The annual Cambridge vs. Oxford Varsity Boxing Match is the oldest inter-club amateur boxing contest in the world. With weights ranging from featherweight to heavyweight, each university puts forward their top nine boxers to compete. The 106st annual varsity boxing match on March 9th was the first time it has been held in Cambridge since 2005 and the Cambridge team was eager to win the TrueLove Bowl trophy on home soil. Earlier in the season, Cambridge was victorious with a resounding 7-3 victory at the historical “Town vs. Gown” match and was optimistic for the upcoming varsity match.
This year, out of the final nine Cambridge varsity fighters, we had Xiaofeng Li from the Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology. Xiaofeng Li is a master student studying M.Phil in Bioscience Enterprise programme (MBE) and competed in the light-welter weight division for Cambridge University.
The opening of the varsity event put Cambridge in a struggling position, as the first two Cambridge fighters lost their bouts to Oxford fighters. Knowing that Cambridge could not afford to trail 0-3, Xiaofeng Li entered the ring on a mission against Oxford captain Tom Eliasz. Both boxers displayed breathtaking speed and raw power that had the crowd on their feet on numerous occasions. The cagey affair then swung in Cambridge's favour when Li increased his pace in the third round that left Eliasz visibly stunned. The venue erupted when Li was awarded a majority decision by the judges to score the first victory for the home team.
Unfortunately, as the competition remained strong throughout the evening, Cambridge fell short with Oxford ending up victorious in a 6-3 defeat. Knowing that the TrueLove Bowl was taken from Cambridge in a heartfelt defeat, Cambridge fighers are preparing to come back with a vengeance in next year’s Varsity match.