Review: Exhibition Fight Night 2014

On the evening of March 9th, University of York’s Boxing Club and MMA Club held their second Exhibition Fight Night, an event that has been widely anticipated since its inception last year. On the night, an epic fifteen different bouts of boxing and muay thai boxing took place in the Roger Kirk Centre, which had been transformed into an arena complete with a boxing ring taking centre stage.

Announcing the competitors into the ring, Student Union President Kallum Taylor kept the enormous audience of supporters and fans enthused.  Live DJ PBH ensured that the audience were in the party mood, playing banging tunes and great remixes of old favourites. Each competitor had chosen their entrance music, which ranged from “Heads Will Roll” by Yeah Yeah Yeahs to the Baywatch theme tune. This made for a tense but exciting atmosphere as competitors stepped into the boxing ring to the continual roars of the crowd. Thankfully, no one had chosen the now-clichéd “Eye of the Tiger” from Rocky.

Each bout consisted of a maximum of three two-minute long rounds. Six minutes does not sound like a substantial amount of time on paper. However, it was more than enough for displaying the skills and intricacies of both boxing and muay thai. Each competitor’s bout brought with it a palpable tension, which is a strong testament to the weeks of training that all the boxers had to endure.

I have never seen live boxing before. And all expectations of this event speedily dissipated within minutes of the first fight. I quickly went from almost fainting when a competitor drew first blood from his opponent to baying for blood with the rest of the crowd.

In fact, the vehement fury that some of the fighters brought to their matches (particularly of Ioan Nedelcu v Oliver Bradley – the first muay thai fight) would have you believe that these were all mortal enemies. However, any perceived enmity faded sharply as each pair congratulated one another on a fight well fought at the end of the bout.

An adrenaline-charged night with contagious exhilaration, the annual Exhibition Fight Night could become a permanent fixture on the sports calendar.