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London’s Fight Night Frenzy

Sports writer, Daisy Redhead, describes the events of the first ‘Fight Night” of the year, with some fantastic boxing on show.

After the last London University Fight Night, students were expecting another night for the ages, and 3rd December at Clapham Grand did not disappoint. With queues down St. John’s Hill, there was plenty of time to pre-drink and talk to the swarms of spectators looking forward to a great night as they watched their friends (and rivals) battle it out for fight night fame! Talking to 2023 Strictly winner, Olivia Temple, she said “I’m having a great night! I’m over the moon to watch one of my best friends win and hope we can all end up in DC later.”

With most fighters attending up to 3 sessions a week for eight weeks, they received the highest quality training from the great boxing coaches at Don Davis Boxing Academy. With this training under their belts, it was time for twenty-four students to step into the ring. 

It was clear that the fighters had spent hours preparing for the event, Rich, the Head Coach, noted the scale of the training: The fighters were not allowed to spar for the first three weeks, so started by learning technical skills and building fitness. From there, the fighters were weighed and matched up to an opponent, before building up to intense sparring with sessions up to two-and-a-half hour sessions. Fighters were split into groups for the ease of coordination and in the final weeks, training was measured down to avoid injury – with an emphasis on safe boxing.

Rich gave his stand-out fight of the night to be the heavy-weight battle between Will ‘Polar Bear’ Budd and Mitchel ‘The Myth’ Chukwuemeka. He mentioned how the result swayed both ways in all rounds: their match made for a brilliant battle. The quality the female boxing was also notable, as it continues to reach new heights with all participants fighting gallantly – without a hint of giving up. 

On the night, we saw twelve fights, with three two-minute rounds each, where universities from across London went head-to-head in this amateur white-collar boxing event. We saw KCL and GKT, as well as, Imperial, UAL, UCL, and others.

KCLFC’s Zidan Goonesekere noted “It’s probably the most nervous thing I’ve ever done, and I don’t usually feel the pressure like that. I trained hard for eight weeks – it was insane and completely different to training in the gym. Special shoutout to Fight Night and the coaches at Don Davis who helped me get the win!”

KCLRFC were quick to praise fighters highlighting how their club did them proud.

Ella, from Student Fight Night, was keen to highlight how “Many fighters were already athletes at their respective universities, we watched them develop from uncertain beginners to confident and assertive boxers. The technical ability demonstrated by the fighters on the night exceeded all expectations, and they dazzled the crowd with their showmanship and determination to win. Overall, it was fantastic to watch the fighters be cheered on by their teammates and loved ones. We greatly look forward to the next London Fight Night Event, which will take place in March 2024.”

But all of this is for the OddBalls Foundation cause as they continue raise awareness for Testicular Cancer through removing stigma and encouraging conversation. Student Fight Night, says they are continuing to collate donations and hoping to reach £3,000 to add to the total donations in excess of £50,000 from all of the University Fight Nights this year. They also noted how “the cause is extremely close to us as a brand, so we’re beyond thrilled to be able to contribute in the way that we do.”

While there were wins from other universities, King’s saw three wins and one draw – more than any other university! The night saw some very bloody noses, but the effort and energy was unwavering for fighters and spectators.

And of course, the night ended in Dover Castle. Thank you to those who came, and for those who didn’t attend — don’t miss out in March 2024!

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