“When it rains look for rainbows, when it’s dark look for stars”, (Oscar Wilde). I suppose that’s what my friends and I at Ultra White Collar Boxing were trying to do; to be the rainbows and stars for those in the darkest and most tempestuous periods of their lives; to be able to make a difference and give people hope where there seemingly is none. And why would we or anyone else not want to take part? Roughly 50% of people will have cancer once in their lives, so I can’t say my motivations were completely unselfish. But if you’re ship appears to be sinking, it’s always a good idea to stick your finger in the hole so that you might save everyone else aswell as yourself. Having said this, I think it accurate to declare that my original interest in taking part did come from a place of love and care for those in my life who were and remain affected by cancer.
It was November 2020 when my dad’s best friend Paul Plant, famously known as Uncle Paul, was diagnosed with cancer after doctors found a rather large brain tumour. Paul was a man who very much lived for every moment: working hard and enjoying his work, drinking many bottles of wine, wine being a great passion of his, watching rugby, listening to music (he was indeed a fan of The Great Leslie), and eating food at the finest restaurants all around the world. So, hearing that this unstoppable force had met an immovable object was something that left a malaise in our own heads, for what is worse than the prospect of losing someone you love?
Soon after, in the following February, a close friend of mine found out that her sister had been diagnosed with breast cancer. She was 26 years old at the time. Yet another person close to me was affected in an inconceivably, emotionally taxing way and all I wanted to do was help. Obviously you can be there for people, and sometimes just being there to hold someone’s hand is the most important thing, but when it comes to cancer you can’t help but feel helpless. I can however say, after receiving several courses of chemotherapy, that my friend’s sister is clear of cancer, now well, ready, and eager to marry her fiancé.
Unfortunately remission is not a blessing bestowed on everyone, for after nine months of treatment, in August of 2021; the unstoppable force that was Paul Plant came to a head with his immovable object, a collision that caused cataclysmic collateral damage in the minds and hearts of the countless people who loved him. Paul died in his sleep.
It was in those days after his death that I was scrolling through Instagram and came across an advert to take part in a boxing match in order to raise money for Cancer Research. Now, I’d only ever done a bit of boxing training with a friend of mine at school, which was a while ago, so I was hesitant to say the least, but also defiant in the face of this malevolent disease that had just ridden roughshod over mine and my families lives. So I thought, ‘bollocks to it, the worst that could happen is that I get hit in the face’, which is hardly the money maker…(waiting for affirmation but just hearing crickets).
Months later I was training with many people whom had felt the same compulsion to put themselves through eight weeks of gruelling training and a showcase in the name of Cancer Research. It was such a joy to be with so many wonderful individuals who were taking part to help others, which was particularly evident at the final event. On the night, only love and goodwill for all the fighters resonated throughout The Troxy in East London. We were all there to do a job, and we did it. As I type this out, my fellow amateur boxers and myself have raised £25,000 and there’s still time to raise more. So if you are reading this, haven’t donated yet and wish to, please visit my JustGiving page.
All in all, I took part in something that I thoroughly loved; the endless shadow boxing, pad work, fitness sessions and sparring put me through my paces, but I would do it all over again, and perhaps one day I will once more feel compelled to do it for someone else. Maybe one day someone will do it for me. For now however, I’m just going to have a glass of wine, raise it to the rainbows, to the stars, and to my Uncle Paul.
I am most honourably and emotionally,
Oliver Trevers aka. The Trouble Maker.