First Imperial National Boxing Champion
Many congratulations to Aileen Cooney 4th Year UG student in the Department of Chemistry who has recently been awarded a gold medal in the final of the BUCS Boxing Championships held at Staffordshire University in early February. With a fight record of 4-0, she now also holds the title for British Universities National Boxing Champion (U57kg, Novice). Well done, Aileen, it is the first time Imperial has had a National Boxing Champion.
Aileen started boxing, 2 years ago during her 3rd year at Imperial. She was on a year-long placement last year at GSK, so she trained and boxed at her local club the East London Boxing Academy. On returning to Imperial this year, Aileen switched her boxing card so she could represent the Imperial College Boxing Club and has been training twice a day since.
Boxers fight in different categories depending upon their weight class and experience. Aileen boxed in the 54-57kg weight class and <5 bout (Novice) category. Judges typically score based on the boxers' work-rate, shots landed, movement in the ring and tactical ability. Aileen won her semi-final by unanimous decision and then went on to face a tough opponent in the final. She and Imperial’s boxing coach George Burton worked out a game plan - starting the final on the front foot and maintaining the pace throughout the three rounds in order to not give her opponent a chance to land any shots. This tactic clearly paid off as Aileen went on to win the final on points!
Aileen noted “the mental toughness and discipline boxing teaches are also useful in academic work since it teaches focus, restraint and motivation. Some days you really have to convince yourself to go training! I have also learnt to manage my time much more effectively in order to fit in all the training alongside academic work. Winning the championships is something I will treasure for the rest of my life but the commitment and dedication required to get to this point have given me self-belief that is applicable to so many other aspects of life besides boxing. I hope that others can be motivated to pursue their hobbies alongside their academic studies and realise that you do not have to choose between the two!’
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