Boxing beginners can’t come up short

Matthew Quinn, right, at Haddington Amateur Boxing Club with William Leckie, left, and Pat Murray
Matthew Quinn, right, at Haddington Amateur Boxing Club with William Leckie, left, and Pat Murray
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they’re not as young as they used to be, some of them have a few pounds to lose, and several have never even set foot in a boxing ring before.

But a group of eight friends will pull on the gloves to raise money for a range of charities.

They include novices and some who have boxed before but are out of shape – but all take to the ring at the Carlton Hotel on November 11, for a knockout performance in front of a 200-strong audience.

Organiser Matthew Quinn, a 38-year-old entrepreneur who gives his sporting profile as “sedentary job, unfit, up for a good fight” , was searching for a fundraising challenge when he attended a boxing dinner at the hotel.

He said: “I’d had a couple of drinks and I thought ‘I can do this’ and luckily for me the MC and the manager was there and I collared them and it grew from there.”

One of the biggest tasks, however, was finding others willing to join him.

“I thought if I said ‘Do you want to come and box in front of 200 people?’, everyone would say ‘Yeah, Matthew, that’s a fantastic idea’. Funnily enough, the guys that said yes are the last people I would have thought to have done it.”

Among them is 55-year-old Alain Frei, a businessman who has never boxed before. Others are more experienced, such as 45-year-old Willie Leckie, a former boxer who hasn’t been in the ring for 20 years.

The contestants have been matched according to size and ability, and will face each other in three three-minute rounds.

Mr Quinn is training at East Lothian Amateur Boxing Club in Haddington. He said: “It’s painful – you’ve got to get used to being hit.

“You wear headguards and it changes someone’s face – people look mean in those things! I’m 6ft 7in and the blokes I’m in the ring with are all monsters. They come across and you don’t know whether you should protect yourself first or attack first.”

Mr Quinn is just recovering from his first black eye, picked up during sparring.

He said: “My wife was very, very unhappy indeed. As soon as the fist landed, I thought ‘That’s a shiner’. My wife Wendy said ‘You’re not going back’.”

But he continued his training nonetheless, and is now also putting the finishing touches to the rest of the event organisation.

He is currently searching for local businesses to advertise in the event programme, along with donations of items for the auction.

MC for the night, Captain Drew Tait of the Royal Regiment of Scotland, said he was expecting a great evening of entertainment.

“It’s unusual to have people who’ve never boxed before doing this, but you’ve also got guys who did a bit in the past – a friend of mine, Danny Lafferty, is taking part and he hasn’t done it for years, he’s having to lose the belly! But I think everyone will fully appreciate the performance of the guys in the ring.”

For tickets and more information, call 07815 956 022.

sgyford@edinburghnews.com