A fiery atmosphere ignited University of Brighton’s boxing show bonanza as the club reached new heights on a chilly Friday night.
16 bouts saw a marathon of boxing last over five hours as top amateurs from across the south competed at Greynore Hall on the Eastbourne campus.
Brighton coach Adam Haniver heralded the night as their biggest success to date.
The university’s student boxers fought in eight different bouts, achieving a respectable four wins and four defeats. It was a special night for Marcus Preston and Kara Baah who both won their debut fights.
Baah was able to hold off Whitstable’s Charlie Hayes to take victory in a split decision. The Sport Studies undergraduate celebrated in front of her emotional supporters who showered their boxer with hugs.
Preston received the biggest cheer of the night after stopping his opponent Raheem Ali in the third round with a technical knockout.
Crawley’s Ali left the ring with a bloodied nose and cut below his right eye after taking severe punishment from the powerful Preston.
The hundreds of people in attendance were well catered for by Greynore’s restaurant facilities as they cheered on their favourites. It was evidence of how far the club had come since their humble beginning.
Haniver, a graduate of the university, set up the club in 1997 with fellow students Casey Nachman and Shamus Kelly.
Brighton University became British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) champions in 2013 and will defend their title next week in Coventry at the preliminary rounds, with the finals being hosted in Sheffield next month.
The coach believes the club helps to build its students in both ability and character long after they graduate.
“I was at university between 1997 and 2000 and sometimes I forget what it is like to be in that position,” said Haniver. “For the students it shapes their university career and who they are.
“We have people who come in having never boxed before and suddenly they are doing really well at all aspects. It sends them in a new direction for life.”
Along with shaping the students, the club has blossomed over the past three years. The university has just paid for a new boxing ring for the club after their recent BUCS success. The ring was used at the show and acted as a platform for Haniver to demonstrate his fine work.
“Now we are beating clubs from all around the southern counties and we are BUCS champions so why can’t we compete with the ABC clubs.
Long after the lights were dimmed and the travellers departed, Haniver looked to the future.
“The next level is legacy. We want to get our members to box back at home and continue rather than it just be a fling at university that they tried. The aim is to keep them boxing for the rest of their sporting careers.”
The university has another bout scheduled for spring.