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Russ Hansen

Third Man in the Ring: A Life of Montana Boxing Referee Russ Hansen

IMG_0395By Brian D’Ambrosio – Firm, loud and concise verbal commands come from the third man in the ring. The action peppered with strident oral cues and succinct commands such as, “Time!”, “Break!”, “Watch the heads!”, “Stop Punching!” In the boxing ring, snappy orders address all situations. Indeed, boxers shuffle and jab to their own code.

Russ Hansen maintains order through communicating the necessary language. In a sport always on the verge of something chaotic – the true theatre of the unexpected – the referee anchors the fine line between stability and anarchy.

“My job is to make sure that the fighters keep it clean and to always think about the fighters’ safety,” says Russ Hansen, the face of the Montana boxing referee for decades. “No head butts, no low blows, to talk them out of the clenches. I work the fight and do what’s right. I’m the only one who can look into the fighter’s eyes, and that’s some responsibility.” Continue reading