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White collar boxing

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Title: White collar boxing  
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Subject: Boxing
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White collar boxing

White-collar boxing is a form of boxing in which men and women in white-collar professions train to fight at special events. Most have had no prior boxing experience.

US origins of the sport

The Hollywood were white collar boxers.

U.K. development

Event management consultant Alan Lacey, who co-promoted the Gleason's Gym and box there. On the flight back to London, Lacey decided White Collar Boxing could flourish in London.

In July 2000, the inaugural White Collar Boxing event, in collaboration with Gleason's owner Bruce Silverglade, saw a team of Wall Street bankers fly to London to compete on "Capital Punishment" at Broadgate Arena in the City, generating massive interest and media coverage. Lacey boxed twice on the night and subsequently devoted his time and energy to developing the sport exclusively since. Over 100 sold out events have followed "Capital Punishment", including “Celebrity Boxing” on the BBC in 2003 featuring, among others, Les Dennis, Ricky Gervais and Grant Bovey, and raising more than ₤1.5 million for various charities.

The Real Fight Club's first gym opened in the heart of the City in 2006, offering a sort of boxing experience. Throughout the recent recession, surprisingly the gym became even busier, providing an outlet to vent stress and frustration for those hit by the banking crash. At one point it counted 550 active members drawn from the banking and legal professions. However, since the close of the Real Fight Club's gym the organisation lost ground to new competing white collar organisations in London like White Collar Boxing London

Bristol (UK) is the home of Zero To Hero White Collar Boxing and was launched in September 2012. Contenders sign up for a 10 week training programme which culminates in a fight night at the end to showcase the achievements of the Contenders. Contenders train together for 6 weeks at which point they are matched and then split into their respective Red & Blue camps for the final 4 weeks of the programme under Principle trainers & supporting instructors who also act as their corner team on fight night. Contenders are matched on factors such as weight, technical ability, spirit & physical fitness by the Principle trainers & programme directors. The programme offers Contenders a once in a lifetime chance to compete on a grand stage in a professional and safe environment.

The start of regulation

In 2001, Lacey and Bruce Silverglade co-founded the International White Collar Boxing Association (IWCBA), the first and to this day main advisory and sanctioning body in the field, designed to regulate the bouts with a focus on safety. The IWCBA uses the same weight divisions of professional boxing and awards a belt to the champions of each weight category. Matchmaking of non-title bouts is based on level of experience as much as actual weight. It also rigorously requires the presence of an experienced doctor an anesthetist and a paramedic unit at ringside as well as thorough medical checks. Over 1,500 bouts have been sanctioned by the IWCBA over the years, with zero injuries aside from bloody noses. In 2007, the World White Collar Boxing Association (WWCBA) was founded in London to regulate and promote the sport throughout the world. The WWCBA provides a common platform in the form of rules and guidelines allowing boxers to become ranked nationally, regionally and globally and to contest for championship titles. In 2008 the WWCBA sanctioned 9 events throughout the world. The WWCBA works with local and regional boxing authorities such as AIBA to ensure strong standards.


Bouts are usually three two-minute rounds, unlike the longer 3×3 minutes in the Amateur Code for men and 4×2 minutes for women. The UK and US versions have traditionally been "no decision" but the many events in Asia Pacific are contested under WWCBA sanctioning and thus require a decision. Prominent promoters of white-collar boxing include Vanda Promotions in Asia Pacific (Hong Kong and Singapore), and Fight Knights, Ringtone Gym, The Real Fight Club and Cityboxer, all in London.

The first large gala events included the Boodles Boxing Ball series attended by Prince Harry as well as the "Hedge Fund Fight Nite" raising over $200,000 for charity both initially organized/staged by The Real Fight Club.

In 2005 a purely non-profit Black-Tie Gala at the London Hilton organized by The David Adams Leukaemia Appeal Fund & Mr King with more than 950 dinner guests raised over £100,000 for The Royal Marsden Hospital Cancer Campaign on the night. It was the largest event of its kind until 2013, see below.

In April 2009 a gala at Suntec Singapore Exhibition and Convention Centre staged by Vanda Promotions had more than 900 black-tie guests.

On Saturday, 18 July 2009, the Channel Island of Jersey held its first White Collar Boxing event. Nine fights were watched by over 600 paying black-tied guests at the Hotel de France, raising around £15,000 for local charities.

On 17 November 2012, the first season fight night of Zero To Hero was held at the City Academy in Bristol and was attended by over 1200 guests, making it the largest event of white-collar boxing to have taken place of this kind in the world to date. 32 contenders competed, facing up to three two-minute rounds each with eight bouts being won by the Blue Camp and eight by the Red Camp. All bouts ended in a decision either by points or TKO.

On 13 October 2012, Neilson Promotions, a Swindon-based white collar boxing promotor, put on the largest show of its kind to date. A venue verified attendance of 1398 watched ten contests at the Oasis Leisure Centre in Swindon with the main event seeing Dave 'Bam Bam' Gregory retain his NP Heavyweight title against Rich 'The Tank' Loveday over three rounds.

On sat 1st dec 2012, Swindon Fightclub promotions put on the largest show to date, with an attendance of 1600 people. As they watched 9 fantastic bouts at the Meca Venue ( Fights included seeing local heavyweight champ "Big" Phil Williams claim 1st place in the heavyweight Prizefighter, and former professional Craig Leadbeater return to the ring.

On the 20th April 2013, Vanda Promotions (part of Vanda Sports Group) held its 24th event in Singapore making the series the longest consecutive White Collar Boxing in the history of the sport. A verified attendance of 1,943 attended the black tie event at the Raffles Convention Centre which brought total attendance over the 5 year history of the events to 15,491. The event also saw Vanda move past the $2 million mark for funds raised for children's charities in Asia and for the continued funding of the Vanda Wing at Children's Surgical Centre in Cambodia. Vanda was also the recipient of the "Promoter of the year award" for the fourth consecutive year from the World White Collar Boxing Association (WWCBA).


16 oz. gloves are standard in the white collar boxing ring in order to protect competitors from heavy blows and hand injuries. Some gyms permit 14 oz. gloves as well for lighter weight classes and female competitors. Moreover, headgear, groin protectors, and mouthguards are essential requirements inside the ring.

External links

  • The Economist (Intelligent Life) 2005: "White men can box"
  • London Evening Standard, 17 Oct 2003 (page 3): "Fight club for City boys "
  • Business Week article on White Collar Boxing
  • USA Today article
  • BBC article on Real Fight Club and criticism from the British Boxing Board of Control
  • Independent article on white collar boxers risking injury
  • Daily Telegraph article on Boodles Boxing Ball attended by Princes Harry and William
  • The London Paper on white collar boxing
  • The Independent, Sunday 9 July 2000"White collar warriors will live out their fantasies as Broadgate prepares for "Capital Punishment"
  • The Evening Standard, Friday 14 July 2000,"The City Fight Club"
  • The Times, Saturday 15 July 2000, "City brokers trade blows with Wall Street",
  • The, July 2002, "Sport Relief wants to see you on July 12",
  • The Daily Mail, Sunday 20 October 2002, "Is this celebrity match really what we want on tv?",
  • London Evening Standard Article The Gloves are on-London's Boxing Boom retelling the story of The Real Fight CLub with extra details, 25 March 2011

See also

  • Fight Club (novel)
  • Fight Club (film)

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