The boxers Rocky Marciano and Joe Calzaghe both retired as undefeated champions of the world. AVK Donkin’s Paul Oscroft has joined this elite group retiring undefeated after winning his bout to raise money for Cancer Research.
A key member of AVK Donkin’s logistics team, Paul enjoyed kickboxing in his earlier years:
‘My Mum passed away from breast cancer and other friends and relatives have been hit by cancer too. I wanted to help in the fight to find a cure and decided boxing was a different and exciting way of fund-raising. I’d always wondered what it would feel like to be in the ring. In the event I was incredibly relaxed and chilled. I think the training played a big part in this.’
Paul was part of a group of 44 ‘white collar’ boxers who all trained together in preparation for the big night at the DoubleTree Hilton on 30 November:
‘The training was spread over 8 weeks, with three training sessions per week. The first three weeks focussed on fitness and then moved on to technique. One of my neighbours is a boxing coach and he helped me improve my ringcraft such as reading what my opponent was going to do.’
Each bout consisted of three two-minute rounds. The fighters wear headguards, groin protectors and 16-ounce gloves (professionals tend to wear 10 or 12-ounce gloves). Other than that, it’s just as combative as professional boxing:
‘My kickboxing meant I was used to the feeling of getting hit, but it still hurt! One of the punches definitely made my legs buckle. At the end of the bout I was absolutely exhausted. As well as winning the bout, I also ‘won’ a black eye!’
Ironically, Paul’s opponent in his bout was Stuart Brook, a DPD delivery driver, who regularly makes deliveries into AVK Donkin.
‘The organisers match opponents based on a range of factors such as ability, weight and age. Having said that, Stuart is ten-years younger than me. This was also his fourth fight.’
Paul, who has worked for AVK Donkin for fourteen years, is no stranger to charity fundraising. Previous challenges have included the Great North Run (half-marathon) for Macmillan Cancer Support and walking the 46 miles of the Chesterfield Canal for Ashgate Hospice. Paul is also working towards a British Athletics coaching qualification. He is currently an assistant coach at Chesterfield Athletics Club where one of the athletes is his daughter, Ellie.
At the time of writing Paul had raised £600 for Cancer Research, helped by a £200 donation from the company and the support of many of his colleagues. Overall, the event raised over £13,000.
Very well done Paul - a brave thing to do!