Photo by Lynton Peddie
The Real Fight Club introduced white collar boxing to London in 2000 and have raised a laudable £1.2 million+ for charities, with fight galas like this, along the way. They should also be applauded for their efforts in safeguarding the country's economy - saving countless jobs by giving pent up office workers a safe and accessible opportunity to to get into the ring and batter each other in a constructive way.
Showtime promised to bring a touch of Las Vegas glamour to East London; a huge challenge given that the only thing they have in common is they both inhabit the same planet. But the Troxy is a wonderful art deco building which boasts near 100% good views of the ring from any position. It's a great setting for fisticuffs and the ringside tables downstairs were packed and dressed beautifully, as were most of the punters.
A sign near the ring confirmed that we were in 'Las Vegas' and screens showed various shots of a gyrating Elvis whilst a big band played. Some classic crooning came out of the PA making you want to tuck your collars out, light a cigarette, drink whiskey, pose and ponder but Limehouse mostly felt like the Nevada Desert because it was about 30 degrees inside.
The MC finally called people to their seats and the inevitable Rocky fanfare boomed out to loud cheering and some very bad Balboa impressions and the fighting got underway. To make sure nobody keels over in the ring the fights are limited to 3 x 2 minute rounds. This might not sound much but anyone who has been in the ring or had their face used like a speed ball will know that combat takes it out of you.
Fighters such as Archie 'The Mongoose' Curtis and Simon 'Sweet Whistling' Wilson fought it out and gave it their all in decision bouts. The crowd were treated to a fair few knockdowns. Liam Keenan battered his opponent for about a minute with furious flurries and a hand speed not seen since mum found out we'd been shoplifting. In between the rounds, the obligatory perky ring girl flounced round announcing which round was coming up next although she could have been holding up Saturday's winning lottery numbers, given 80% of her arse was on show. There was a charity auction which raised lots of money for kids charity, Wooden Spoon, with prizes including a £1500 Saville row suit (probably not machine washable) and a set of custom made golf clubs. Then more fighting culminating in an explosive super middleweight title match between Gareth "Remy" Martin and Jerry "The Business" O'Dwyer.
Despite the cheesiness and impossibility of tarting up East London to look anything other than a pig with a silk gown on, Showtime was a really good night out. We'd recommend checking out one of the regular Real Fight Club events, or consider joining their gym and learn to box, if only to give yourself a cool name, like Jonathan 'Memory Foam Mattress' Wilson (sadly, not on tonight's bill), have your chance to come into the ring to 'Eye Of The Tiger' and get knocked out in 35 seconds.
By Richard. Find out more at www.therealfightclub.com