Nov 29, 2023

DUBES Charity Boxing: An Insider’s Account of the Boxing Experience

Trinity 3rd-Year, Ashling Bourke, gives The University Times an exclusive into the transition from friend to fighter and the vigorous training that the spectacle of boxing demands

Ashling BourkeContributing Writer

Growing up a dancer, I never thought that I would be stepping into a boxing ring, even less that my friend would be my competition. But somehow, I was convinced that I should learn how to punch in aid of charity. After six weeks of training, I’m gearing up to box my friend at DUBES White Collar Boxing. 

The looming fight night was daunting for someone who has never played a contact sport. But the Head On Boxing Academy trainers were excellent in breaking everything down to complete basics and ensuring safety was at the forefront of everything we did. It was comforting to know that hurting each other was never the goal; raising money for charity was.

Singing up to the fight night with my friend was quite daunting. I worried our friendship might not survive the punches thrown at training. However, being at the multiple trainings a week helped bring us closer together, which was a welcome surprise. I know that whatever happens in the ring tonight, I’ll leave the ring with a friend and not an enemy, no matter how many punches are thrown. 


While it was tough finding the time to make it to training and focusing on my fitness again, the real challenge for me was getting into the right headspace. It was hard flipping the switch between chatting and having fun on the way to boxing to punching that same person in the face. I had to separate the training from our friendship to hit my friend. The physical aspect was relatively easy once I figured out how to become a boxer mentally.  

Movember is a cause dear to my heart, so I was eager to raise money in aid of them. Movember’s primary goal is destigmatising men’s mental health as well as bringing awareness to testicular and prostate cancer. It’s great to know how supportive the Trinity community is in supporting and raising money for Movember. I never realised how much my friends would pay to see me fight someone, so raising the minimum contribution was easier than I thought. Watching the tickets sell out so fast was amazing, knowing that the proceeds are going towards the DUBES Movember team and that we are making a difference while having fun. 

I’ve had a great time these past six weeks getting in shape, learning a new sport, and making new friends. As fight night began, I could feel the tensions rising. The crowd’s energy was unreal and fed so well into the energy in the ring. My fight was second to last, so every fight and bad hit made me more nervous. Stepping into the ring was a feeling like no other; the crowd’s roar and the support of friends were both incredible. The rounds flew by, adrenaline keeping me going and helping me throw every punch. Focused on offence for the first round, my friend got in a few good shots. I only remember the hit of one nasty punch post-fight. Keeping the energy up in the following two rounds, I got good head and body shots when my opponent’s guard was down. After three tough rounds, I was announced the winner, but I’m sure the judges had their work cut out for them making that decision. I loved the boxing experience and am looking forward to returning to the ring in the future!

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