Here’s what it’s really like to do Fight Club Newcastle

10/10, would get punched in the face for charity again

Fight Club is notorious amongst Newcastle students for many different reasons and whether you’ve taken part or watched from afar, it’s bound to have left a mark (or two). For starters, it’s an incredibly rewarding experience. Not only does it give you the chance to raise money for a brilliant charity, but this boxing event also pushes you out of your comfort zone – something a few of us more sheltered students need in life. Arguably the best thing about getting in that ring? The unlimited bragging rights you’ll be entitled to. It’s already been about a month since taking part and I continue to act like someone who completed the London Marathon five years ago. On that note, here’s an exact rundown of what it’s really like to do Fight Club (apologies, Brad Pitt):

The application process

Starting from the top, the application process for Fight Club Newcastle is very straightforward (so long as you don’t confuse it with the university’s Fight Night – these are two entirely separate events).

All you need to do is fill out a short form mentioning your height, weight and medical history. Note to self, don’t write “does confrontation on a night out count?” in response to the section on boxing experience. It’s neither funny nor true. Now, if I remember correctly, I signed up around March and heard I was eligible to fight a few weeks later. Once you receive confirmation, you’ll be asked to put down your deposit. This money essentially covers your training and is given back no more than a week after taking part.

Given this event is high in demand (because apparently everyone wants to be Rocky), you won’t be added to the official group chat until a few months later. I was put into one during summer with around 25 students from both Newcastle and Durham. As you can imagine, it wasn’t the most lively of chats asides from all the relevant information such as session times, table reservations and merch updates. Did I mention you get a free tee?

I should also say that there’s no need to panic. Although it may seem slightly daunting putting down a deposit and then patiently waiting for news about the night, you’ll be given all the right contact details of those in charge and I can assure you, they’re very quick to respond to any queries.

The training 

Moving onto the training, it’s no short of a lie that it’s intense.

Granted, you do technically know what you’re signing up for (six weeks “intensive training” to be exact). However, because these sessions are optional and run three times a week, it’s very likely that you won’t see some people at all. Speaking of, the gym is located over in Wallsend. This is around a 15 minute drive from Jesmond and you’ll be able to park for free in the Aldi opposite (both ideal for boxing and bargain hunting). Alternatively, the metro station is just a two minute walk away.

To give a summary of the actual training, the first few weeks mainly focus on your fitness. Sessions run for an hour and there’s a great emphasis on making sure you’re fully warmed up before diving straight in. That means lots of skipping, sit ups and shadow boxing. I was useless at all three, but I did find they helped build my overall stamina.

For the final few weeks, you’ll solely be sparring. This means putting everything you’ve learnt into practice in the ring. I would be lying if I said I didn’t shed a tear or two, but getting punched in the face isn’t a normal occurrence and even with the head-guards on, there’s no guarantee you won’t get a nose bleed.

All in all, the training for Fight Club takes discipline. Obviously this doesn’t just apply in the gym, but also outside of sessions. In other words, although nothing is compulsory (so there’s no need to go sober or buy a skipping rope), it’s definitely beneficial to take a break from certain things and I think the coaches would agree. In fact, despite the endless burpees, bag work and runs around the block they made us do, the coaches were the main reason these sessions were so enjoyable and they acted as a much needed distraction from the gruelling drills. I like to think they trained us with tough love.

Final words of advice about training would be to pre-buy your kit and also book in for extra one-to-ones (if you’re not already a pro, of course). Don’t make the same rookie mistake of leaving it too late to purchase gloves, otherwise you’ll have to borrow the ones provided at the gym and I wouldn’t wish that much sweat on my worst enemy.

The main event 

Admittedly, I’d never actually attended the Fight Club rumbles before taking part myself. Knowing it’s organised by the same people behind Shaker, Swingers and Frate, however, I knew it would be a night to remember.

Unlike the university’s event, this charity boxing ball takes place at The Fed over in Gateshead. Although some might deem this a trek from town, there’s something about this venue which feels a lot more special and superior. The unlimited fairground ride also makes the Uber worthwhile.

Again, communication is really good and fighters are sent over the running order, table plan and taxi info early on in the day. They’re also not wrong when they say it’s more of a standing event, so there’s really no need to worry where your friends or family are sat. They’ll make it to the ring one way or another.

Depending on your corner, there are two separate dressing rooms for fighters. You’ll be asked to turn up a few hours before the first fight is scheduled. This is to ensure all medicals are carried out and that you’re familiar with your surroundings. I have to say, I was really surprised by how relaxed the venue was; you’re more than welcome to go down and socialise before and after fights and the organisers and photographers are super friendly (they even let my parents come ringside which was quite wholesome).

Once the rumbles are over, the official afterparty takes place in Grey’s. Tickets go live a few weeks prior as it’s guaranteed to sell out fast, however, fighters are given free entry and the luxury to queue jump with a few friends. Not a day goes by that I don’t severely regret my decision of choosing Cosy Joes over this. They didn’t even let me sing Islands In the Stream. Anyway, I was informed by those who went that my FOMO was indeed justified.

As previously stated, this event is a great way to push yourself out of your comfort zone and raise money for an important charity. Whether you want to improve your fitness, learn a new skill, or simply attempt to achieve BNOC status, this student boxing ball is a brilliant thing to do and I can’t recommend it enough.

To learn more about Fight Club and how you can get involved, visit theirwebsite.

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