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Swapping Books for Boxing: Fight Night is Back!



Twenty of St Andrews’ finest students have taken it upon themselves to make their way into the boxing ring in an event that has become a staple in the social calendar as one of the most anticipated of the year.


The students, who have little to no prior boxing experience and range across all year groups, have spent the last two months undertaking intense boxing training, and this Tuesday they all swapped their books for boxing gloves to fight in front of a roaring black-tie crowd, fuelled with prosecco to cheer them on.


Applications for student fighters opened at the beginning of semester one and students were able to apply alone or alongside a potential opponent, so long as they were within the same weight category. The training started after the winter break with fighters needing to be available to fully attend the required training in Dundee. 12 intense weeks of training from some of Scotland’s most qualified coaches culminated this week with the showdown event where the students battled it out in the ring.


The event was held on Tuesday at Kinkell Byre where the dance floor was transformed into a boxing ring with the ring positioned in the middle of the room with VIP tables encircling it. VIP tickets are priced at a meagre 70 pounds with standard tickets costing 50 pounds. The price tag is certainly hefty but what is not in St Andrews so, although outrageous, is not out of place in this exclusive and inaccessible town. Last year there was much controversy and outrage after the event. Students understandably felt ripped off as the VIP tickets which cost significantly more, gave you minimal, if any, benefits in comparison to the standard tickets. As this issue of The Saint was sent to print prior to the event look out for a review of the night to look at the ways in which this has changed after the organisers are insisting there are numerous benefits to a VIP ticket such as a closer viewing area, complimentary alcohol as well as an exclusive bar area. After the fights have been concluded and a winner of each of the ten fights has been crowned, the boxing ring is rapidly packed away, and the venue transforms into a dancefloor, and a DJ appears and the afterparty commences.

Two students who fought in last year’s event, Rory Thain and Adam Fotheringham are some of the students who are organising this year’s much-anticipated event. Speaking to them in the build-up to the night, they emphasised how vital they felt it was to “properly implement health and safety protocols”, making it their priority this year after there were concerns surrounding last year’s fights.


Previously, students who stepped out of the ring were able to get straight onto the pints and if they wanted to be checked over by paramedics, they had to seek this out, something which was rightly scrutinised. Alcohol and potential concussions arguably do not go hand in hand, and so the organisers of the event say they have implemented a “number of strict safety precautions” which include “on site medical professionals, an accredited referee as well as insurance”. It is difficult to eradicate the risk of possible concussions in a sport which is a high-paced, hard-hitting, strong-contact sport; however, all students have to wear head guards and mouthguards in order to significantly reduce the risk of injury. The fighters, throughout the night, have been informed that they will have constant access to medical advice and every fighter will be thoroughly checked over after they fight, which is a hugely important change from previous years.


All these precautions are especially important considering that the event is unregulated by the amateur boxing governing body which has, in the past, raised concerns about the growing increase in this kind of student boxing events across the country. In nearly all University towns and big cities, there are now multiple events that encourage student boxing, an amazing sport which can have a hugely positive impact on the fighters who get access to top-level training, as long as there are adequate precautions in place.

That being said, the student fighters are aware of the risks and the organisers, in my opinion, appear to do their utmost to generate a safe environment for those fighting as well as those spectating.

Fight Night is consistently unpredictable, frenzied, and unlike any other experience in town, this event offers a rare opportunity to cheer for your academic peers in the ring and I hope it was an enjoyable night for all!


Image: St Andrews Fight Night


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