Want to see an accountant and a lawyer shed their shirts and ties and slug it out in the boxing ring? Ever had the urge to learn how to throw a proper punch, even though you usually only push pencils? White collar boxing is a form of boxing where men and women in white collar professions train to fight at special events.
It’s not quite “Fight Club”, but it’s no less explosive. This sport, made popular in the mid-1990s in New York, made its South African debut in Cape Town, but is now ready to hit Joburg. World Boxing Entertainment in association with Top Box Gymnasium, will be hosting Joburg’s first white collar boxing tournament at Tanz Café on 21 September. Renowned as the top live music venue in Joburg, Tanz Café knows how to entertain, and Top Box Gymnasium will ensure that the boxing is top-notch.
The headline fight on the night is between Byron Nieuwstad, a 37-year-old business and family man, and Mark Shepherd, a 51-year-old sports fanatic who owns his own business and is the current South African Formula 1 power boat captain. They have been training hard for their match-up, which will be the last of 10 thrilling fights scheduled for the evening.
Apart from the action in the ring, there will be gorgeous ring girls, prizes and music to ensure an evening of superb entertainment, whether you are a boxing enthusiast or are simply looking for a night out with a difference.
Tickets are R50 and are available from Stephen Castle (available on 082 496 9308) or from the Tanz Café website.
FLUX Mag chatted with Stephen “The People’s Champ” Castle about the event and this is what he had to say…
Even though it’s called White Collar Boxing, surely there must be some kind of professional training and preparation involved before the match. How do the fighters go about getting themselves fight-ready?
Most of the white collar fighters are already part of a physical training programme or involved in a sport of their choice. They are however coached beforehand by technical advisors how to spar and then move on to boxing-related training. White Collar Boxing is basically competitive sparring. There is no loser on fight night – both fighters step out of the ring as winners. White Collar Boxing training is a supplement to each fighter’s existing training regimen.
Is there an age limit?
We only accept fighters from 20 years old and up. Your youngest contender is 20 and currently, our oldest is well into his 50s.
When you think of boxing, you think of hard knocks and a fair measure of blood. What kind of rules and regulations have the organisers put into place to ensure the safety of the contenders?
As I said earlier there are no losers – both fighters are winners. Each fight is refereed by professionals who have had extensive training and experience in the boxing industry. Safety precautions include headgear, 16-ounce gloves, gum guards and medical staff on hand. Obviously you’ll get the occasional bloody nose, but nobody’s out to beat anyone to a pulp – it is a fun, entertaining way to bring boxing back to the people and we classify it as competitive sparring. There are three two minute rounds with a one minute break between each. Fighters are well looked after and carefully monitored.
How often will the White Collar Boxing event take place?
Well, we have our next fight scheduled for November – I’m confident that this first event will set the stage for a whole new trend and give new meaning to a fun night out on the town. We will have ring girls, live music, giveaways and it is essentially, a sporting social event.