Interview: Stefan Lavelle on Town vs Gown

Eleanor Simmons 5 February 2014

Tonight at the Guildhall, the Blues boxing team will face a collection of local boxers in the annual Town vs Gown match. TCS Sport caught up with team captain Stefan Lavelle.

How are the Blues boxers looking ahead of Town vs Gown and Varsity?
There are lots of new faces amongst this year’s squad and overall I have been impressed with how they have developed. Club veterans have also hit the ground running this term and will hopefully achieve peak fitness in time for the Varsity match. Town vs Gown will give us a good indication as to how prepared we are for Varsity.
Why do you think the Town vs Gown event is so popular?
Boxing is a sport most students at Cambridge are unaccustomed to. The prospect of viewing something unfamiliar, especially people punching each other in the face, is enticing. Boxing is something that all sports fans can appreciate: you don’t need to be a boxing aficionado to enjoy a good scrap and this represents competition at its most primitive level.

How does it compare to Varsity?
The Varsity match is the biggest sporting occasion most of the Blues will participate in in their lives. It is contested in front of over 1000 noisy spectators and so the intensity is unrivalled. However, this does not detract from the importance of Town vs Gown and the buzz it creates. The standard of competition is typically high and the crowds are excellent: drunk students always make for an entertaining crowd!
Do you modify your training and diet in the run up to big fights?
I try to modify my diet in fighting season, but like Ricky Hatton, I am a food addict. I eat lots of unhealthy food which causes me to blow up in weight. This forces my hand in boxing season because I have to make fighting weight. My calorific intake during fighting season decreases despite all the training I do.

What goes through your mind on the day of the fight?
I spend the day of most of my fights behaving as I would on any other day, with the day of the Varsity match being a notable exception. I tend not to think about the fight and only start to get ‘in the zone’ when I arrive at the venue. From that point on it gets more and more intense until I step in to the ring.
How will you celebrate if you win?
Without trying to sound crude, probably with copious amounts of alcohol. Having said that I may react in the same way if I lose! Joking aside, we will probably have a celebratory night out irrespective of the outcome. Many of us are abstaining from alcohol so Town vs Gown will be an excuse to break this trend with one more night out before the Varsity match.