An example of the transferable nature of Boxiana-style qualities in sports reporting is evinced in a piece by Michael Henderson recording his impression of unfolding events at an exciting Arc de Triomphe (Paris, 6 Oct. 2002). The report of the afternoon is split into time bands, which fulfil a segmental effect similar to the rounds of a prizefight. The ‘Five o’ clock’ dispatch commences: ‘Excitement mounting […] It’s fascinating, this enclosed world, with its rituals and customs. And then there are the horses’. This mirrors Egan’s enthralment at the activity surrounding a sequestered sporting kingdom, with the actual fight, ironically, almost an afterthought. The account proceeds by echoing familiar theatrical allusions: ‘The prelude is over. The actors take the stage’. At ‘Five-thirty’, the scene depicted matches the spectacle and sense of yearning conveyed by the Boxiana treatment of a major contest:
'The sense of anticipation sharpens the appetite for any top-notch event, and there are 40,000 spectators here, appetites sharpened, hungering for this annual feast […] When the horses come round the final bend, and the punters respond with one resounding voice, it feels like one of those special I-was-there moments. Frankie Dettori is there, all right, a 16-1 shot nipping in as roars stick in a few thousand throats' (Daily Mail, 7 October 2002).
The common notion of the crowd propelled by a communal impulse is reinforced. Interestingly, Henderson’s concluding instalment of the account is headed ‘Postlude’, thus accentuating the sense of the event, and the report itself, as an uninhibited, artistic composition. Overall, the piece demonstrates the creative licence typically enjoyed by such sports-writing ‘visionaries’.
The reproduction of techniques honed by Egan can be discerned in other sporting fields, essentially, far removed from pugilism. The television commentator Phil Liggett has, since the 1970s, reported on the Tour de France cycle race and beguiled viewers ‘not least for his habit of lapsing into obscure flights of fancy when describing the action’. Observe the imaginative slant deployed in these mock-heroic allusions: ‘To wear the yellow jersey is to mingle with the gods of cycling’; ‘Once you pull on that golden fleece you become two men’. Such flourishes have been dubbed ‘Liggetisms’, but it might be argued that they are steeped in the tradition established by ‘Eganisms’. Similarly, if we recall Egan remarking on the plight of a frustrated pugilist; ‘[“The Nailer”] sat down like the great ALEXANDER, weeping that he had no more heroes to overcome’ (Boxiana I), and compare this imagery to that employed by Sid Waddell at the World Darts tournament in 1985: "When Alexander of Macedonia was 33, he cried salt tears because there were no more worlds to conquer – [Eric] Bristow is only 27". The parallel is almost exact.