Boxing for persons of quality and distinction. White Collar boxing is essentially recreational and uses the sport as a means of personal development for people to push themselves and achieve individual objectives. It all began back in 1988 when Dr. Richard Novak, a lawyer, fought Dr. David Lawrence, a multimillionaire businessman with a PhD in English Literature, in the first ‘White Collar’ bout in the legendary Gleason’s Boxing Gym in New York. They were onto something. They didn’t have the time nor inclination to train for competitive bouts but enjoyed sparring. They didn’t seek succour from the therapists couch or comfort from Nanny State strictures but wanted to express themselves through action. And so ‘White Collar’ boxing was born and spread rapidly to settle in April 2010 in the Armoury Boxing Club, Cape Town – the home of White Collar boxing in South Africa.
But if White Collar boxing is contemporary, the legacy goes way back. In 1747 the famous prize fighter John Broughton opened a boxing academy in the Haymarket, London, that was advertised for ‘persons of quality and distinction.’ He introduced the style known as ‘sparring’ which was practised by aristocratic types with padded gloves rather than bare fists. In the 19th century, boxing became popular amongst the aspirant middle classes and was taught in private schools universities and military academies. Amateur boxing was born with the adoption of the Marquis of Queensberry Rules in 1867 which, though accused of being an attempt by gentlemen to co-opt a working class boxing tradition, can be seen as a continuation of Broughton’s rich heritage.
So what of that heritage today? Just about everyone that joins The Armoury says “my dad used to box” and yet hardly any of them have experienced the high adrenaline sport first-hand themselves. Boxing in South Africa has been on the verge of extinction in the mainstream even if still popular in the townships. But we don’t believe that boxing is all ‘gutter to glory,’ some people, living in relative comfort, still yearn for the thrill of adventure and to enjoy the satisfaction that springs from mastering the noble art, to be taken out of their comfort zones and tested under adversity. They’re the ones that love White Collar boxing – regular guys doing the extraordinary. We’re meeting a previously unmet need for guys and girls to enjoy authentic boxing training and, for some, the exhilaration of supervised fighting, without the braggadocio of some other combat sports.
We take safety seriously. Our White Collar bouts consists of just three, two minute rounds and the boxers are protected by 16 ounce gloves (twice as padded as those that professionals wear), head guards, mouth guards and groin protectors. The boxers commit to at least three months of rigorous training with our formally qualified coaches who develop them technically, physically and mentally all the way. It’s tough, because boxing is, but that’s kind of the point. Let it transform your life and bring out the Champion in you.