WELLFLEET — If you ask Londoner and new Wellfleet resident Arvin Nundloll to talk about boxing, the stories tumble out like heavyweight championship general-admission ticket holders pushing to get to the front of the line. Nundloll’s eyes light up, and his face beams. For him, boxing is more than a sport; it’s an endless source of fascination and surprise.
He grew up in Croydon, a borough in South London. On March 8, 2003, he watched a broadcast from Hanover, Germany of the heavyweight championship fight between the Ukrainian Vladimir Klitschko and the South African Corrie Saunders. Arvin had never seen a boxing match before, and he was struck by comments that dismissed Saunders’s chances.
When Saunders knocked out Klitschko in the second round, Nundloll couldn’t believe it. “I was perplexed and curious and simply wanted to understand it,” he said.
In 2008, as a student in the digital media production program at the College of Communication, University of the Arts in London, Nundloll developed “Two Dice Boxing,” one of the earliest comprehensive boxing websites. “There is no delay in digital coverage,” he said. “It’s more immediate because commentary and sequences of photos can be posted in real time as a fight unfolds.”
Creating a website, however, is no guarantee that you will have access to the people who control the content. That’s where Nundloll has excelled.
He first reached out to the transgender boxing promoter Kellie Maloney (known at the time as Frank Maloney), who liked the idea of “Two Dice Boxing” and agreed to allow Nundloll to cover the fights she promoted.
Through Maloney, Nundloll met David Haye, the British boxer who, after winning a cruiser weight world title in Paris, moved up and defeated the Russian Nicholay Valuev on Nov. 7, 2009 in Germany for the heavyweight title. On Oct. 4 of this year, Haye was cleared of an assault charge, and, Nundloll noted, “Valuev is currently fighting for the Russians in Ukraine.”
Personal details about boxers’ lives and relationships are important to know, Nundloll said, “because if you want to get people interested in a fight, they need to get to know who the fighters are.”
Asked about the staged bad blood between fighters on display at press conferences and weigh-ins, Nundloll said, “Sometimes animosity emerges through fabrication — and sometimes the animosity is very real.” He named the two Miguel Cotto-Antonio Margarito fights as an example.
Cotto and Margarito fought for the welterweight championship on July 26, 2008; Margarito won by technical knockout in the 11th round. Cotto, convinced that Margarito had cheated, reacted bitterly after the fight. In a 2009 fight against Shane Mosely, Margarito was caught with doctored hand wraps; they had been laced with powder that turns to plaster from the moisture of sweat. That confirmed Cotto’s suspicions.
Cotto got his rematch with Margarito on Dec. 3, 2011, which he won by technical knockout in the ninth round. Nundloll described Cotto punctuating the meaning of his victory with a pointed glare that communicated to the cognoscenti how much the fight was payback for the first tainted bout.
After college and a loss of support for “Two Dice Boxing,” Nundloll emigrated to the U.S. in 2011. He was asked by Fightnews.com, the largest boxing website in the world, to serve as lead writer, and he teamed with Bryan Graham, deputy sports editor for the Guardian, to produce a six-part Apple podcast called “Boxing City Radio.”
Living on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, Nundloll connected with the American promoter Lou DiBella, who organized boxing shows at BB King’s blues club. Nundloll covered the first two losses of Briton Ricky Hatten, undefeated until he fought Floyd Mayweather and then Manny Pacquiao in successive bouts. He also has a ringside acquaintance with Deontay Wilder.
Boxing is hazardous, even for ringside spectators. Wanting to impress his future wife on their first date, Nundloll secured ringside seats at a bout in Atlantic City. They were showered by a mixture of sweat and blood as the fighters punched and clinched above them.
His date, Megan Benson, who grew up in Brewster, was not happy. But she married him anyway. They now live in Wellfleet with their four-year-old son, Theodore Riis Nundloll. Arvin is a director of advertising strategy for Comcast, working remotely from the Outer Cape for three weeks every month. Megan works remotely in accounting.
Nundloll’s digital reporting, podcasting, and writing on boxing has been “more moonlighting than a vocation,” he said. And when the pandemic put an end to almost all live boxing events for a couple of years, his engagement with fightnews.com diminished.
He has, however, maintained his personal connections to individual fighters and promoters, and he thinks about boxing’s social significance, its business model, and the way that model reflects class divisions in the U.K. and the U.S.
“If I ever won the lottery,” he said, “I’d set up my own promotion company.” For the time being, he is content to attend two or three main events a year. He is looking forward to the Dereck Chisora-Tyson Fury bout scheduled for December.