Boxing night should be a knockout
FROM a chef, to a scaffolder, to an IT sales rep – these novice boxers will be living the dream come fight night.
An event next month called Zero to Hero – White Collar Boxing will see 38 first-time pugilists put up their dukes in front of a cheering crowd of 1,500.
After ten weeks of expert training, the hopefuls – many of whom are fighting for charity – have been paired off to box for three, two-minute rounds at the City Academy in Lawrence Hill.
The competition is the brainchild of marketer Carl Busby, from Bedminster, and martial arts experts Jake O'Hagen and Andy Cleeves. It sold out of places for boxers and is expected to sell out the venue.
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Carl, 35, said: "We obviously thought it could be popular, but the response has been fantastic. Zero to Hero is all about your average bloke living the dream, like Rocky Balboa.
"They'll come out to their chosen music, choose their fighting name and be cheered on by 1,500 people, including family and friends."
Divided into rival camps – blue trained by Jake and red by Andy – they will square up in lightweight, middleweight and heavyweight bouts, wearing head guards and with trained medics on hand.
"We've had a real range of people on the programme, which is exactly what we wanted," said Carl. "None of them had boxed before, but the training programmes are very professional. Safety is obviously a high priority and the match-ups reflect that."
By day, Giles Pushman runs the cookery school at 102 Gloucester Road.
He will be trying to knock out Salvatore Notaro in a lightweight bout – and raise £2,000, through www.justgiving.com/Giles-Pushman, for Penny Brohn Cancer Care, the charity which has been supporting his mum Caroline, 60.
"The training has been intense," said Giles, 32. "The hardest thing is getting used to being hit. I'm a bit nervous but I'm sure when I'm in the ring the adrenaline will be flowing."
Heavyweight contender Mark Keightley, a quantity surveyor and Old Bristolians' rugby player, will be donating money to CLIC Sargent.
The 27-year-old, of Cheltenham Road, said: "I entered for a new challenge and to get fit. I'm really excited. I've sold 40 tickets but not all of them will be cheering me on – some of my mates have paid to watch me get knocked out!"
Tickets for the event on November 17 are at www.zerotoheroboxing.com.