Richie, you’re through to the BUCS finals in Sheffield, but first, can you guide us through your semi-final win?
I boxed against last year’s champion Tom Davies from Liverpool University. I’ve dropped down a weight category for this competition, so I ended up having a huge height advantage over my opponent.
I didn’t box my best as I think I was slightly drained from making the weight, but I managed to score the win without too much trouble.
I forced the bout and was the more aggressive of the two, and I think my superior fitness led me to become stronger over the four rounds. I was so happy to get the win, and can’t wait for the final.
Your progression in the competition marks the best result the club has ever seen, what do you attribute your success to?
I’ve had a very active season thus far, this being my fifth fight of the season. Being so active has given me the relevant experience to succeed in BUCS.
I’ve been training for BUCS since September so I’m taking it very seriously this year and I’ll be disappointed if I don’t come back with the gold. I’ve also got a great coach who has helped in my progression by changing some major faults I had in my style.
Alongside your individual performances, you are currently the club captain. How do you balance your time between duties and individual performance? Do you feel you are doing equally well in both aspects?
I don’t really see this as an issue – many people complain about how they don’t have time to train but who can’t spare an hour or two every evening? I don’t feel as if training for an hour and a half in the evening or a morning run detracts too much from my duties as captain and I’m fairly used to it anyway.
Personally I think that it’s good for the club captain to set an example to the rest of the club by competing regularly, especially in an individual sport like boxing.
Judging on the improvements we’ve seen this year, I think I’m doing okay with both aspects.
How did you get into Boxing?
I was 13, overweight and unfit. I wasn’t any good at any team sports and a lot of my family had boxed before so I was encouraged to get involved.
With recent events such as the boxing in the Lemon Grove, do you feel the club is growing in interest and participation?
Definitely. Each year the club has grown in terms of sheer size and we’ve achieved a lot more in competitions each year.
This year we had a record number of sign-ups and we managed to field our first ever full squad of boxers at the Lemon Grove show.
As a result of that show, interest in the club has never been bigger and more people than ever want to compete. This bodes well for future years, as many of the people who are beginning to compete this year will be of BUCS standard soon enough – hopefully next year we’ll have more than one finalist.
Are there any big future plans for boxing at Exeter?
We plan to hold two shows next year (maybe more) in the Great Hall – it will be just like the Lemon Grove but on a much larger scale.
With the success of the first show in mind, we think it’ll become one of the major events in Exeter’s sporting calendar.
Our squad is growing all the time and next year we’ll be much more of a dominant force on the University boxing scene. Next year we’re hoping to enter many more into BUCS and build a bigger reputation for our club.
I want our club to become one of the best University boxing clubs in the country and I don’t think that is an unrealistic goal in the long term.
Looking forward to the fight, do you know anything about your opposition?
I’ve got a lad from Derby University but I don’t know a lot about him. I’ve seen a little bit on YouTube and he looks like quite a strong guy who likes to throw wild hooks.
If I’m on top of my game I should be able to win, I just need to box cleverly. I’m expecting a tough four rounds but I’m going in after a massive confidence boost from the semi’s and I’m gonna give it everything.
Do you think you will keep boxing after you leave Exeter?
Definitely. I’m hopefully staying for a MA next year and will run for captain again.
I’d like to compete for as long as I can and when I’m finished I think I’ll give something back to the sport by coaching.
Before we wish you good luck for the fight, any last words you’d like to give while you have the chance?
Let’s just hope you’ll be interviewing me again in two weeks time after winning the gold!
Richie will be boxing for Exeter as part of the BUCS Gatorade Nationals, the largest annual multi-sport event in the UK which this year returns to Sheffield. 130 universities compete in 11 different sports.