UK To Host International Boxing Festival In Cardiff, July 29-31

boxingWales has been selected to host this year’s World Boxing Council (WBC) Night of Champions, a Gala Awards event held every four years at which the global boxing community unites to celebrate and acknowledge lifetime achievements, unsung heroes, and boxing’s contribution to developing youth and the wider community. This year, over 100 current and ex-champions are expected to visit Cardiff for the three-day international boxing festival, making it the greatest gathering of champions in history. Already confirmed are such names as David Haye, Joe Frazier, Eric Morales, Roberto Duran, Hector “Macho” Camacho, Leon Spinks, Ernie Shavers, and Tim Witherspoon. The core of the three-day Festival comprises:

--- The World Premiere of the Welsh-made film “Risen” -- about the life of World and Welsh boxing legend, Howard Winstone – the inspiring story of the Merthyr man who overcame the odds to win a World Boxing Championship
--- An official pre-Olympic tournament, “Team GB versus the Rest of the World,” featuring GB’s best amateurs against the top-flight international competition.
--- The WBC’s Night of Champions Gala Awards Dinner

All these events will be held at the Cardiff International Arena, and tickets are now on sale. Details on each element of the Festival can be found online at

In addition to the core festival, there will be:

--- an open-top bus ride by Champions around Cardiff
--- opportunities for fans to meet many of their boxing heroes on the streets of Cardiff
--- visits by Champions to youth and community projects

Announcing the choice of Cardiff as Host City, WBC President Jose Sulaiman remarked, “The world of boxing is delighted to be returning to one of the great homes of our sport, to Wales, a country from which so many great champions and traditions have been nurtured. Celebrating the WBC’s ‘Night of Champions’ in Cardiff will be something we will all remember for years to come.“

boxingEvent organizer David Walker said, “This is every boxing fan’s dream. The greatest champions, the wider boxing community, and the fans all in one place at the same time. Cardiff will have a carnival atmosphere. Everyone’s invited.”

Cardiff City Council supports the WBC Night of Champions International Boxing Festival, with Welsh Assembly Government support for the Team GB tournament. Welcoming the WBC’s decision, Neil McEvoy, Cardiff City Council Deputy Leader, stated. “This will be a wonderful event, where Wales welcomes the world, as the sport of boxing returns to its heartland. Wales has a rich and proud tradition in the sport, and we continue to punch well above our weight in terms of current and recent world champions.”

McEvoy continued, “But this is not about looking back, it is about looking ahead. This Festival will help Cardiff showcase its contemporary face to millions of people around the world. Hosting the event is the culmination of much effort by the local boxing community, Cardiff City Council and the Welsh Assembly Government. It reflects growing confidence in Cardiff, to hold two major international sporting extravaganzas within a matter of weeks. I urge everyone to support the Night of Champions Festival, enjoy yourselves, and show the world how Wales celebrates sporting achievement.”

Tickets for all three evenings of the Festival can be purchased online at, or via telephone at:

--- Ticketmaster; tel: 0844 999 999
--- Cardiff International Arena Box Office; tel: 029 2022 4488
--- St David’s Sport & Stage; tel: 029 2023 4567


boxingThe opening event of the WBC Night of Champions is the world premiere of “Risen.” The film is the inspirational tale of World and Welsh boxing legend, Howard Winstone, who, despite losing the fingers on his right hand, still went on to win a Boxing World Title. “Risen” receives its world premiere before an audience of the greatest boxers of all time from all round the world.

Directed by award-winning Neil Jones, the film features a galaxy of screen and boxing idols, and stars John Noble (from hit TV Series Fringe). It tells Howard’s life, from losing his fingers – so, effectively, fighting one-handed -- to becoming Featherweight Champion of the World.

The film is the opening event of the WBC Night of Champions International Boxing Festival. Over 100 current and ex-world champions are expected to visit Cardiff for the three-day international boxing festival, making it the greatest gathering of champions in history.

As with all the events, the Film Premiere is open to the public who can watch the film with their boxing heroes. The Premiere will be at the Cardiff International Arena, doors open 6.30pm, the film starts at 7.30pm, Thursday 29 July. More information about the film can be found at

Tickets to the World Premiere of “Risen” are £20 and can be purchased from the box office at 02920 224488. Tickets can be purchased online at, and via Ticketmaster at


In the first ever Team GB vs. Rest of the World tournament, Britain’s prospective London 2012 boxers face their sternest challenge yet on the road to Olympic glory. Ten of Britain’s finest young male boxers, and two of our best female boxers, will assess their progress and preparation for the London Olympic Games in a prestigious international tournament. The tournament is also the final competitive outing for Britain’s boxers before the Commonwealth Games. More information about the tournament can be found at

The tournament is also distinguished by being the first time that British Olympic hopefuls have fought before an audience of the greatest boxing world champions, many themselves previous Olympic medal winners, offering advice and encouragement to our next generation of boxing stars.

A British team has never fought a Rest of the World team before, and there are some significant match-ups to give our men and women the best preparation possible to secure medals.

Derek Mapp of the British Amateur Boxing Association (BABA) says, “The GB Team are looking forward to a fantastic weekend of boxing in Cardiff. Our boxers see this as a big opportunity to enhance their selection prospects for the Commonwealth Games, and as a privilege to be able to compete in front of so many former world champions. It stands to be one of the great nights in this year’s boxing calendar.”
Team GB to fight on the night will be selected from the British Amateur Boxing Association’s (BABA) elite squad, selected for specialised support and development in preparation for London 2012. The squad includes four Welsh athletes. The two British female boxers will be selected from the elite women’s’ squad. Male and female squad lists are attached below, and bios on each of the boxers can be found on BABA’s website,

BABA are in contact with other Associations around the world, and the Rest of the World team will be selected from leading European, US, Asian, African and Latin American countries. The opponents will be selected on the basis that they provide a developmental challenge for Team GB members, in the most important tournament in which Team GB competes this year.

Doors to the event open at 6pm, and the first bout starts at 7pm. Tickets are £25 (Second Tier); £30 (First Tier); £40 (Floor); £50 (Second Ringside); and £100 (Ringside). Private Balcony Boxes with Hospitality seating available at request.

Tickets can be purchased at the Box Office, 02920 224488, and online at Tickets are also available via Ticketmaster at

The Team GB Podium Squad is:

Squad member
Weight category
Home town
Khalid Yafai
Flyweight  (51 Kg)
Birmingham, England
Daniel Chapman
Flyweight  (51 Kg)
Blaengwyfi, Wales
Andrew Selby
Bantamweight (54Kg)
Barry, Wales
Gamal Yafai
Bantamweight (54Kg)
Birmingham, England
Leigh Woods
Bantamweight (54Kg)
Nottingham, England
Luke Campbell
Featherweight  (57Kg)
Hull, England
Martin Ward
Featherweight (57 Kg)
Romford, England
Iain Weaver
Featherweight (57Kg)
Ferndown, England
Thomas Stalker
Lightweight (60Kg)
Liverpool, England
Bradley Saunders
Light welterweight (64Kg)
Stockton-on Tees, England
Scott Cardle
Light welterweight (64Kg)
Lytham, England
Lewis Rees
Light welterweight (64Kg)
Rhondda, Wales
Fred Evans
(Light) Welterweight  (64-69Kg)
Cardiff, Wales
Callum Smith
Welterweight (69Kg)
Liverpool, England
Frank Buglioni
Middleweight (75Kg)
London, England
Antony Ogogo
Middleweight (75Kg)
Lowestoft, England
Obed Mbwakango
Light heavyweight (81 Kg)
London, England
Warren Baister
Heavyweight (91Kg)
Sunderland, England
Stephen Simmons
Heavyweight (91Kg)
Edinburgh, Scotland
Simon Vallily
Heavyweight (91Kg)
Middlesbrough, England

The Team GB Development Squad is:

Squad member
Weight category
Home town
Charlie Edwards
Light flyweight (48Kg)
Croydon, England
Thomas Stubbs
Flyweight (51 Kg)
Oldham, England
James Dickens
Flyweight (51 Kg)
Liverpool, England
Zack Davies
Flyweight (51 Kg)
Llanelli, Wales
John Quigley
Featherweight (57Kg)
Liverpool, England
Antonio Coulihan
Lightweight (60Kg)
Birmingham, England
Ryan Aston
Welterweight/Middleweight (69-75Kg)
Dudley, England
Declan Fusco
Light heavyweight (81 Kg)
Durham, England
Karl Kirkham
Light heavyweight (81 Kg)
Blackpool, England
Amin Isa
Super Heavyweight (91Kg+)
London, England
Fraser Clarke
Super Heavyweight (91Kg+)
Burton, England

The Team GB Women’s’ Podium Squad is:

Squad member
Weight category
Home town
Nicola Adams
Light flyweight (51Kg)
Haringey, England
Lucy O’Connor
Flyweight (51 Kg)
Portsmouth, England
Nina Smith
Flyweight (51 Kg)
Grays, England
Amanda Coulson
Lightweight (60 Kg)
Hartlepool, England
Natasha Jones
Lightweight (60Kg)
Liverpool, England
Ruth Raper
Lightweight (60Kg)
Haringey, England
Savannah Marshall
Middleweight (75Kg)
Hartlepool, England


The WBC Night of Champions is a Gala Awards event intended to be held every four years at which the global boxing community unites to celebrate and acknowledge lifetime achievements, unsung heroes, and boxing’s contribution to developing youth and the wider community.

The First Night of Champions, four years ago, in Cancun, Mexico, attracted almost 100 current and past world title-holders. This year, over 100 current and ex-champions are expected to visit Cardiff for the three-day international boxing festival, making it the greatest gathering of champions in history.

The Night of Champions is the boxing equivalent of the “Oscars”, with Awards being made to a variety of champions, ordinary people who commit themselves to supporting young boxers, community projects using boxing as a way of re-focusing young offenders or giving disadvantaged young people new opportunities. More information about the Gala Awards event can be found at

As well as celebrities from the ring and silver screen, the Awards ceremony is open to the public, unlike the ‘Oscars’, allowing ordinary people to join the boxing fraternity and All-time Greats. The ceremony is being held at the Cardiff International Arena, and tickets are now available for the dinner event.

Doors open at 6pm, and tickets are priced from £250 pp. Tickets can be purchased at the box office, 02920 234567, and online at


Funding community projects in Wales for disadvantaged and at risk youth is a primary objective of the WBC Night of Champions Festival. For more information, see

As the world’s largest sports governing body, the WBC dedicates a portion of its resources to help disadvantaged and ill children around the world. In the UK, “WBC Sporting Chances” supports this ethos by providing community-based schemes to help young people.

Boxing is an excellent way to help the disadvantaged, particularly in helping young offenders to re-focus their lives more productively. The discipline and dedication required in the Sport makes it the perfect vehicle for young people to learn transferable life skills that can really make a difference, giving them the tools to make a positive change and a platform for success.

Night of Champions event organiser, Kevin Hayde explained, “People have their own views on boxing, but there is no denying the sport’s beneficial impact on many young people, teaching them discipline, respect and leading a healthy lifestyle. Far better they expend their natural energy in a ring than on the streets, developing life and work skills alongside their boxing talents. Every fan visiting the Festival will also be contributing to a fund to be reinvested back into the community, which not only helps our most troubled and disadvantaged youth, but gives them hope and skills for the future.”

Event organisers are currently in discussion with a range of interested organisations, including the police, Cardiff City Council and Princes Trust, regarding the development new programs to meet the needs of young people in Wales. WBC Sporting chances will continue engaging with local community groups and other organisations to meet the ongoing needs of these young people.

Welcoming the initiative, Cardiff City Council Deputy Leader, Cllr Judith Woodman, said, “As a child, the local boxing gym was an integral part of my community. We should take the best traditions of the past and shape them to meet the challenges of tomorrow. Boxing is proven to be the most effective sport in helping many young people back on the path of leading successful, satisfying lives.”

UK Director of WBC Sporting Chances, Mervyn Turner explained, “So many Champion boxers themselves come from difficult backgrounds, and so many of them readily give their time and support to community and child projects. In the UK we provide boxing-based courses for a variety of people with the aim of helping them make positive changes in their lives, that not only improve their own life but those of others around them, helping them become a valuable tax paying member of society rather than a drain on the public resource. We are giving young people a ‘Sporting Chance’ in life. All our courses use proven methods and principles to impart valuable information to participants enabling them to gain the valuable life skills they so desperately need.  We also use local, national and international role models to deliver key messages, lifestyle skills, and inspiration to help young people find a better future. Many former WBC world champions offer their services in their role as WBC ambassadors. The ‘Night of Champions’ Festival is a fantastic platform for us to develop projects in Wales and across the United Kingdom.”

Article posted on 15.05.2010

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