For those of you who are unaware, the much-anticipated St Andrews Fight Night took place last week on Tuesday and it is time to look back at the unique night that has become the talk of the town.
10 student fights took place last Tuesday consisting of both male and female undergraduates who stepped into the ring to battle it out. They underwent 12 weeks of intensive training from some of the top professional boxing coaches to ensure that they were as suitably prepared as they could be to take each other on.
For the students taking part, the opportunity to have a matchless experience, training with top coaches, learning new skills and with a chance to fight in a venue packed with fellow students was one not to miss out on. For the spectators it was a chance to get all dressed up whilst watching your mates sweat it out in the ring, watching the outcome of all of their hard work be on display.
With the arrival of a global pandemic, few would be able to remember a Fight Night here in St Andrews and so the return of this event was eagerly awaited. The last time Fight Night came to the students of this town was three years ago, when it took place at a nightclub in Dundee. This year, Fight Night was hosted at Kinkell Byre, a somewhat familiar venue, but one that was the perfect size for all to have a great view of the ring. Many claimed that this was the best organised event that they had been to at this venue as previous events have been under much scrutiny for their lack of organisation. The buses to and from the venue were, as they should be, well planned and, unlike other events, they did not leave spectators hanging around, fighting to get home.
Many, including myself, enjoyed the uniqueness of this event and for most it was their first time watching any kind of boxing match. Being able to watch the fights gave the night a constant stream of excitement and after the fights had concluded the ring was removed to create a dance floor. The music was enjoyable and everyone, including the fighters were able to let their hair down after watching, or even be involved in some tense fights. Fight Night certainly has a unique selling point and there is not an event that could possibly compare to the rollercoaster of emotions that are felt over the course of the evening.
Around town, there have been few negative reviews. Students seem wholeheartedly positive about the event as many, including myself, had a very enjoyable night.
I feel I am unable to write solely about how great the event was without raising some concerns that I did have regarding the safety of the event, and these are issues I feel should be emphasised, especially if this is an event that is going to become a staple on the St Andrews calendar.
The phenomenon of Fight Night is taking Universities across the UK by storm this year which has created both excitement and controversy in universities. Fight Nights are spreading like wildfire across student cities but these boxing matches are rarely recognised by boxing organisations, which means that there is potential for them to be unsafe and lacking in proper medical expertise. The fighters I spoke to were medically assessed before their fights.
However, I think that after each fight, every single student who has stepped into the ring should be checked over by a medical professional. One fight did not happen due to a medical issue which does display how, rightly, the fighters were put first. However, I know that multiple fighters walked away from their fights medically unchecked - which to me is a huge concern. The medical professionals were of course there to provide assistance and when boxers did ask to be looked at, the medical attention was there for them.
However, I think it should have been mandatory. All fighters did have to wear head protection as well as gloves and despite my concerns all of the student fighters seem to have come out of the night unscathed overall with no significant, lasting injuries.
The fighters, who had no boxing experience, did themselves proud on the night and I admire every single one of the fighter’s courage for being able to step into the ring and the disciplined training they stuck to.
Overall, it seemed to be a night of huge success and although I do feel it is necessary to mention safety concerns, it was certainly a night that was very enjoyable. Amateur boxing bodies have repeatedly warned of the dangers of events like this and as this event looks to be a regular occurrence for students across the country, I am sure that improvements will naturally be made.
On one irrelevant note, the hygiene levels of all must have been pretty low considering that the taps in both bathrooms were unable to produce any water. Bring some hand sanitizer next time you go to Kinkell Byre and we await the day that we are lucky enough to go to a ball or event with running water!
Fight Night is an event that will go down in university history, as will those who competed in it and if you want to be part of that history, look out for applications at the beginning of next semester.
Image: Ollie Grimes