They called it a “brawl”, but, honestly, I’d have to disagree.

Wednesday night’s event at Henley Town Hall wasn’t a brawl; it was a showcase. A showcase of skill, ambition, talent. A showcase of dedication. A showcase of passion and a showcase of belief – from coach to boxer, and vice versa.

As an avid mixed martial arts fan myself, to hear there was a charity boxing event happening locally was naturally exciting. Boxing is one of the key aspects of MMA, and as a stand-alone sport it’s arguably one of the most entertaining for spectators: there can be no more intense competition than stepping into a ring with a fellow athlete, one-on-one, toe-to-toe, and seeing who comes out on top.

Simon Teague, a long-time local of the Duke and well-known, all-round great guy, is the coach at Twyford Boxing Club, and he along with Lee Richards arranged the event from beginning to end. The set up was pure professionalism; the lights, the ring and the MC made the night feel real and exciting, whilst a standing-only crowd made sure the boys in the ring were suitably fired up – the atmosphere was buzzing before the event had even begun. It was, above all, impressive; to see almost 200 people turn out on a Wednesday night, all in the name of raising money for charity and developing young talent, made us proud to be Twyfordians.

Which leads me to the stars of the show: the boxers. Each and every one of them did Simon proud and are a testament to his commitment to the sport. They were awesome, simply put – with slick jabs, heavy hooks and speedy footwork there were wins for both corners, Red and Blue alike, culminating in a fantastically intense crowd-pleaser of a bout between Joe Abbott and Mitchell Pesani to end the night. These are seriously talented boys – no one envied the judges’ job of calling a winner, and the eventual call of a draw was fair and not unexpected.

The event raised £450 for the Nomad Youth & Community Project charity, who help children, youths and families in the local area at a grassroots level. It’s something Simon and Lee care about; these guys put their hearts into this event. It didn’t go unnoticed.

What more could you want on an otherwise quiet Wednesday evening? It was exciting. It was sportsmanlike from start to finish. It was full of heart, and passion (not to mention cheap beer and a half-decent playlist – winning); I cannot wait for the next.

Check out Nomad’s website at http://www.nomadhenley.co.uk, and if you’re interested in training with Simon and the boys go to Twyford Boxing Club’s facebook page and drop them a message. All welcome. (Sidenote: I myself will be attending the next session, Wednesday evening at Stanlake Meadow, Twyford. Come along to train, or just to have a good old laugh at me attempting to box.)