Last night was the culmination of 5 months of planning.
18 untrained amateurs signed up in October for a little evening of boxing to raise a little cash.
The reality? Christ, it grew and grew, almost unstoppable at the end.
18 lean and mean athletes turned up last night, unrecognisable from the crew that rocked up to meet Ali and Lee one wet night in Acton.
Seasoned boxers, TV people, and a host of the famous said it was one of the most professionally organised ‘shows’they’d ever seen.
Every one of the pugilists was there to win, make no mistake, and every fight was close. It kicked off with the twin brothers, Guy and Nick, beating the shit out of eachother, to be frank.
Forty years of sibling rivalry? Well at the end, after 6 minutes of trying to knock eachother over, I reckon they’ve never felt so much love for eachother as they did at the end, arms round one another.
Fittingly, the referee called it a draw.
I think everyone was secretly pleased about that.
Emma and Sharon next up.
Both convinced they’d win, no bookie’s favourite.
I know Emma well, and admire Sharon’s attitude greatly. I’m not allowed to be biased, but they both had a hundred very partisan supported in the hall.
Three rounds of 100% later, Sharon shaved it, though lots disagreed.
The rest were in stunned silence by what we’d witnessed out there, between 2 ladies maybe old enough to know better…?
Third bout: Dan and Paul.
Club owner vs paying member.
Surely he’s not allowed to smack the crap out of a member?
Thankfully perhaps that didn’t happen. Definitely the 2 most skilled fighters in the event, it was always going to be hard to call. Dan has the power to inflict a lot of damage, and Paul the skill set to avoid it, and accumulate hits.
When Dan did corner Paul he got some great shots in, but too few for the referee.
Great contest, verdict : Paul, by one round.
Johnny Nelson’s ( ex World Champ ) comment, hurled at the ref…?
‘You shoulda gone to Specsavers!’
When I pointed out that I am a specsavers director, he changed it to ‘ Oi! You shoulda gone to see Russ! ‘
All highly amusing.
Next Khallium vs Quincy:
Talk about the lead changing hands.. K was like a man possessed, battering Q into next week, only for Q to totally turn it around through guile and some bloody hard shots.
The last round was brutal, and it took a brave man to pick a winner.
Johnny called K, Adam Smith called Q…
Ref’s verdict: Quincy by a round.
Next: April ( lovely, sweet girl next door ) vs Alex ( last minute sub, and the bigger fighter by a lot.
Pre start, you’d have feared for April. 30 seconds in, and Alex realised she was there for the fight of her life!
Anybody who thought the girls fights were there as a side show was put right.
I for one, wouldn’t be a hapless bulgar breaking into April’s flat, while she was at home..
Verdict: April, but massive credit to Alex for having the bottle to be there.
Next: Leslie and Ben
No quarter given for 3 rounds at all. Conceding height and reach, Ben was always going to have a tough job on his gloves, but his heart was certainly big enough to win.
Verdict: Leslie ‘ the Artist’
Next Paul vs Alex
This one was always gonna be interesting, Alex 12 years younger and a personal trainer, Paul a successful businessman with little history of physical pursuits, and the main event sponsor ( Orchards of London – sales and Lettings )
Both lovely guys, and again both dead set on the prize.
I have to say, they went hammer and tongs at eachother for 3 rounds, neither backing off, and both exhausted by the end.
2 minutes per round doesn’t sound like a lot, but when you throw a punch a second , it really is.
Verdict: Alex, but for attitude and commitment, they drew.
The finale was Ian vs Pat.
Both employees at the Park Club, and pre this , neither the sort to throw a punch at anyone.
Ian must have lost 3 stones in training and Pat learnt a lot about not getting hit by the bigger man.
Come the night, Pat forgot all about his pre fight tactics and went head to head.
To say it was brutal was an understatement. Blood was spilled, and nothing was left of either of them at the final bell.
Fascinating to watch, but not for the feint hearted.
So who do I thank?
Well all 1300 people there, including the fighters, the staff, the caterers, the ref ( Steve ), the people behind the scenes, Sky TV, the presenters, the compere ( the one and only Adrian Chiles), Tim Slater ( who did so much to make it happen ).. The absolutely gorgeous Ring Girls, the boys and girls dance troupes, the people who had to clean up afterwards and those who served drinks long into the night.
Most of all though to Dan White, the living legend, and to Lee and Ali, the boxing brains behind the event in the first place and who have taken 18 rank amateurs and turned them into proficient killing machines in just 11 weeks.
Those 2 guys will be my friends for life, if they’ll have me.