Fight Club comes to Edinburgh to raise cash to fight cancer

Jonathan Law in training for the Ultra White Collar Boxing charity event.  Picture: Ian Rutherford
Jonathan Law in training for the Ultra White Collar Boxing charity event. Picture: Ian Rutherford
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IT is the cult classic film starring Brad Pitt about a white collar worker who starts a brutal bare knuckle boxing club to let off steam.

But now the real Fight Club is coming to the Capital next month when amateur fighters from solicitors to hairdressers go toe-to-toe after just eight weeks’ training.

My opponent said, ‘I have no problems getting in the ring with a hairdresser’ but I told him, ‘You might have a problem stepping out again’.

Jonathan Law

But organisers of Edinburgh’s first Ultra White Collar Boxing (UWCB) insist this exclusive black-tie gala event at The Biscuit Factory is not about glorifying violence but about helping deliver a knockout blow to cancer.

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UWCB gives people with no boxing experience the opportunity to train as a boxer in a “safe and enjoyable environment”, while raising money for charity.

And among those getting ready to rumble on April 10 is city hairdresser Jonathan Law, 43, who will be fighting in memory of friends and family who died of cancer.

Jonathan, who runs Hair By Law off the Royal Mile, has been drawn against an ­opponent who claims to be part of the World Wrestling Federation.

He added: “My opponent said, ‘I have no problems getting in the ring with a hairdresser’ but I told him, ‘You might have a problem stepping out again’. I was more scared of telling my girlfriend that I was taking part in the event than I am of him.”

The hairdresser, who lost his father Don to cancer and his brother Darren to diverticulitis, comes from a working-class family from the north-east of England with a strong interest in boxing. He has been training every day at the Edinburgh Boxing Academy and insisted that any pre-fight jitters have disappeared.

“I am desperate to get in the ring,” he added.

UWCB originated in New York in 1988 after a doctor and an attorney trained for a few weeks before boxing one another.

Since then it has become the fastest-growing corporate contact sport in the world and the most established organisation in the UK, running hundreds of events over the last six years.

They are Cancer Research’s biggest fundraisers in the UK, raising more than £2 million alone in 2015.

Participants receive eight weeks of free training with professional boxing coaches, providing they raise money for Cancer Research UK.

At the end of the training they get to put their skills to the test and take part in a boxing match in front of hundreds of supporters at a gala black tie event.

Bouts are contested over three rounds of two minutes with one-minute intervals.

Robyn Johnson, marketing manager at UWCB said: “This is a unique opportunity for people with no boxing background to experience the wonderful world of boxing, in a safe and enjoyable environment.

“Participants get involved for the same reasons; to get fit, learn a new sport, gain a real sense of achievement and to reach their own personal goals.”

Emma Hallas, of Cancer Research UK, said: “Everyone here appreciates the amazing support the UWCB team provide us.

“Every person that has taken part and raised money for us has made a huge difference.

“UWCB is an incredibly valued supporter of the charity and we are extremely grateful to the team and all the boxers involved.”

Standing tickets are available at £20 or VIP tables £350.

john.connell@edinburghnews.com