By Tom Gray
Film maker Ciaran Gibbons has completed an absorbing documentary, entitled “The Fight Game”, which follows a Welsh amateur boxer on his journey into the paid ranks and examines that complex transition in depth.
The film also puts visceral effort into dismissing the common misconception that professional prize fighting is a glamour world, where fighters are paid saddle bags full of cash to ply their trade, and several interesting anecdotes seriously make one pause.
The prospect himself, Aled Cook, is an affable and talented young man who makes for a refreshing subject matter. There is a comfortable blend of amateur fight footage, training sequences, interviews and the film moves at a steady pace.
Set predominantly in the Welsh valleys “The Fight Game” also devotes time to a host of notable boxing hotbeds, up and down the UK. We visit Ricky Hatton, Chris Eubank, Gary Lockett and Vince Cleverly, among others, to gather a unique and varied insight into the professional game and the dark truths which lurk beneath the bright lights.
Former WBO light heavyweight champion Nathan Cleverly, who was managing Aled Cook at the time, is strongly featured, and the film culminates with both men fighting on the same show at the Motorpoint Arena in Cardiff.
Instead of focusing solely on active fighters and trainers, we also hear from Robert Smith (General Secretary of the BBBoC), referee Micky Vann and one memorable section of the film is devoted to Kieran Farrell, whose career was cut short due to a brain injury he sustained in a bout with Anthony Crolla, in December 2012.
The feature runs for approximately sixty minutes and is well structured and entertaining throughout. My only minor criticism would be the choice of soundtrack for Cook’s professional debut, but this is a boxing documentary, not a music video.
“The Fight Game” is having its official première at the Carmarthen Bay Film Festival in the first week of May and admission is free. Go to www.carmarthenbayfilmfestival.co.uk for details.