Knockout blows, bloody noses and bow ties: A rundown of The Fighter

Did anyone else also absolutely stack it down the stairs?

The Fighter 2022 came to an epic conclusion on Monday as students packed out the O2 Academy to watch their mates cosplay as Tyson Fury.

Clad in their finest sparkly heels and suits that have never seen the dry cleaners, spectators and fighters brought the venue alive. After a gruelling eight-week training programme, it all came down to five frantic hours of hedonism and combat sports.

As soon as we arrived, we headed straight to the bar where drinks were flowing like no one had rent to pay. Fuelled by pints and passion, everyone around us seemed to be in high spirits as the music built for the first fight of the night.

Descending into the arena might as well have been a Gold DofE expedition. The stairs were a force to be reckoned with and a continual source of entertainment throughout the evening. Once you actually reached ringside, however, any pain of a broken ankle immediately dissipated as the fighters captivated the audience with their walkouts.

From the enthralling dancing of “Easy” Tiger to the pure testosterone of Tom “The Hitman” Higs, every boxer was met with rowdy cheers, banners and boos.

Tab privileges afforded me a ringside spot for the much anticipated clash between Olivia “Welcome to Notts” Smith and Lydia “Light Work” Larkin. The ferocious support not only from friends but also between coaches and athletes became clear with big hugs between opponents after every fight.

First to grace the ring was Thomas “The Tank Engine” Hartley versus Hamish “The Flying Squirrel” McMillan. If you cast your mind back to the interviews we did with the fighters during the training process, as I’m sure you all have read, you’ll remember that Hamish chose to walk out to the controversial “Fight For This Love” by Cheryl Cole. Well, cupid wasn’t working in his favour on Monday night as Hamish threw punch after punch to no avail, Thomas “The Tank Engine” reigned supreme. 

Special mention to Livina ‘The Lionheart” Onuegbu and her killer biceps – I certainly would not want to meet her down a dark alley anytime soon. A little birdie told me that Livina trained 10 times a week for the big night, a bloody impressive effort that paid off on the day as she arose victorious against Daisy “Rascal”.

We are sending our best wishes to Archie “Steel Fist” Stevens after he sustained not one but two knockouts in the final men’s fight of the night. I wonder if the Students Health Service will pay for a nose job.

Although the crowd were on their last legs by the time the final fight concluded and the blood had been mopped up from the ring, the drunken crowd of students somehow managed to stumble into Ubers and make their way to the afterparty at Lakota.

With the fighters sporting their shining medals and gaudy shorts, the night was danced away to the sounds of students who had finally progressed from mixing out of their bedrooms to the bright lights of Stokes Croft. Heels and clubbing go together like Bristol and sobriety, so there were many sore feet (and noses) the next day.

Given so many on the night decided that, actually, they reckon they could give it ago, I’m sure next year’s event in March will be just as outrageous and just as gruesome.

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