John Rawling (pictured right) is an award-winning sports broadcaster and lead commentator for BT Sport’s boxing coverage. He previously worked as a boxing broadcaster for ITV, Sky, Setanta and BBC Radio. John commentates on darts for ITV, and has commentated on athletics and Paralympic sports for BBC Radio and Channel 4. He has three children and lives in Lincolnshire. His interests include golf, classic cars and his German Shepherd, Millie.
1. What has been your Best Life Project to date?
I have covered six Olympic Games and numerous world title fights since the late 1980s. They are all projects that bring pressures and, in me, a desire to find the right words to help the audience enjoy the events as much as I do. Doing big fights now, without an audience, is a fresh challenge. The commentator plays an even more important role now.
2. The unknown … what challenges did you have to overcome?
Nobody knew how boxing might look with no crowds, nor how the fighters would react. Also, being socially distanced from your co-commentator is not easy when you rely on teamwork and humour during a broadcast. It has certainly been very different.
3. In hindsight…what would you do differently?
You can look back at any broadcast or event and think of things where you might have been better. Trust me, I am my own harshest critic. But the most important thing is to look ahead to big sporting events in the future. I am an optimist and believe that some sense of normality will return in due course. Meanwhile, we have to make the best of what we have.
4. Next steps?
I just hope 2021 brings a return of big events. I want to see Tyson Fury fight Anthony Joshua and the Olympics and Paralympics to take place. And I fervently hope I will be there with a microphone in my hand.
5. What lifestyle changes has Lockdown made you consider?
In Lockdown, I concentrated on my personal fitness and diet. I now weigh pretty much the same as I did when I was 25 and feel so much better for shedding the pounds. You also realise how much money is frittered away in pubs and restaurants, when you can often eat much more healthily at home if you can make the effort to cook and cut down on booze.
6. Kissing frogs … is there an unexpected person who has helped you and, if so, how did they do it?
Friends have been so important. Simple phone calls were a wonderful tonic.
7. My Inspiration …who or what inspires you?
My inspiration is to provide for my three children, who are still at school, and be as supportive as possible to my partner who has had major health issues in the last couple of years.
8. How do you relax or do you struggle to relax?
I relax by golfing, driving my old Bentley when possible, and catching up with mates for a few pints. Lockdown also got me back into reading as well as watching TV. There is still some decent entertainment amid the dross, though usually on Netflix.
9. Guilty secret pleasure?
I will never be anything other than a Sheffield United fan. Once a Blade …..
10. Words of wisdom
Professionally, be prepared or prepare to fail. Elsewhere, always cherish family and friends and look after your health. Never take life for granted.