Boxing, by it’s very nature, is a controversial sport. Way over the top personalities, a history rife with crime, corruption and racism, questionable matchmaking, wildly questionable decisions…it all adds up to an athletic endeavor that perpetually raises eyebrows. Sometimes, however, the sport gets it right. And when it does, it elevates itself to Olympian heights. There’s a reason, after all, that Rocky is about a boxer rather than, say, a member of the Dallas Cowboys… the simple fact that boxing inspires more than most other endeavors. Whether it’s Jack Johnson or Muhammad Ali standing for their beliefs or the untold thousands the fight game has lifted out of poverty, there no denying the virtues that go hand in hand with the toughest sport in the world. That’s why, even today, earning a championship belt is a crowning achievement.
And no one has proven more worthy of a championship belt than Bridger Walker, a young man who rose to the occasion recently in a way few could imagine, must less emulate. The World Boxing Council put it best: “ A few days ago, Bridger Walker, a six-year-old boy from Wyoming, United States, saved his sister from a dog attack.” This wasn’t a typical act of heroism, however. Walker paid a price for his selflessness. As the WBC states, the young man sustained “severe injuries to his face and other parts of his body.” While the WBC, like virtually every entity involved in boxing, has a history that can at times raise some eyebrows, there’s little doubt the organization did the right thing when it came to the hero from Wyoming.
“Young Bridger was named by the World Boxing Council as the Honorary Champion for his extraordinary brave actions,” the WBC claimed, “risking his own life to protect his younger sister.” And for that inspirational act, the WBC made the kid one of its famous green belts – a huge honor if ever there was one. Boxing’s biggest names of the past fifty years have won WBC bets, including names like Ali, Tyson, Leonard, and Mayweather. “Bridger has already received his belt,” The WBC wrote in July, “which endorses him as the WBC Honorary Champion, as well as some presents for him and his sister.”
It’s worth noting that the WBC didn’t have much self interested need to gift Bridger with a belt. Sure, it made for good publicity, but publicity is only good as the next headline. By recognizing Bridger for his actions, the organization has shown what values the sport of boxing can truly represent – even if it’s sometimes hard to tell under all the controversy. As the WBC writes, Bridger received the belt “for his courageous actions that represent the absolute best values of humanity.”
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