White collar on its way?

An Englishman with a passion for combat sports wants to introduce white collar boxing to Cayman.

White collar boxing is a big fitness fad in the UK. It involves bouts between total novices who typically have white collar jobs and would like to experience a boxing match for real. White collar boxing started in New York about 20 years ago and spread to other cities across the world, especially London’s financial sector.

Maples lawyer James Burch believes it could catch on here too. ‘Boxing’s a great form of exercise, great discipline,’ he said. ‘A lot of boys cannot commit themselves to being pros or full amateur but they want to experience what it’s like being in the ring, in front of a crowd, but with the same level of safety, not getting themselves knocked out, but experiencing what the discipline is like.

‘In the UK white collar boxing really took off in the Nineties and basically what it entails is 12 weeks of intensive training and at the end of that you get to experience what it’s like to fight in the Lions Centre in front of hundreds of your friends, family and everyone else.

‘It’s a full-on experience, basically; walk-in music, cornermen, three two-minute rounds, 16oz gloves, full headgear, a fully trained referee. The chances of getting hurt are very limited even though it’s boxing and you are going to get hit.

‘There’s a medical before you start training and before you get into the ring. Everybody’s evenly matched on skill and weight so it’s like a championship thing.

‘In Cayman , especially in a venue like this, where you can get the local amateurs to be matched, would be great. We have some great amateurs on the island.

‘A lot of the corporate guys, who maybe boxed in the past, or are past 34 which is the amateur age limit, might be interested in this. It would be absolutely incredible.’

Burch has had six fights, including four amateur and two white collar. He won three of the amateur bouts. He coaches too.

‘The white collar is really about the experience, there aren’t really any winners and losers. If you’ve got the courage to get in the ring, put the gloves and fight that is the experience.’

The proceeds will be split between the Cayman Islands Amateur Boxing Association and a charity of the organiser’s choice. It’s a completely non-profit event.

‘What we do it for is to help the amateur boxing set up. We’ve got one boxer at the Olympic trials this week, Jesse Bodden, and we might have four or five fighters in the future going to the Commonwealth Games and they could do with the experience.

‘We could have four white collar bouts which could be Maples and Calder against Walkers or UBS against Goldman Sachs. Who knows? We’d like the big corporates to sponsor it and all the money would go to the community and charities.’

Burch feels this would be ideal for people who have watched boxing on TV. ‘This could be great for couch fighters who want to have a go.’

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