Olympics spark a mixed-gender boxing boom at University

Brighton University Boxing Club
Brighton University Boxing Club

The boxing club are on their way to become knockout champions at University of Brighton this year.

Coming off ‘the summer of sport’ the club were given a lift from Team GB’s Olympic success in boxing with gold medals won by Nicola Adams and Anthony Joshua.

Brighton University Boxing Club

Brighton University Boxing Club

Adam Haniver, one of the founding members of the club in 1997 said, “It is the Nicola Adams’ effect where women are now going boxing and asking where they can get involved – which is great.”

Current head coach Haniver has been overwhelmed by the boost in participation – by both males and females – so he is trying to get some of the experienced boxers to complete coaching courses to help out.

He added, “Some of the students here are studying teaching courses anyway so it is useful for them as part of their education.”

Coach Haniver has created a dynamic relationship with his boxers through being an ex-student of the University. Having graduated a decade ago he still knows what it is like to be a student which gives him a friendly connection during training. However, he isn’t afraid to pull any punches with his advice which is clear in the team’s reactions.

Club Captain Amber Withers had never boxed before coming to the University. Thanks to the work of Adam Haniver and the club she has progressed to become the first female boxer to compete for the Institution.

She said, “I noticed boxing and started for fitness then I fell in the trap. I got coached and started fighting and it was such a welcoming club so it was easy.”

Withers’ believes the Olympics gave her sport the coverage it needed to get more people involved.

“Thanks to the Olympics a lot of people know what it is about and people new to the sport were coming up to us really enthusiastically. There were hardly any girls before but now there are four girls carded [qualified to box] and I competed last year.”

As if it wasn’t going well enough, last year at the National University competition known as BUCS, the team brought back one silver and three gold medals giving them a huge raise.

Club President Jamie Marshall became Cruiserweight Champion last year for the University.

After time to reflect on his achievement he said, “Winning gold at BUCS last year was amazing, I could not believe the guys I was beating. They had much better records than mine and it was daunting but my boxing style took over. In the final I came up against a more defensive style, but still managed to win and destroyed him.”

Champion Marshall gave credit to the training he has received here on the south coast, “I boxed before coming to Uni but when I came here I was being taught things I never knew. In the South there are more experienced coaches.”

Club Captain Withers concluded that at boxing’s present state post-London 2012 the club has achieved equality between the sexes and it is stronger than ever. She said, “Boys and girls come together and there is a respect for one another. You don’t get that at many other sports.

“We are trying to make a name for ourselves and become the club from Brighton Uni that everyone knows.”