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A salute to a fine boxing double-act

Yesterday, after sending in my blog draft on Saturday night’s Groves/Eubank Junior fight at the Manchester Arena to the Rust editorial team for approval and/or improvement – invariably the latter – I set off to a prospective venue for my daughter’s nuptials in the Midlands at which a ‘wedding fair’ was taking place.

That ordeal over, on the drive home – when I wasn’t trying to work out which of my treasured possessions may have to be disposed of in order to pay for said event [final answer: almost any bar my complete collections of The Beano and Dandy from 1959-1964] – for want of something better to do I was listening to Radio Five Live.

By happy chance this exposed me to an extract of the Mike Costello/Steve Bunce ‘review’ of the aforementioned bout for various super-middleweight world titles.

In introducing it the Radio Five Live presenter of the moment explained that the full version of said piece would soon be available on demand as a podcast via ‘your usual suppliers’ – a phrase I take to refer [warning: I could be wrong on this] to either the BBC sports website, or perhaps a well-known … though not to me … alternative source from which you can buy an app enabling you to download such items for free.

For me, the Bunce and Costello double act at least as worthy as, and probably more amusing and intellectually-rewarding than, its near-namesake Abbot and Costello.

Mike Costello is one of the UK’s top radio sports broadcasters – a professional journalist equally adept at reporting and commentating on athletics and boxing and who has done both for the BBC since 2004.

His side-kick buddy Steve Bunce – an opinionated old school boxing nut and motor-mouth who knows the fight game inside out – may be more of an acquired taste for some, but I’m a huge fan.

He’s incisive and always says what he thinks. These days he’s reached the sort of status where even those boxing business insiders he criticises from time to time don’t seem to mind (on the basis “It’s only ‘Buncey’ sounding off”) which – if you think about it – is a healthy position for all parties concerned.


Their ‘review’ as transmitted yesterday was as good a twenty minutes of sports broadcasting as I’ve heard in a long time.

Having been ringside for the main event itself – I did not listen to their live output myself, having watched the fight on pay-per-view television – they began it sitting in the presumably now-empty and debris-littered auditorium of the Manchester Arena while around them the promoter’s contractors were hard at work dismantling the ring and attendant hardware.

Their double-act worked like a dream. Costello took on straight reporting side of things – carefully maintaining an impartial stance whilst leaving out nothing as he did – and Bunce, without ceremony, went straight for the jugular, offering the overall view that he could just not believe how poor Chris Eubank Junior had been on the night.

I won’t spoil it for those Rusters who might choose to listen to the podcast version themselves.

Suffice it to say here that, after their opening remarks, Bunce and Costello then went on to attend the media press conference at which they quizzed the Eubanks upon what the hell had been going on in their corner (Eubanks Junior had appeared either to get little or no advice during the fight and/or had been totally ignoring it) and then later analysed their responses.

Their reflections upon the pros and cons of ‘ex-great fighter’ fathers training and/or managing their sons were detailed, on the face of it fair to all sides, and fascinating.

As an aside, in case any still-interested Rusters might have missed it, here’s a link to Steve Bunce’s post-fight written piece on Saturday’s big event as appears today upon the website of – THE INDEPENDENT







About James Westacott

James Westacott, a former City investment banker, acquired his love of the Noble Art as a schoolboy in the 1970s. For many years he attended boxing events in and around London and more recently became a subscriber to the Box Nation satellite/cable channel. His all-time favourite boxer is Carlos Monzon. More Posts