White Collar boxing is no easy feat, just ask the undefeated duo Billy Kay and Callum Waldron. In the space of eight weeks these two went from complete novices to in ring competitors, fighting in front of a packed out Preston Guild Hall, all whilst raising money for charity.
Kay and Waldron both made their in-ring debuts on December 15 at Preston Guild Hall fighting for Ultra White-Collar Boxing. This came after an intensive eight-week training programme, which saw many fighters drop out.
Kay said: “I did training for eight weeks, every Monday and Wednesday at 20:30 for an hour, and I has some private sessions as well.”
Waldron,21, also said that he initially struggled with the intensity of the training regime but came through it stronger and in the shape of his life. He said: “It was pretty tough to try and get to the level where I felt I had to be in just eight weeks from where I started. We had two hour long coaching sessions a week and then the rest was up to us, I’d train for two or three hours each day, six days a week.”
UWCB Preston allows people to fulfil their dreams of stepping in the ring after training for eight weeks for Larches and Savick’s gym in Preston, the home of WBA International Super Welterweight champion Scott Fitzgerald, who is signed to the Eddie Hearn promotion Matchroom Boxing. Sessions take place for an hour, twice every week, and boxers are encouraged to also take part in private sessions to help hone their technique, and to give them the best chance to win on fight night. All that Larches and Savick ask for in exchange for the free tuition is that the competitors raise as much as possible for Cancer Research UK. In total the event has raised £130,152 in Preston alone since its inception.
This is one of the main reasons why Kay joined the programme. He said: “I did White collar boxing to raise money for cancer research. A friend of the family recently passed away back in the summer time, so I was raising money for his cause as well.” (My family) thinks it’s amazing they had my backing and everything, they hoped I’d win, everyone did.”
Similarly, Waldron, born in Cumbria spoke about his personal reasons for wanting to raise money for Cancer Research UK. He said: “I’ve lost family members to cancer, my Nan had it, it’s certainly something that I hold close to my heart. It’s great to help out, hopefully we can find a cure and better treatments, people won’t have to go through that pain and suffering. I saw it as a good opportunity to push myself and give my training in the gym a purpose, not only that but the event was set up like a big deal, and most importantly it raised money for a great cause.
The event was held in Preston Guild Hall, and raised £9,309 for the charity, Kay set himself a target of raising £100 for his fight, and smashed the target, finishing up with £135 in the end, Waldron also set himself a target of £150.
The duo received training from retired ex-professional boxer and Prestonian boxer Paul John Morris. Morris gained fame in the local area, but he enjoyed little success throughout his career between the ropes, winning just five of his 39 fights, losing 32. He seems to have taken to his role as a trainer better than in ring, inspiring new wannabe fighter year round whilst hosting White collar training sessions at the gym.
Waldron was impressed with the knowledge that Morris passed on to the fighters, he said: “it was great having him as a coach, the experience and knowledge that he had was unreal, it helps greatly being able to trust in your coaches ability and what they are saying, knowing that you can listen and trust their advice in the lead up and especially when he’s In your corner on the night of the fight.”
Kay, born in Salford, won his fight in the second round by TKO, whilst Waldron also won his fight, on decision from the judges.
Kay,24, used the training as a form of escapism from the daily grind of working in a supermarket. He has worked at Tesco since 2014 and saw the chance to step in the ring as an opportunity he couldn’t turn down.
Waldron enjoyed the experience so much that he thinks that he’ll step in the ring again in the near future, speaking about his desire to get between the ropes again, he said: “I’d love to step back in the ring, but I would like do it as a proper amateur instead of another white-collar event if so.”
If you’ve been inspired by Waldron and Kay’s story and fancy trying your hand at White Collar Boxing, then you can do. UWCB run events year-round in over 100 locations in the UK, including a whole host of North West locations such as Preston, Blackpool, Manchester and Warrington to name a few.