. It was a grisly climax and an appropriate conclusion to the FNF series on ESPN.
Gardner fully intends on adding to their stable of champions. He said: “We have a few other fighters and they will also be televised. We have eight fighters at this time waiting on belts – but we’re having trouble with the belt maker producing them fast enough!”
Considering the current taste of alphabet soup, the glaring question was whether the IBS are able to separate themselves in order to justify adding further stock to a soup-bowl already rich in flavour. Gardner and the IBS have two notable selling points to fight fans, though: no corruption when it comes to rankings, and no sanctioning fees imposed on fighters.
“The way we separate ourselves is we rank the other organisations’ champions and outsource our rankings, we believe you can’t have a true champion if you don’t count all the fighters in that weightclass,” he reasoned.
“Also, we outsource our rankings through The Boxing Tribune and have no input so we cannot push a fighter based on they’re earning potential or favoritism.
“We also believe that a fighter has already paid by reaching a point in their career where they can fight for a belt, so why should we make them pay again? It’s their sweat, blood and tears and charging them is just plain wrong. The idea of a sanctioning body charging a fighter is a blatant display of disrespect for the fighters and what they have done to get there, all the current sanctioning bodies want is money, that is why they keep creating new belts,” said Gardner, nodding to the saturation of the WBA, WBO and WBC championships.
It is only a matter of time before the IBS venture into multiple nations, On The Beak have been told, and they welcome feedback on anything boxing fans feel they did wrong, or on any improvements they can make to the sport in general.