As I am doing a skydive for charity in a few weeks, I thought I would tell you about me boxing for charity a few years ago.
I signed up in 2013 to box for Cancer Research, via Ultra White Collar Boxing (UWCB) at Funktion Fitness Gym in Derby. It’s free to sign up, you are trained by a professional for free and it’s free to box. The only cash needed is £100 for charity, I surpassed this, but some other boxers really surpassed this, with two guys reaching over £1,000. Fantastic.
My group were trained at One Nation gym in Derby by Clifton Mitchell, who trained the infamous Tyson Fury! It is 8 weeks of intense training, half fitness, half boxing. There were around 30 guys and 8 ladies training. Most had never boxed before, so people are on the same wavelength.
I was drinking and smoking heavily, plus eating unhealthily before starting the programme, so it was always going to be tough. I switched to electronic cigarettes to try and help my lungs and quit the booze to try and help lose weight. The healthy eating didn’t quite go so well, as the odd fried chicken meal and sneaky chocolate bar went down a treat.
UWCB give you everything you need to help raise the cash for charity, and when you tell your family and friends what you are doing they soon fork out to help. Most people wouldn’t get between the ropes. You get to choose a ‘boxing name’ too, and mine was The Weasel. It’s an old nickname from my brother.
After the 8 weeks of training (it feels like 80), there is a light-hearted weigh in. I ended up against somebody much heavier, which was disappointing. However, I had not drank or smoked for 8 weeks and would have fought Floyd Mayweather just to get it out the way! I got down to 68kg for the fight, and I’m usually about 75kg. My opponent was 84kg, 12 kilograms heavier than me!
Everyone’s weighed in, and fight night approaches. I had put a lot of pressure on myself to do well, and had a few people there supporting me.The organisers and trainers just tell you to enjoy yourself, but there is no getting away from the fact that you and another person are going to be in a small square trying to knock each others heads off, and when it’s your first time, you will DEFINITELY be nervous!
I requested to go on as early as possible, and the request was accommodated, I was on 4th. I also made sure they had the head gear I liked wearing as some of the bulkier head gear restricted my eyesight. Clifton laughed and said it wouldn’t matter on the night, but that the head gear was available (he was 100% right). They accommodate any request they can, and they make sure every fighter has a medical on the night before fighting.
The roar as you walk into the ring is deafening, and the feeling of stepping between the ropes is inexplicable. The training goes out the window, and I couldn’t breathe. The ring was very small, I suppose that is to encourage the action.
In the final round I was just praying for the bell, so I could take a breath. I lost on points. I was very disappointed, but the guy was 2 stone heavier than me, so I suppose I did okay.
On the night, there was tens of thousands of pounds raised for Cancer Research UK, and all the fighters and spectators had a great night. I downed some beers and went out for a good night afterwards with some friends. An interesting experience!
Tips I would give anyone considering white collar boxing are fitness and fun. My technique for the first 30 seconds was perfect, as soon as I was out of breath it went out of the window. Fitness is key. (Remember, nerves drain you, so you need to be super fit!) Secondly, and more importantly, enjoy it. Everyone will be proud of you afterwards.
To sign up, or for more information, visit UWCB’s website. They do shows all over the UK and raise money for charity at every single one.
UPDATE: I have since tried again (2017) and raised £1,200 for Cancer Research, also winning my fight. Mostly down to my mentality which was helped by my brother! See the video here:
Would you box for charity? Leave a comment…