Many people identify this style of boxing with disgruntled city boys or the 1999 film Fight Club, starring Brad Pitt and Edward Norton. However, in recent years, the term's meaning has broadened.
It all started in the 1990s on Wall Street, when city youths were training at well-known amateur boxing gyms and decided to have a fight as well. Then it moved to London's City, and now it's in pretty much every financial centre on the planet. In cities like Singapore, Shanghai, and Hong Kong, it's quite popular.
White-collar boxing is a type of boxing where people who work in white-collar jobs train to fight in special events. The majority of the participants have never boxed before.
Charity fights at black-tie parties, for example, or celebrity contests like Ricky Gervais vs. Grant Bovey.
In the middle, there's a wide range of unregulated and unlicensed activities that are still legal.
It's simply a freer, more laissez-faire environment in which many individuals are now choosing to fight because it's simpler to organize fights, there's less paper work, they don't have to go to pre-fight discussions and meetings, and they don't have to go to regular health checks. Simply said, there is less regulation.
How It All Started
Gleason's Gym in New York City is where white-collar boxing began. In the late 1980s, gym owner Bruce Silverglade began organizing casual fights between his clientele's white-collar professionals, which grew into recurring monthly events. The sport rose to prominence in the mid-1990s, thanks to the efforts of boxing promoter Alan Lacey, who turned it into a recurring monthly event.
By 2004, more than 65 percent of Gleason's Gym members were from a white-collar background, up from 10% in the early 1990s. The surge in membership from this group has been credited with keeping boxing gyms profitable in the United States and the United Kingdom.
Alan Lacey, an event management consultant who co-promoted the WBO middleweight championship battle between Gary Stretch and Chris Eubank in 1991, just discovered boxing training at the age of 45.
Over the next few years, he became enamoured with the sport and began training with former European champion Jimmy McDonnell and multiple Olympian and world title challenger Adrian Dodson, who, having spent most of his youth at Gleason's Gym in New York, encouraged Lacey to pursue his dream of boxing, even at the age of 48, and arranged for him to visit Gleason's to box there.
Lacey determined on the journey back to London that white-collar boxing could thrive in the city.
In July 2000, in partnership with Gleason's owner Bruce Silverglade, the first white-collar boxing event, "Capital Punishment," witnessed a team of Wall Street bankers travel to London to battle at Broadgate Arena, attracting intrigue and media attention.
Lacey boxed twice that night and has since focused solely on the sport's development. Following "Capital Punishment," there have been over 100 sold-out events, including "Celebrity Boxing" on the BBC in 2003, which featured Les Dennis and Ricky Gervais and raised over £1.5 million for different charities.
How Dangerous the Game Is?
Lance Ferguson-Prayogg, a white-collar fighter, fainted during a fight in Nottingham's The Forum nightclub on June 21, 2014. He was rushed to the hospital by paramedics, but he died the next day. His death was eventually traced to the usage of diet pills rather than boxing, according to an autopsy.
Mostly it is played safe and good quality equipments are used. In the white-collar boxing arena, sixteen-ounce gloves are required to protect competitors from hard punches and hand damage. For lesser weight classes and female athletes, some gyms allow 14 oz gloves. Furthermore, within the ring, headgear, groyne protection, and mouthguards are required.
It's a physically hard activity, and when your body tires, your hands begin to sag, making you more vulnerable to taking additional shots.
Lacey and Bruce Silverglade co-founded the International White Collar Boxing Association (IWCBA) in 2001, the first and still the most important advisory and sanctioning body in the profession, with the goal of regulating matches with a focus on safety. The IWCBA uses the same weight categories as professional boxing and gives each weight category's champion a belt.
Non-title matches are matched based on level of expertise rather than actual weight. A team of minimum 3 paramedics, an ambulance, and a medical examination before and after is a must.
The IWCBA has sanctioned over 1,500 bouts throughout the years, with no injuries other than bloody noses. In the United Kingdom and the United States, bouts sanctioned by the IWBCA are the most common.
The World White Collar Boxing Association (WWCBA) was created in London, United Kingdom, in 2007 to govern and promote the sport around the world, with a focus on the Asia–Pacific area. The WWCBA provides a common platform in the form of rules and procedures that allows boxers to compete for championship titles on a national, regional, and worldwide level.
The WWCBA sanctioned nine competitions across the world in 2008. To achieve high standards, the WWCBA collaborates with other boxing organizations such as the amateur International Boxing Association (AIBA).
Bouts are normally three 2-minute rounds ("3-2" format), as opposed to the Amateur Code's three 3-minute rounds (3-3) for men and 4-2 format for women. In the absence of a knock-out, IWCBA matches have typically been "no decision" draws (tied), whereas the WWCBA ranking system requires all fights to be decided on a win-loss basis.
The Boodles Boxing Ball series, which was attended by Prince Harry, and the "Hedge Fund Fight Nite," which raised over $200,000 for charity, were the first significant grand events, both of which were arranged by The Real Fight Club.
In 2005, more than 950 black-tie dinner guests attended a strictly non-profit black-tie event at the London Hilton hosted by The David Adams Leukaemia Appeal Fund & Mr King, which collected over £100,000 for The Royal Marsden Hospital Cancer Campaign. Until 2013, it was the biggest tournament of its kind.
Vanda Promotions hosted an event in April 2009 at Suntec Singapore Exhibition & Convention Centre, which drew over 900 black-tie guests.
The Channel Island of Jersey had its inaugural white-collar boxing event on Saturday, July 18, 2009. Over 600 paying, black-tie guests witnessed nine fights at the Hotel de France, raising roughly £15,000 for local charity.
WCB is a relatively young name in the industry. WCB allows boxers to generate money for a charity of their choice by hosting sold-out shows at prestigious venues and follows all standards of the IWCBA.
WCB uses the same weight categories as professional boxing and gives each weight category's champion a belt.
A venue in London, people call it the “Home of British Boxing” which was originally built for bathing.
Many believe York Hall on Old Ford Road to be the birthplace of British boxing, with the blood of innumerable boxing stars sealing its earthy, never-ending reputation.
Today, York Hall is world-famous and well-loved and is used for both swimming and boxing, but it was once on the verge of being demolished.
Let’s take a look at this classic, old, master-piece building which is also the favorite venue for WCB that organizes almost its every show and Championship right in this pleasing hall.
Origin of York Hall
The York Hall which is also famous as the "York Hall Recreation Centre” is a multi-purpose indoor venue and leisure center located on Old Ford Road in Bethnal Green, London.
The structure, which had a seating capacity of 1,200 when it was opened in 1929, is today an international boxing stadium and the WCB's largest venue. Performances, Concerts, and other live events are held in the main hall, and there is also a local gymnasium and a swimming pool.
The Duke and Duchess of York, from whom it gets its name, opened York Hall in 1929. The hall, which seats 1,200 people, was created by A.E. Darby, the municipal engineer, and architect.
York Hall was built with the intention of becoming a new public bath complex with first and second-class swimming pools. It cost £125,000 to build and included slipper baths, Turkish and Russian spas, and public laundry service.
The first-class pool was decommissioned in the 1950s, and the second-class pool was refurbished. Around this period, York Hall began staging boxing tournaments.
Boxing Champions to Create History
Boxing has a rich history in Bethnal Green. Daniel Mendoza, the English heavyweight champion from 1792 to 1795, resided for over thirty years at 3 Paradise Row in Bethnal Green. He was also known as ‘Mendoza the Jew,' and he opened his own gym and wrote a book called "The Art of Boxing". He was best known for his fights with his boxing idol, Richard Humphries.
Joe Anderson, a boxer who lived in Bethnal Green from 1869 to 1943, was famous as the ‘All England' champion in 1897. Boxers like Mendoza and Anderson were instrumental in bringing East London into the spotlight for boxing.
WCB’s first show was held in this hall and a tough white-collar guy, James Topping was the first WCB heavyweight crowned there - and then WCB perpetuates the legacy...
Other champions started as amateurs in bouts at York Hall and are more recent boxing heroes, despite the fact that the first two stars were before York Hall's period. In 1990, for example, Lennox Lewis notably faced Noel Quarless at the arena.
Lewis was a three-time world heavyweight and lineal champion in pro boxing. He's also known for defeating Mike Tyson in a boxing match in 2002.
Joe Calzaghe defeated Frank Minton in an incredible 85 seconds in 1995. Calzaghe took the world record for the longest surviving super-middleweight champion, having held the title for more than a decade.
The York Hall boxing ring canvas has been smeared with the blood of numerous champion boxers. David Haye, the former world champion, had his debut fight at York Hall and went on to have four more there.
Carl Froch, the super-middleweight champion, Nigel Benn both had their first four paid fights at York Hall.
Big names like Chris Eubank, the iconic "Prince" Naseem Hamed, the "Gipsy King" Tyson Fury as well as Anthony Joshua... They all fought in York Halll.
WCB’s first show was held in this hall and a tough white-collar guy, James Topping was the first WCB heavyweight crowned there - and then WCB perpetuates the legacy in White-Collar Boxing.
York Hall-On The Verge Of Being Knocked Out
The majority of people thought York Hall will be demolished in 2003. It was rumored that £1.5 million penthouse residences would be built in its place. Despite being on the boundaries, it drew a sizable crowd for the North East London Divisional Championships in 2003, with an attendance of around 1200 people.
Despite the fact that it was the town's major recreational complex at the time, the council found it hard to explain what they considered was a future burden on the society, with an annual ongoing maintenance of £600,000.
However, it was well-loved. The London Pools campaign and the Bethnal Green Sharks swimming club opposed the closure, while promoters considered turning the venue into a boxing museum to save it.
The historic building was saved by the bell, just like a beaten boxer in over his head, and the referee with the fix was Greenwich Leisure. They agreed to have the Hall renovated and kept for a period of 15 years. The community won a battle, and the Hall was saved.
York Hall Today
York Hall was given a multi-million-pound makeover a year after its spectacular demolition as part of a collaboration among Tower Hamlets council and Greenwich Leisure.
York Hall was transformed into a leisure complex with a renovated pool and a larger gymnasium, as well as a health spa in the basement area that offered a variety of treatments and a multi-use events hall.
Greenwich Leisure, or GLL, is the largest nonprofit social company in the United Kingdom, with the name ‘Better.' They run 238 public sports and recreation facilities in addition to York Hall.
The facility is well-known not only for boxing but also for wrestling. York Hall has hosted shows for prominent promotions such as Revolution Pro Wrestling, IMPACT Wrestling, and Ring of Honor.
Today, the main theatre features a 280-seat balcony that overlooks the ring, giving it the feel of a beautiful amphitheater. The boxing hall's intimate, rustic vibe adds to the ambiance during bouts and draws the public closer together.
WHITE COLLAR BOXING
WCB White Collar Boxing offers working professionals a ‘once in a lifetime’ opportunity to live out their Boxing dream – whether you are a complete Beginner, Novice, Martial Artist, or former Amateur that always wanted that Championship belt! A winner of several awards, we stage premium White Collar Boxing events at some of London’s most prestigious venues, delivering a unique and classy experience that is undefeated in today’s market!
Unlike our competitors, WCB is unique in that it focuses principally on one thing – YOU! We make every provision to make you feel like a PRO/CELEBRITY BOXER throughout the process – which includes giving you choices on when and where to train, which charity you would like to support, through to who you would like in your corner, what attire you would like to wear and what music you would like to come out to!
Let's face it - White Collar Boxing is a dangerous Sport. Unlike some competitors, WCB take a more personal approach to ensure you are ready and most importantly - SAFE. We monitor your progress via regular assessment, where you will get the chance to test your boxing skills and gain feedback from our experienced Coaches. We work with some of the best Boxing Gyms around London to help you become the best version of yourself. Respect your safety and don't be a product!
Our White Collar Boxing events boast as being the slickest and most professional on offer in today’s market to ensure your fans and supporters in attendance feel just as special as you! With a combination of Standard Seating, Balcony Seating, Ringside and VIP Ringside in the WORLD FAMOUS HOME OF BRITISH BOXING – YORK HALL - you and your entourage will almost certainly feel compelled to enjoy the whole event.
WCB make every provision to make your fight as exhilarating, yet safe as those you’ve seen on TV. This includes commissioning a team of officials such as a Master of Ceremonies, professional Referee, qualified Medical team, independent Judge, timekeeper and option to use one of our experienced Coaches in your corner. You will walk out to your own music with a crowd cheering you on with a multitude of lights and special effects as you step through those ropes! After your contest, you will be interviewed in the ring by our Master of Ceremonies, before joining your friends and family in the audience.
Unlike many of our competitors, we will support you step-by-step to take your Boxing experience as far as you desire. We offer returning participants the opportunity to climb the rankings and fight for our ultimate prize – the magnificent WCB championship belt! With our coveted Championship titles up for grabs in twelve weight divisions, you will have the chance to become one of our star front runners on future shows, testing yourself to the max to win, then defend your belt. Do you have what it takes to challenge one of our Champions?
FRIDAY 25 MARCH 2022
WCB 6 - YORK HALL
- 5 Old Ford Rd, London E2 9PJ
- Doors open 5:30pm | First fight 6:30pm | Last fight 10:30pm
- Standard £30 | Balcony £40 | Ringside £45 | Ringside First £65 (ALMOST SOLD OUT).
2. HONESTY – Be honest and ‘help us help you’ by regularly feeding back on your progress and ticket sales.
3. INTEGRITY – We expect our participants to follow our rules and conditions at all times, both during the build up to, and during the event.
4. COMMITMENT – We expect you to train hard, and compete hard – attending as many training sessions as possible, and our three checkpoint sessions.
2. Pay a deposit of £200 (to cover the initial costs of setting up your fight).
3. Buy the required equipment in preparation for your fight (16oz gloves, gumshield, boxing boots, trunks and groin guard).
4. Commit to train 2-3 times a week (we recommend a combination of Boxing, and fitness/conditioning training).
5. Attend at least THREE checkpoint sessions (which we will set up), and keep us up to date with your progress via messages and videos.
6. Use our JustGiving page to sponsor a charity, with a target to raise at least £50.
7. Sell at least £600 of tickets to friends and family. After completion of your fight, your deposit will be refunded.
8. Follow our company values at all times (see above).
2. We let you make the important choices – including where and when you would like to train, what charity you would like to support, who you would like in your corner, what attire you would like to compete in, and various seating options.
3. We give you the chance to train in a REAL Boxing Gym and fight in a REAL Boxing Venue!
4. Our biggest priority is you – therefore, we take every step to match you against the ‘right’ opponent, and to ensure that your experience is a SAFE one.
Balcony (unreserved seat): £40
Ringside (reserved seat): £45
Ringside first row (first row reserved seat): £65