Thoughts & Musings

Gareth Dafydd Jones

In Search of a Boxing Database API

Dec 10, 2013
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Recently I’ve found myself frustrated with the world of boxing. Not for the reasons that you may think, of course there’s the overpaid egos, the weak undercards, the occasionally horrendous refereeing decisions and dodgy decisions. They have however, always been around and they probably always will be.

No, the current reason that I'm particularly irked is due to the lack of an open database of fights, fighters and their records. In 5 minutes of searching google I found databases with Application Programming Interfaces (API) available for developers to build apps for almost every industry I could think of, beer, wine, football, sewing, birdwatching and of course multiple databases for MMA and the UFC.

Databases with Open APIs Examples of website offering free & paid access to databases with APIs

Using these APIs, developers have been able to build a fine array of mobile and web applications. Generally speaking, for a sport or an interest to continue to grow in popularity, it must make itself readily accessible to as many people as possible. It can be argued that boxing is already on the backfoot here, negotiating it's way onto premium networks and often charging extra for Pay-Per-View, public awareness is already dwindling. In modern society, smartphone and tablet usage is skyrocketing and its a safe bet its going to continue to grow for a few years yet. That is an opportunity, an opportunity that boxing is missing out on.

Just think about the apps developers could build. Ready access to any fight in history, instant verification of results or scores. If nothing else it would be a quick and easy way to settle debates in pubs and bars all over the world.

At least partly, perhaps I'm frustrated that there is no one to blame, this is not "boxing's" fault, as there is no centralized database to either open source or charge developers access to. Neither is it the fault of BoxRec , the owners and curators of the biggest boxing database out there, certainly they're in a position to open up their database to developers and make money from it - something I for one would urge them to do. At the end of the day its their database and who can blame them for being worried that it could get stolen and misused.

Perhaps one day we'll have this, perhaps BoxRec has a change of heart, or perhaps the money hungry governing bodies realise that there are dollars to be made and long term brand recognition to be gained from such a venture, but here's betting that day does not come along nearly soon enough.

Footnote

This article, or rant, was inspired by a boxing iOS app that I recently created, simply listing boxers, then linking to a page featuring more details, age, record, past fights etc. For now I created my own database from which to pull and this acts as a very basic example of what could be possible.

Simple Boxing iOS7 App