THE vaccine isn’t only helping those who have received it. For others who have struggled throughout 2020 for one reason or another, news of the first rounds of treatment has been enough to deliver an injection of some much-needed optimism.

Sam Kynoch is one of those feeling cautiously hopeful on the cusp of a new year. The eponymous owner of Kynoch Boxing has endured a wretched time, with the pandemic and its related restrictions meaning he has been unable to put on an event in Scotland since February.

That has had an effect not just on Kynoch but for the hundreds of others whose livelihoods depend on small-hall boxing in this country; the fighters, their trainers, physios, masseurs, cuts men, ring girls, announcers, hotel and leisure centre staff and many more.

As a manager, Kynoch has been able to get a few of his fighters out on televised, behind-closed-doors events in England – Hannah Rankin, for example, fought for a world title – but as a promoter that line of work has drawn to a complete standstill.

He is hopeful that, post-vaccine, there will be a clamour to return to events like never before but warned that the planning required to organise and promote his shows may mean it won’t be before the spring or summer before boxing in Scotland is properly up-and-running again.

“It’s frustrating with the way that things have worked out that we’ve not been able to get anything on for the tail end of the year,” said Kynoch.

“But we just have to look ahead now. And there’s evidence that things are starting to move forward by virtue of the fact a small number of fans have been allowed in for the Anthony Joshua fight.

“With the vaccine news as well we can look forward with a bit more confidence. But it might take a bit of time.

“We normally kick the year off with a Burns Supper event and then a public show in February but I won’t be doing either of those as there’s a lead-in time ahead of every event.

“Boxers need to get themselves ready, there are tickets to be sold and all the rest of it and that can’t be done overnight. It’s a matter of seeing how things develop over the festive period and we’ll take it from there.”

Cost is another obvious factor, especially with the British boxing authorities insisting on Covid tests for anyone involved in a fight.

Kynoch explained: “As long as the board have those rules in place with regards to Covid testing, that will be a big financial burden for small-hall shows.

“But for the sake of the boxers, I’ll accept those terms whatever they may be, whether that’s reduced capacity or extra expenditure. We just want to get back to business.”

Kynoch has also been encouraged at the sight of football fans returning to stadia in limited numbers in certain parts of Scotland. And he may take geography into account when he lays out his plans for 2021.

“I’ve got Dennis Broadhurst - who was meant to make his debut this year – Trigger Wood and Kaseem Saleem who are all from Dumfries and we had looked at whether we could have put on a show in Carlisle when it looked like England was going to open up earlier,” revealed Kynoch.

“So we might have to take the tier system into consideration, although if there’s a travel ban it would have to be only boxers from that area on the card.

“But it’s obviously a situation that’s very fluid. And it makes it hard to arrange a show in Dumfries for eight weeks’ time, for example, as that area could then have had a spike in cases and move to a different tier. So it’s really difficult to plan anything with any confidence.

“On the back of such a dire year, I don’t want to commit to something that might not then happen. I’m more risk-averse now than I usually would be.”

The constant flux in restrictions has made it difficult for fighters to remain in a state of readiness for a fight date that may never come. But having some light at the end of the tunnel has definitely helped.

“Some of the guys have clearly not had the motivation to keep training throughout all of this and there may be some who never box again,” revealed Kynoch.

“But others have continued to graft behind the scenes to make sure they’re ready. And the conversations I’ve been having with boxers of late have been more positive.

“They can see that things could get back to some kind of normality in the first half of 2021 and that’s given them a lift. March or April now doesn’t seem that far away with Christmas almost upon us.”