Fighting Red Gyms – (Written by a member of CSC)
Our trade union boxing club (Cambridge Socialist Club) received an invite to SOLSTARS’ summer fight club, so a few us jumped in the car and made the short trip down the M11 to London. For those not in the know Solstar Sports Association is a woman-led, anti-fascist gym that hosts two weekly boxing and thai-boxing classes amongst other events and does so from a Turkish/Kurdish refugees community centre in London. Not only have our Solstar comrades jumped into our corner to help at long distance boxing bouts but provided the inspiration to start our socialist boxing club.
One of my first encounters with Solstar was its members holding a banner with communist Ivana Hoffman quote on the front, the first International Volunteer to be martyred fighting ISIS in defense of the kurdistan region. “Perhaps I will meet my limits and fall behind but I will never give up the spirit to fight”.On entering the venue frames with other martyred Turkish & Kurdish figures adorn the main room walls providing an essential historical link from the revolutionary past to its present.
After the initial greetings and hugs with our comrades the registration and weigh in saw the compeitors in good shape with maybe only 1 or 2 looking like they started their summer holidays early. The group warm up came next and then the first of the competitive sparring. The first bout saw our Mauy thai fighter up against a Solstar opponent with big punches thrown from the off. The format was 3 x 2 minute rounds and early on the rangey Solstar fighter used his height and jab to stop our CSC fighter trying to gain the inside space. Loads of leg kicks and head hunting ensued in the last round even seeing a spinning punch and some quality single shots
The second and third bouts we’re back to the boxing discipline and our CSC boxer matched against a classy opponent who threw out quality 4/5 combination punches behind a good jab. Our boxer went in for 6 straight rounds, the second of the 3 with a tough scrapper who though wild in his flurries, showed strength against a larger opponent. The finale consisted of swapping opponents after each round and saw more skill and stamina displayed.The event officially ended with a group warm down and some mad strong Turkish coffee to go with a relax and a natter.A fantastic event to introduce and develop boxers and thai boxers skills and to provide the next step onto competitive bouts.
On the car journey home we had a discussion about the correlation between England and particurlaly Cambridges’ own role in fighting fascism. During the spanish civil war 23 known International Volunteers from our city went to fight on the side of the pro-republican, anti-fascist forces. This number included John Cornford the great grandson of Charles Darwin who was killed 28 December 1936 in Lopera. Our club should see these sacrifices by our ancestors and look to commerorate their memory by not only fostering comradeship, mutual respect and discipline, but by always remembering the anti-fascist and international socialist struggle. As emblazoned on our club shorts “We are the Reds” and with the blood of our martyrs our flag stays red.
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