Updated: Sunday, 12th July 2020 @ 9:02am

Altrincham boxer narrowly wins BUCS Nationals title nine years after first triumph

Altrincham boxer narrowly wins BUCS Nationals title nine years after first triumph

| By Luke Baker

Altrincham boxer Callum Craven admitted the wait was worth it after tasting his second BUCS Nationals title, nine years after the first.

Back in 2006, Craven was crowned champion of the ring in the 64kg category while an undergraduate student with Kingston University.

Fast forward to 2015 and the 27-year-old is now a Leeds University student and was toasting success at Ponds Forge in Sheffield on Friday.

Craven, a member of Timperley Amateur Boxing Club, faced a familiar opponent in gym partner Calvin Pattinson.

But he eventually got the better of him in a close encounter leaving a thankful Craven reflecting on his BUCS Nationals journey.

“I’ve worked so hard and I would have been so gutted if I had lost but it was a close fight,” he said.

“He was a big lad and I thought I had lost it on a split decision, to be honest.

“We actually share the same gym because he’s at Leeds Beckett and I’m at Leeds Uni, so there has been a lot of banter between us over the last week.

“It’s a much bigger event now than nine years ago. The year I won, it was in Cardiff and it felt big there at the time but it was nothing like this.

“I’ll be in the fifth year of my degree next year, so hopefully I can come back in 12 months time to BUCS and maybe go up to the intermediate level or even move down a weight.”

With his long association with BUCS now over, Craven is well placed to comment on how the sport of boxing has increased in popularity in recent years.

And while happy to be back on the top step of the podium, he insists he is also just as happy down at his local club among fellow boxers.

“Timperley ABC in Altrincham is my home club and it’s a real community club – mothers and their children train there for free and there are free sessions for women,” he added.

“There’s a real community vibe to the place and it’s a pleasure to train there.

“Boxing gets a lot more attention now at every level – the sport was going through a bit of a lull in 2006 but it’s a mainstream sport again and I’m delighted it’s back to that level.”

British Universities & Colleges Sport (BUCS) is the governing body for Higher Education sport in the UK, representing 170 institutions and facilitating 52 sport programmes. BUCS has been shortlisted for Governing Body of the Year at the BT Sports Industry Awards 2015 and is supported by Deloitte www.bucs.org.uk