Interview: DUABC


Boxing has recently featured heavily in the news. Legendary boxer Muhammad Ali has just turned 70 and his coach Angelo Dundee passed away last week.

Based on the recent surge in boxing coverage, Palatinate has decided to cover Durham’s own boxing team, DUABC.

Durham Amatuer Boxing is a rapidly developing club.

“Last year we were only able to enter one competition” said club captain Simon Zieleniewski.

This is because to enter the championships, participants are required to have at least two ‘bouts’ [matches] to their name. No one in the club had this last year.

This year, however, they hope to send a good proportion of the squad to the championships.

The club has just recently returned from a warm-up event for BUCS, which helps to rank boxers for the championships later this year.

The squad train at least 5 times a week and have a visiting coach, Paul Lysaght.

Because it is not recognised as one of the ‘upper tier’ sports by the university, the club receives very limited funding: roughly £250 per year.

To raise additional cash, Lysaght organises various fundraising events. Last Saturday, he hosted a charity dinner at the Ramside Hotel just outside Durham in order to raise additional money for the club.

DUABC member competed at the event.

“The way these shows are done is you are put up against someone of similar age, weight and experience.

“The guy I competed against was of similar experience on his official medical card”, said Scargill.

Each boxer is required to have a medical card, which can be obtained  after a general health check from a doctor who assesses eyesight, blood pressure and insulin levels.

The medical card also shows a  record of how many competitive matches each in which each boxer has competed.

“The guys from the local clubs can have a lot of ‘unofficial’ fighting experience which will not show up on their cards.

“They can have been doing it for five years but only have done one official fight,” explained Scargill.

Scargill explained the difference between boxers from university clubs like Durham and those from local clubs.

“There is a big difference between us and boxers from the local clubs, who have the chance to dedicate their lives to the sport.”

But Scargill put in a good fight and lost only on points to his opponent.

Scargill and Zieleniewski admitted that going into the ring was a “pretty nerve-wracking experience, as you can never be truly sure who you are up against.”

However, according to both boxers, the risk is worth the gamble.

“Nothing quite beats the feeling of getting your hand raised up at the end of the game.”

Zieleniewski was adamant that, in amateur boxing, it is necessary to play by strict sets of rules.

“Safety is paramount in amateur boxing. It is completely different to professional boxing, where the idea is just to knock out your opponent.”

Amateur boxing is instead all about points, though of course knockouts are still possible, given the right punch.

Fitness is absolutely key to the success of DUABC.

“You need to be able to go beyond what you are required to do. You can be as good as you like, but if you blow after two rounds, you will be no good”, said Scargill.

But Zieleniekski also stressed the mental side of the game. “It is like a game of chess. You are trying to out smart your opponent.”

“Half way through the first round you should have a good idea of what you are doing and how your opponent is reacting. And from this you should be able to tailor your game plan for the rest of the match.” said Scargill.

The championships are to be held on the 24-25th in Sheffield, “something we are very excited about” Ziekeniewski said.

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