'India's First Cambridge Blue' - By Sebastian Pender, VM 105 & VM106
24 February 2018 (First printed 31st JANUARY 2015)
Paresh Lal Roy represented CUABC in 1914 and won his bout to become India’s first Cambridge Blue. Educated at London’s St Paul’s School, Roy learnt how to box as a school boy and won the Public School Championships at Featherweight before joining Trinity College, Cambridge. Following WWI, during which Roy served in the Royal Artillery, he returned to India where he continued to box.
On one particularly memorable occasion some years later in Calcutta, Roy was watching a large boxing show held at the Empire when the withdrawal of one of the boxers prompted Roy to ‘gulp down his scotch and soda’ before stripping down to his underpants and volunteering to replace the injured boxer. As one surprised member of the crowd later recounted, those at ringside watched incredulously as ‘dress bow, stiff shirt and dress suit were peeled off and into the ring stepped a man with black silk socks and patent leather shoes’.
If the build up was surprising then the result was unbelievable. Wearing just his pants and patent leather shoes, the slightly built and intoxicated Roy looked like an easy target for his experienced and much larger opponent, however in the very first round, Roy delivered a series of unanswered blows which left his opponent face down on the canvas and the referee scrambling to pull the ‘little Indian’ off his powerfully built opponent.
Though never turning professional, Roy perhaps showed the extent of his sporting prowess when, in 1924, he fought Edgar Bright, the reigning Bantamweight Champion of India. Knocking him down repeatedly including, on one occasion, through the ropes and into the crowd, the controversial decision in favour of Bright was probably more a reflection of the political climate than of the fight itself.
Today, Roy is remembered by many as the ‘father of Indian boxing’, less for his time in the ring and more for a lifetime spent popularising the sport in the subcontinent. With a number of monuments dedicated to his memory, and with a large stadium named after him, Roy is rightly remembered among the greatest of CUABC’s alumni.
Heavyweight Blue turns 100
28tH October 2017
CUABC is pleased to announce the 100th birthday of John Hockman, who fought at heavyweight in the 1939 Varsity Match. John is pictured above wearing the original 1896 CUABC tie, sent as a gift from the Club. Also pictured is his 1939 Varsity team photo and match reports from The Times and Varsity.
John was educated at Bradfield School, where he was captain of boxing and swimming. He studied at at Jesus from 1936 to 1939, and was elected to the Hawks Club in October 1939. His proposed was P. E. Templar, and his seconder was Alan Burrough. Alan was also a Jesuan and a very fine rower, winning the Diamond Skulls at Henley, also possessing a distinguished war record. He was subsequently MD of Burroughs Gin.
The Club is grateful to Tim Ellis at the Hawks Club for providing this information.
A Report on the Annual Dinner at the Oxford & Cambridge Club
21st October 2017
Report by James Kuo
Each year, we host the Annual Dinner at the Oxford & Cambridge Club in London.
Organised by former CUABC President and Varsity-winning welterweight Billy Fitton, the event was a great success, with a broad range of former boxers and coaches alike in attendance. In his absence, the host for the evening was Judah Aiyenuro, winner of the 2017 Varsity heavyweight bout and the self-proclaimed 'Gentle Beast'. After welcoming the alumni, he outlined the latest developments at the club, including the record-breaking turnout at trials and the exponential growth of interest in women's boxing, both competitive and recreational.
Just before dessert, Rupert Wise delivered a speech on the lessons he learned from his harrowing 13-day experience as a hostage of the Iranian authorities. Eloquent and entertaining in equal measure, he impressed upon the diners the fact that morale is something to be trained like a sharp jab - that is to say, drilled over and over again. His speech was received with rapturous applause, and will certainly be a hard act to follow next year.
Thanks go to all those in attendance, as well as the Oxford & Cambridge Club for their accommodation of CUABC. Special thanks go to Billy Fitton and Judah Aiyenuro for organising and promoting the dinner itself. The guest list and menu can be found below.
If you are an alumnus/alumna of CUABC and would like to join us for next year's Alumni Dinner, please write to us expressing your interest using the digital form here.
Le Blanc du Grand Barrail, Ctes du Blaye (France 2016)
Montepulciano d'Abruzzo "Il Faggio" (Italy 2016)
Trio of Goat's Cheese with Dill Pink Peppercorns and Sesame seeds
Roast Rump of Lamb with Parsley Crust and Honey Roasted Shallots, Dauphinoise Potatoes and French Beans served with a Madeira Sauce
Passion Fruit Tart with Roasted Peanut Crumb served with Pistachio Ice Cream
Coffee and Club Mints
Jim Coke (+1)
John Lacy (+1)
Will Rees (+1)
Ben Blowes & Dolph
Kevan & Julie Murphy
Will Davies (+1)