In the booming industry of modern professional sport, commercialization has infiltrated almost every game. Between advertisements, apparel sales, sponsorships, and the heavy influence of media on organizations and players, it’s tough to find a sport with pro athletes free from such an influence. Recently, Australia-based brothers/photographers Ian and Erick Regnard of Tungsten set off to find the independent athlete—their ambitions taking them underground, to a boxing facility in a run-down section of Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Ian described their motivation, saying:
We feel that somehow sport sometimes gets destroyed by [commercialization]. It seems that people have forgotten the root of the sport, the tradition of it, so we wanted to capture something raw, where sportsmen are in it for the love of it; there are not many avenues these days where one can find that…
A far stretch from the elaborate stadiums and training areas graced by professionals of high profile sports, this facility is small, dusty, and filled with serious professional and aspiring boxers.
After three days of searching and checking out different locations, Ian and Erick spoke to the owner of the underground ring and were granted access, after a small donation towards a new punching bag.
The brothers knew the facility was perfect, saying:
It was interesting that this was not just a place for training and to get fit like most other boxing clubs. This was a place that young guys were throwing punches in the ring with bleeding noses. These kids were 19 and 21, young boys but dedicated to what they want to do. Also, the fact that we were in a not so great neighborhood added to the atmosphere.
They shot on film to bring a sense of rawness to the series, making appropriate adjustments for such a dimly lit area. Ian noted that the kids became extremely intense once in the ring, but were good friends outside of it, switching back and forth with ease. They are trained by professionals who have won countless matches in and around Argentina.
Feedback on the series has been positive so far, and Ian said they plan to return to Buenos Aires in the near future to continue to shoot, saying they will “see where it takes them.”