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Boxing news

Good luck to my son who is representing Oxford in the 110th Boxing Varsity Match at the Cambridge Corn Exchange tonight.

I'm not sure how he's done it, to be honest, because he took up boxing – having previously played rugby – less than 18 months ago.

The first time he went in the ring to spar was, I think, this time last year and his first competitive boxing match was six weeks ago in the annual Town v. Gown event at the Oxford Union.

Training – which included a week in Tenerife where they got up at 6.00am and ran to the top of the local volcano several times – has been pretty intensive.

However he's not the first person in my family to take an interest in boxing. Both my grandfather (on my mother's side) and his son (my uncle) were very keen on the sport.

If I remember correctly my grandfather, a GP in Wembley, had a role with the British Amateur Boxing Association. My uncle, also a doctor, was medical officer to the British Olympic delegation in Seoul before being appointed chairman of the British Olympic Association Medical Committee.

My own interest in boxing is limited to watching the occasional fight on TV. I put it down to being punched in the face, once, when I was 15 or 16. I remember everything about it – the time, the place – and I didn't like it.

Since then my life has been dictated by a simple desire never to get punched in the face (or anywhere else) again.

Anyway, my son's last supper before tonight's bout was a couple of protein bars and a pot of cottage cheese.

I'm sure he'll make up for it after the fight.

PS. I like the understated way the event is being promoted online:

Cambridge go to war against Oxford on home ground in the violent realisation of one of the world’s greatest rivalries. History will be made as the Women’s Varsity is fought in Cambridge for the first time; prepare for a night of drama and intense action.

Update: Very proud of my son last night. He lost on a split decision but the MC summed it up when he hailed both boxers with the words, "It was a war in there!"

Parental pride aside, I have huge respect for all the boxers on both teams. It's one thing to train and spar in the local gym. Stepping into a ring in front of 700 raucous spectators is something else.

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