After Preston boxer Scott Fitzgerald’s Commonwealth success a new ‘fight club’ has sprung up in the city.
Controversial sport white collar boxing is about to light up Preston’s night life, as Ultra White Collar Boxing bosses have picked city centre Church Street club Evoque as the venue for their latest bout.
It will be held on October, 4 and organiser Jon Leonard, who runs bouts across the country, choose Preston for its potential.
He said: “We run events across the country but it is our first time coming to Preston. We get a group of complete beginners to train up and box at a black tie event.”
White collar boxing started at Gleason’s Gym in New York City in the 1980s and encourages office workers to fight it out in front of a host of dolled up guests.
Competitors receive eight weeks of intensive training and each bout is contested over three two minute rounds.
But the sport faced criticism after Liverpudlian Lance Ferguson-Prayogg died in hospital following a white collar boxing bout in Nottingham in June.
And Dave Fitzgerald, one of the founders of Preston’s Larches and Savick boxing club and gold medallist Scott’s father, is concerned about some of the safety aspects.
He said: “It is good that they are raising money for charity.
“But if the right medical staff are not in position then it should not go ahead.
“The difference in weight concerns me, in professional boxing they are very strict on matching up weights but sometimes in stuff like this people can be 10 kilos out, which is dangerous.”
Ultra White Collar Boxing has raised £226104.98 for Cancer Research UK so far and Jon insists that they will have the right medical staff on site.
He said: “At all White Collar Boxing events participants wear protective head gear and gloves, there are also paramedics and a doctor at all events to ensure the highest level of safety possible
“We match competitors to based on size and ability and we stick to the guidelines set out by the World White Collar Boxing Association.”
And Jon believes the glamour of the black tie policy for the audience is part of the sports appeal.
He said: “It is a throw back to the days when you had to wear a suit and tie to go to a night club.
“They are really popular events and we normally get around 500 spectators. It started in Derby five years ago. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity and a chance for people to step out of their comfort zone.”
For more, see www.ultrawhitecollarboxing.co.uk