Boxing at university is often viewed as a lad-infested, testosterone-fuelled group of Northern blokes looking to beat the living daylights out of each other. Yep, this is exactly what it’s like. Only joking…. boxing at university is not like that at all and actually is similar to all other AU sports clubs (just slightly better of course). What’s more, you don’t even have to punch anyone, unless you actually want to. I was fortunate to be part of the boxing club while I was at university and would one hundred percent recommend it to other students. I hadn’t done any boxing before university, but by the time I left I had a bout in the SU fight night in front of hundreds of people. So here’s why it is the perfect time for you to join your University Boxing Club:
British Boxing is Buzzing at the Moment
Boxing has a real buzz about it right now and there are so many role models, talking points and professional fights to capture your interest. On 31st May one of the biggest British re-matches ever will take place at Wembley Stadium between Carl Froch and George Groves. In July Derek Chisora will fight Tyson Fury in a World Title Eliminator meaning that a British heavyweight will fight Wladimir Klitschko for his world titles by the end of the year. Plus, Britain had a great bunch of amateurs in London 2012, who are starting to make their way through the rankings at a professional level. Anthony Joshua, especially, is putting in some thunderous performances. If all that doesn’t inspire you, I’m not sure what will!
Women have Role Models in the Sport
Boxing has been seen almost exclusively as a male sport for many years. Luckily this has changed and women’s participation in the sport has rocketed. The achievements of Nichola Adams in the 2012 Olympics were incredible for women’s boxing and have already encouraged so many to take up the sport. What’s more, most clubs are actively recruiting women as well as men to strengthen their squads.
Above: Women's Boxing at London 2012
You don’t Have to Fight
Most think you’ll turn up at boxing and instantly be punched in the face by someone who’s been doing it for years in the name of ‘character-building’. Not the case at all. You’ll only spar or actually have bouts if you want to. Plus, the coach will decide when you’re ready and only put you up against someone of a similar standard or maybe just a little better.
…But you Can if you Want
Forget bungee jumping off some bridge Down Under, if you want an adrenalin rush you should box. The one-on-one competition, the mix of aggression and skill and the knowledge that if you make a mistake you get punched in the face makes it a real buzz when you’re in the ring. The trick is to channel this adrenaline and aggression and allow your skill and technique to outmanoeuvre your opponent. Many don’t like the idea of going head-to-head against someone in such a physical contest, but if you do, boxing is the way to do it.
Whether you fight or just go for the skills work, the fitness is incredible. When workouts involve exercises like ‘suicides’ and ‘bastards’ you know it’s going to be tough! Boxing workouts engage all muscle groups and help build strength, power and fitness. Plus, with a coach ‘encouraging’ you to push yourself, it is a lot more effective than a half-paced gym workout.
Above: If you're going to do boxing, be prepared for press-ups...
It’s a Little Different
When I was boxing, people seemed interested in what it was like. I always believed that many people would have liked to try it but were a bit nervous about actually going alone. Boxing is clearly one of the most watched sports in the UK and people do talk about it. However, this doesn’t always lead to people trying it out. So don’t just go along to intra-mural football next year - try boxing instead.
Again, boxing socials tend to have a bad reputation at universities and I can understand why people think that. However, they are no worse than the rugby, football or even cricket socials which occur on a Wednesday night. There’s almost a belief that because it is the boxing club, they are going to start fights on nights out. This isn’t the case and the socials are almost always good-natured fun and encourage club bonding; like they do with all team sports. Plus, the Wednesday AU nights are almost always the best anyway! What’s more, depending on how seriously students take it and what events are coming up, there will be times when squad members aren’t drinking alcohol at all, so there is actually more scope for non-drinking socials too.
Boxing isn’t going to be the sport for everyone and we’ve all got mothers who may prefer we didn’t take up boxing. However, if you do fancy giving it a go don’t let rumours and stereotypes put you off. Personally, it was one of the best things I did at University and it could be the same for you. If the Boxing Club is affiliated to the University there will be extra care taken with regards to safety and welfare, so there’s no need to worry about joining in and seeing if you like it.