Story and photos by Jim Wraith, Filmmaker – Camera Dept.
We started filming HORVATH by chance. The idea came after Sam (producer), Jacob (story producer) and I got invited to a kickboxing night hosted by Wajid Shafique from Showdown Events. Ladislav Horvath was on the card, and the crowd response and support for him was immense.
He seemed to be a community hero, with a big following who created this electric atmosphere. The three of us then spent a lot of time both in Page Hall with the family, to find out more about ‘Team Horvath’, and joining them out on the road, following them up through the ranks of the national fight circuit.
The fight nights themselves were the most diverse crowds and competitors I’ve seen in any sport. Combat sport seems to have a way to knit communities and groups together and create friendships that may not have happened outside of that environment. Right from the start, the sense of loyalty, family and togetherness was obvious, with strong inter-generational bonds and support. The brothers, cousins, sons, uncles, granddads, daughters, wives and friends all acted in unity and support of the family’s goals, often making cross-country journeys to join the cause.
That also created a huge sense of pride for the fighters, on whose young shoulders many expectations were placed. Like many areas in Sheffield, Page Hall has suffered years of neglect and funding cuts, with a decade of Tory austerity that has seen huge amounts taken from the SCC budget. It reflects a wider problem in the North, where areas have seen the most cuts, nationwide. In the face of such challenging times, it was moving to witness this community living with pride and an ambition to make a better life.