David Ashdown's Sports Picture Diary: Amir Khan v Oisin Fagan
Monday 08 December 2008
I know that not everybody thinks boxing should be allowed, but from a photographic perspective it is a wonderful sport to photograph; There's so much going on - there really is nothing more intense in sport than the three minutes of a round of boxing.
I have been to lots of boxing events, most of the time I don't get to go ring side, and am at the back of the hall with a 600mm lens. From that far back the action can seem a bit surreal, so I was very happy to be ring side on Saturday at ExCel for the Frank Warren show.
My spot was by one of the corners, and that can be interesting. I remember when Frank Bruno was fighting some no-hoper. The boxer was sitting in his corner between rounds and instead of spitting his mouthful of water into the bucket, he turned his head the wrong way and the photographer behind him got the lot! To make matters worse, the photographer looked up just as he spat the water. The look on his face was hilarious, complete shock and disbelief.
I was using only one Nikon D3 set at 3200 ISO with a 28mm-70mm F2.8 zoom lens. The light was very constant so the exposure does not change. I was using 1/800 second at F2.8, one has to change the focal length of the lens all the time as the boxers move about the ring. Being ringside is not the easiest position to work in. As you try to rest your elbows on the apron and shoot through the bottom two ropes it's very easy to get a stiff neck, bending this way and that. The three minutes of a round can seen like twice that, but it can make great pictures as there's so much variety to be had.
The main fight of the night was between Amir Khan and Oisin Fagan. In his last fight Amir was knocked out, so this chap was never going to be too much of a problem (as Amir can't afford another defeat). The judge seen counting in the background, the lucky framing through Amir's legs and the stunned look on Fagan's face says it all. This picture was taken in the first round and was already Fagan's second knock-down. It was all over in the next round, and all a bit too easy!
The fact the fight was over so quick was good for me as I had to send a picture for the last edition of the Indy-on-Sunday.
You would think that five minutes of boxing would not be long to get the perfect picture but so much happens in this sport and I had so much to choose from. A very good night for being a photographer, and thankfully, I didn't get wet!
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