Oxford's oldest student newspaper

Independent since 1920

Town vs Gown 2024

The latest iteration of ‘Town vs Gown’, hosted by the Oxford University Amateur Boxing Club (OUABC), promised an adrenaline-fuelled night of thrills, ensconced in an atmosphere that was at fever pitch with anticipation. The main hall, usually frequented by students in vests, shorts, and trainers, was replete with a lavishly dressed crowd, eager to support friends and family.

The night dawned with two debutants, Monteith and Mallin; both boxers displayed grit and grace, but Monteith emerged victorious after landing the cleaner shots. Next came Mitchell, the OUABC’s Men’s captain, and Fagbemi. Mitchell sought to control the range in the early exchanges, but Fagbemi, looking more comfortable at the weight, came on strong in the latter stages and revealed his devastating power. Mitchell demonstrated great resilience, but it was Fagbemi who received the judges’ nod. Lukoseviciute and Cheng were next to grace the ring. In a titanic classic clash of power versus speed, exchanges were evenly shared in the first round. As the bout progressed however, Lukoseviciute’s strength and conditioning took centre stage as her thudding punches echoed around the hall, earning her a deserved victory. 

Following these hotly fought contests were three bouts between Oxford University and UCL. Meriggi, the OUABC Women’s captain,  was the first to take to the stage, delivering a clinical performance on UCL’s Shinde. Armed with a longer reach, Meriggi adeptly controlled the range, and weaved in and out of Shinde’s striking distance. After three full rounds, Meriggi’s arm was raised in the middle of the ring, attesting to her dominant display. Shortly after, the OUABC president, Seiferth, faced off against UCL’s Berre in a bout sponsored by Fabienne Tyler, in memory of her late father and honorary life president Terry Adams. As ever, Seiferth pushed the pace of the bout, applying the pressure on Berre. Both boxers landed some clean shots in a fight that was difficult to score, but ultimately, it was the arm of the UCL fighter that was raised, giving Berre the win.

Tan of Oxford versus Andrews of UCL was the next bout on the card. Despite Tan’s best efforts, Andrews managed to land some tidy counterpunching, which earned him a unanimous victory. The final fight welcomed an external boxer into the ring: Quintero of Oxford University versus Duis of Bristol University. Quintero demonstrated incredible speed and composure, landing often in the early exchanges. Crimson started to fall from the nose of Duis, and despite the best efforts of the ringside doctor, the bout was called off by the referee, confirming Quintero’s imperious victory.

Anderson and Ancil stepped up next in a bout sponsored by OUABC alumnus Peter W. Davies. Despite a valiant effort from Ancil, Anderson was able to land the cleaner, more impactful shots, ultimately leading to a referee’s stoppage. Shortly afterwards, Ryce and Peralta served up a pulsating contest sponsored by OUABC alumnus Chris Mack, with the conditioning of both contestants clear to see. Peralta offered great resistance, but the slick footwork of Paddy ‘Paddypower’ Ryce opened the opportunities to punish his opponent. Ryce was announced as the winner, a decision that was met with a huge cheer from his vocal support.

The latter stages of the night witnessed the heavier boxers take to the ring, and as the drinks continued to flow, the atmosphere swelled. Mehdi and Bruton served up the next spectacle, with the latter having brought a congregation of vociferous support along with him. Bruton was explosive from the outset, forcing a standing count for his opponent. However, Mehdi, who demonstrated his ability to come back from behind in his last bout, delivered a similar performance and seized control in the latter stages, forcing two standing counts of his own. In a bout that showed incredible courage from both boxers, Mehdi emerged victorious, notching up another win on his record. Gaztowtt and Tsvetkov, two men of large stature, climbed into the ring next. The impressive reach of the boxers made the ring look like the metaphorical ‘phone box’, often referred to in boxing. Both showed impressive speed, but after three rounds, Gaztowtt took the spoils.

The penultimate fight saw Willfort in a heavy-handed contest against Nebe. Willfort, sporting the longer reach, restricted Nebe’s opportunities to move within range, proffering sparse chances for the latter to land clean hits. Despite Nebe’s persistent determination to progress forward, Willfort was confirmed as the winner in the ring. Finally, in the heavyweight division, Field faced up to Orwell. Orwell’s endeavours were commendable, but the indomitable power of Field was palpable from ringside, earning him a quick stoppage to conclude the night.

As ever, ‘Town vs Gown’ presented a litany of storylines, atmosphere, and drama. It was clear that every boxer that entered the unforgiving squared circle had followed incredible discipline, a testament to their sacrifices. The celebrations that proceeded in St Vincent’s saw opponents, who hours before had been trying to render each other unconscious, share a drink and laugh over their ordeals – the values of boxing demonstrated at their best. 

The OUABC’s next fixture takes place on 8th March in Cambridge, where the club squares up against their long-term rival CUABC. If ‘Town vs Gown’  this year was anything to go by, Varsity should prove to be a similarly unforgettable night.

Check out our other content

Most Popular Articles