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Fight Club interview with Ned Fiennes

What is Fight Club all about?

“It’s a student-run event for students and there are ten fights between student fighters, so it’s a really cool opportunity for people to try out boxing who have never done it before. So we try and take on board these students and it gives them a platform to show some skills. They get twelve weeks of high-quality training, and then they get to compete in front of their friends on a big stage.”

What is the distinction between this and the regular boxing club?

“It’s a much easier commitment than joining a club would be., it’s all free for the fighters which is something different to the training provided by the boxing club, where you have to pay for membership. You still get great training from professionals in Dundee and it’s all done by an ex-professional boxer. Anyone can sign up and I think it’s different in the sense that you get more of a platform in front of your friends and then there’s a big night out afterwards.”

Where does it take place?

“In the past it has taken place in a nice night club in Dundee, but this year it is happening in Kinkell Byre. Hopefully we are going to have a few hundred people at the actual fighting and then an after party with over a thousand people. We are definitely planning on upping the numbers this year. It has been going for a few years now, but it’s never been a staple of the social calendar, which is what I think we’re trying to work on. Whereas in the past it would just be people getting their friends involved, we want this to be one of the biggest events in the second semester. We had 130 applications this year for the twenty places, which is pretty cool, and our post reached over six thousand people.”

Who is doing the training and what happens on the night itself?

“The training is twice a week, starting in January, once with Skyaxe in Dundee, and once in St Andrews. They are pretty well renowned in Dundee and in Scotland, with thirty years of experience, and the head trainer has trained with European and world champions. So, we match fighters based on their height and weight, as well as their previous boxing experience, and then there are three rounds for each fight and it’s just a one-off match. What we also want to do this year — which hasn’t been done in the past — is to create a hype around each fighter. Potentially a couple of nights before the fight, we are looking to have a weigh- in night at the Vic or some other venue, where we up the ante a bit. Hopefully fight fever will take over the town for a week or so, with people backing certain fighters. We also want to see people write diss tracks about each other. It all adds to the experience, and we want this big hype for an important night.”

When is it taking place, and what are the fight rules and rewards?

“The fights take place on 29 March, so that’s definitely a date for the diary. We want to get two thousand people in at Kinkell and that is the plan. There will be ten matchups, each with three rounds of three minutes each. Finally, when it comes to rewards, we are thinking about that at the moment. We are looking at cash prizes, or some other sort of prize with a charity aspect to it as well. So, if a fighter one week can, say, give £100 to their charity of choice. We hope to see you there!” As the website notes, “Consistently unpredictable, frenzied, and unlike any other experience in town, this charity event offers a rare opportunity to cheer for your academic peers in the ring.”

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