By Andrew Walker – If you are a UK resident and follow the sport of boxing you will be familiar with the name Steve Bunce. More recently known for his association with Setanta Sports and his boxing hour show (Steve Bunce’s Boxing Hour, 14.00, Thursday, Setanta Sports News) but also for his work with the BBC on shows, inside sport and BBC radios fighting talk.
It was on the BBC late night show inside sport that I first came across Buncey a few years back and my initial impression of him was of a loud mouth oaf who could not put his point of view across very well.. He was a regular on the show and always seemed overly opinionated and eager to interrupt the other guest or presenter. This would make for uncomfortable viewing at times as you felt embarrassed for the man as he would often appear to be out of his depth on certain subjects. Reminded me of David Brent the sitcom character portrayed by Ricky Gervais in the Office. A blagger.
Since I follow boxing more closely now that I no longer work as accredited media covering motorcycle racing the “legend” that is Buncey is someone I ‘am now more familiar with. I have since learned that he has been covering the sport for many years and is not just some “dingbat off the strip” that the BBC mistakenly dragged into a studio one night to ask him for his opinions (it does happen at the BBC. Most recently a taxi driver was mistakenly dragged onto a live news show in the belief he was an I.T expert).
Who can forget that day when an irate Bernard Hopkins unhappy with his treatment over here in the UK whilst filming a promo for his up and coming fight with Joe Calzaghe berated an unusually flummoxed Buncey? In fairness what did we all expect Bunce to do? Put one on the executioner? Eventually Buncey calmed the “legend” down and even brought a smile back to his face.
I regularly watch the Steve Bunce show on Setanta Sports and once you get over the fact that Buncey is not your conventional TV boxing pundit the show is both informative and entertaining. Yes the man does go off on wild irrelevant rants and puts his foot in his mouth on more than one occasion but it adds to the show in my view. It is a cliché but the man is like Marmite. You either love him or hate him.
I don’t think I’m quite ready to love him just yet (balding, scruffy, blokes not being my type) but I can certainly respect his opinions now and trust what he is saying. This was not the case previously. Bunce also likes to get interactive and regularly invites viewers to express their opinions and views on his show and will also canvass opinion online. In fact he is a regular on this very sites forum no less.
In short, I think Steve Bunce is good for the sport of boxing, certainly in the UK at least. The man appears to show no bias towards boxers, promoters or rival networks and that is a rare thing in this day and age of journalism. How often was the “wonder kid” Amir Khan ever mentioned on Sky Sports News before he had a contract with the Sky network? I would rather listen to a Bunce rant then the didactic drone of some of his rival American and British TV boxing pundits any day of the week.