A stellar cast of racing staff hailing from the north went toe-to-toe on 20 November at York racecourse for the William Hill Racing Staff Boxing night, providing a superb evening of entertainment with the aim of raising vital funds for organisers Racing Welfare.
Each competitor undertook eight weeks of intensive training delivered by Ultra White Collar Boxing, culminating in ten fiercely competitive fights with many competitors’ friends, family, employers and colleagues attending to show their support.
Amber Hunt – marketing executive at Pontefract racecourse – was among the winners on the night, and said: “I can honestly say my boxing experience with Racing Welfare and UWCB was such a poignant and pivotal point in my 20s. The eight weeks training was gruelling, but you find yourself becoming disciplined and dedicated to showing up each week.
“Fight night was a mix of emotions but walking out to my group of rowdy friends and family was just magical. Everyone organising the night was so supportive which made all the difference to the pre-fight nerves. During the fight, my corner guy was so brilliant, calming my nerves and coaching the next rounds. After my 2nd round, he just shouted, ‘YOU’VE WON – just keep going for the final 2 minutes!’ and that I did. I’ll never forget the roar from my support corner. Thanks to the organisers, the fighters, Henry’s Gym, the people who donated and my boisterous family. Everyone loves an underdog don’t they!”
The list of boxers included racing grooms, stud staff, racecourse employees and jockeys.
Collectively, the boxers raised in excess of £20,000 of vital funds for Racing Welfare, which could cover the costs of hosting coffee mornings and reminiscence events throughout the country for a year for retired beneficiaries, plus employing a welfare officer for three months, providing direct support to people working in or retired from racing.
Chief operating officer at Racing Welfare, Gemma Waterhouse attended the evening and said; “It was a privilege to see so many people from the northern racing community participating in and supporting this popular event. The evening was hugely entertaining and it was evident just how much effort these guys had put into their training and preparation for fight night.
“Huge thanks to all those who took part and supported, including sponsors William Hill without whom the event would not be possible. The funds raised from the evening will help us continue to provide vital professional guidance and practical help to the stud, stable and racecourse staff, and those in a broad range of associated roles whose dedication is vital to the wellbeing of racing.”
The full results from the evening are listed below.
MATT ‘THE BODYSNATCHER’ BROWN (amateur jockey at Brian Ellison racing) vs GAVIN ‘LONG POCKETS’ PATTISON (York racecourse facilities manager)
winner MATT ‘THE BODYSNATCHER’ BROWN
UWCB Dean vs ROSS ‘SCRAPPY DOO’ WILSON (work rider and stalls handler)
UWCB SANA KHAN vs CHELSEA ‘THE BRUISER’ BROOKS (work rider at Ollie Pears)
winner SANA KHAN
HARRY ‘HITMAN’ HARVEY vs JASON ‘WHITE RHINO’ PUGH (yard person)
winner JASON ‘WHITE RHINO’ PUGH
PAULA ‘THE POWER PUNCHER’ MUIR (jockey) vs PAIGE ‘HOT STEP’ HOPPER (amateur jockey)
winner PAULA ‘THE POWER PUNCHER’ MUIR
CAT ‘THE YORKSHIRE WARRIOR’ WALGATE (sports rehabilitator at Jack Berry House) vs AMBER HUNT (marketing executive at Pontefract racecourse)
winner AMBER HUNT
ALEX ‘THE CLIFFEHANGER’ CLIFFE (groom at Karl Burke racing) vs TERRY ‘THE KID’ JONES (work rider at David O’Meara Racing)
winner TERRY ‘THE KID’ JONES
KEELY ‘THE CLONES CYCLONE’ LYNCH (work rider at Brian Ellison Racing) vs PENNY ‘WON’T DROP’ WINDSOR-HEY (York racecourse stableside resident)
winner KEELY ‘THE CLONES CYCLONE’ LYNCH
KEV ‘THE SLICK’ SKELTON (amateur jockey) vs ADAM ‘THE HITMAN’ EVANS (groom at Richard Fahey Racing)
winner KEV ‘THE SLICK’ SKELTON
LARRY ‘THE CELTIC WARRIOR’ MCGRATH (work rider for Ben Haslam) vs JACK ‘THE JUGGERNAUT’ CROSS (work rider)
winner JACK ‘THE JUGGERNAUT’ CROSS