Crawley residents offered chance to get fit and raise money for charity through boxing

Anyone in Crawley looking to get fit after the lockdown and raise money for Britain’s biggest cancer charity is being offered a chance to take up boxing for the first time.

Friday, 7th May 2021, 10:31 am

Ultra White Collar Boxing (UWCB), the organisation behind the fundraising effort, has already built an impressive record in the town, raising more than £359,000 for Cancer Research UK

In July, UWCB has set a target of raising £1 million for the charity in a single month and is inviting people in Crawley to join in.

The good news for participants is that they won’t have to pay a penny to train for the event being staged at the K2 leisure centre on July 17.

Ultra White Collar Boxing has raised more than £359,000 in Crawley for Cancer Research UK. Picture courtesy of Solent News and Photo Agency

Participants are given eight weeks of gym-based training under the guidance of experienced coaches before taking part in a bout in front of hundreds of their friends, family, and colleagues.

So far, Ultra White Collar Boxing has raised almost £20 million for Cancer Research UK, with more than 160,000 people from all walks of life taking part – most stepping into a boxing ring for the very first time.

Those taking part are asked to raise a suggested minimum of £50 for Cancer Research UK and sell tickets for their event. Gym based for the event begins in the week commencing May 24.

It is open to anyone aged 18 and over, and so far, the eldest competitor to take part was 70.

For their bout of three two-minute rounds, competitors are evenly matched in their training group with boxers of similar ability.

Jon Leonard, who heads up Ultra White Collar Boxing, said for many, it is a life-changing experience as they report being fitter than at any other time in their life, eating more healthily and losing weight.

World champion boxer Tyson Fury was so impressed with the efforts of one young man who took part to help him combat his mental health issues he sent him a personal video wishing him luck in his contest.

Jon admits UWCB has faced a challenging year since lockdown restrictions were introduced and his greatest sadness has been the inability to raise vital funds for Cancer Research UK.

He said: “Of course, our efforts to raise money for this important charity to carry out its vital work have been hit very hard.

“All our fundraising efforts are down to the incredible people who take part and put in eight weeks of hard work to achieve their goal.

“The BIC is an incredible venue, and I would say to anyone thinking of taking part to give it a go - it is an excellent opportunity to take up a new challenge after the end of lockdown.

“Everyone is welcome. The bonds which are formed amongst our competitors are incredible with many people who would never have met in everyday life forming lifelong friendships.”

He added that those taking part can be confident that both training and events will be COVID-19 secure and in line with all Government guidelines.

Simon Ledsham, director of fundraising at Cancer Research UK, said: “The success of Ultra Events and the £22m raised so far is phenomenal.

“We are so grateful to the organisers behind each event, every person that signs up to take part and the generosity of their friends and family who sponsor them.

“Together they are helping to fund our pioneering research into the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer.

“The truth is, Covid-19 has slowed us down.  But we will never stop and we are absolutely determined to continue to create better cancer treatments for tomorrow.

“We remain reliant on the generosity of the public to fund our life-saving work and we’re eagerly anticipating the return of fundraising events with all necessary COVID-19 guidelines in place.

“Thanks to research funded by supporters, who take part in activities like an Ultra Event, today 2 in 4 people survive cancer – and our ambition is to accelerate progress so that within the next 20 years, this figure will reach 3 in 4 and enable more families to stay together for longer.”

Anyone interested in taking up the UWCB challenge in Crawley can visit ultrawhitecollarboxing.co.uk/locations/crawley/