Students come to blows as exam pressure begins to take its toll


It’s that time of year: exams are looming and – worse – so is that scary Santa squatting ominously in Albert Square.

Tempers are frayed at News Associates. Two of the students have cracked under the strain of learning the Public Affairs syllabus in three and a half days while missing X Factor.

On the verge of coming to blows, the gentlemen in question decided over a few ales to settle the matter in the only way they know how: a duel (mixed martial arts-style, naturally).

But with a weight difference of several kilos and a combined fighting experience of approximately 13 seconds, will this turn into worse carnage even than their law exam, or will a new Amir Khan rise from the ashes of the Fight of the Year (journalism student category)?

Let the games begin…


Steven “He’s Not” Chicken

Belgian beer will be the death of me.

My first hangover came courtesy of the lovely stuff back when I was 17, on a weekend trip to the Belgian capital.

I was slightly more fortunate than my friend Rich, however, who woke up 25 minutes before he was due on the Eurostar back to London, prompting a green-gilled dash around the Brussels tube system.

I may now have surpassed Rich’s indiscretion, however.

 Sat with my colleague Will Metcalfe in a wonderful little pub specialising in continental beers yesterday, I was making my way through their fine selection of Trappist ales and the conversation turned to sport.

“I’ve been getting into boxing lately,” I say, in reference to the David Haye vs Nickolay Valuev fight and the rather tasty upcoming bout between Manny Pacquiao and Miguel Cotto tomorrow [Saturday].

“I’ve never tried boxing,” says Will. “I’ve always wanted to.”

“Me too,” I say, in a rare moment of bravado.

“You know,” Will muses, “that’d be a great idea for a feature. Yorkshire vs Lancashire, for Children in Need.”

Another pint and 20 minutes later, it seemed like the best idea in the world and off we trotted to Van Dang Martial Arts Club, just off Piccadilly.

My excitement became tinged with apprehension when I noticed the cauliflower ears on the chap behind the counter.

After some initial verbal sparring, he was friendly enough, and said he was happy to let us come to a couple of training sessions and then let us loose on each other for “a bit of a scrap”.

Anything we need? “Just a gumshield. Wear clothes you don’t mind getting ripped – and a box, if you want one.”

Yes please.

So, the War of the Roses is on. My overwhelming feeling at this point is one of being totally out of my depth. But Will is as experienced as I am – ie not at all – and so at least we’re going into it on a level pegging.

Well. Sort of. We established last night that, at 15st 4lbs, I have a 60lb weight advantage on Will, despite only being an inch or two taller.

Whether that’s a good thing, I’m not quite sure: it certainly doesn’t favour me over a long fight. Time will tell.

In the meantime, raw eggs and Eye of the Tiger await…

Will “The ‘Tache” Metcalfe

As a ‘red-blooded’ male I’m used to being told violence is natural. And sure, violence does cross my mind occasionally, usually after being asked “What’s you favourite Dan Brown book?” Though as my attorney will testify, manifestation of these thoughts doesn’t happen, often.

So, I was surprised to find myself, over a few quiet ones, challenging Mr Steven Chicken to a duel. Granted there was no real bravado, no chest beating or even ill-intent or at least not on my part. And so we arrive at our mixed martial arts boxing match…

Chicken claims to be inexperienced in combat, but I know for a fact he’s taken a few kickings – is this an unfair advantage? Should I go out and start a fight this weekend?

I was head-butted when I was 15 and last year an angry racist punched me in the mouth. But this is would barely constitute expertise now, would it?

Chicken is 60lbs heavier than me and about 2 inches taller – size might be on his side, but I really hope that’s it. On the train home in the evening it dawned on me that I have needlessly volunteered to be subjected to physical pain.

Volunteered…I can already hear it all: “We’re terribly sorry Mrs Metcalfe, but your son was beaten to death in a mixed-martial arts fight”

“Why was he doing that?”

“We believe madam, that it was his own choice…he was doing it for an assignment.”

“Stupid bugger, why couldn’t he just have stayed at the consultancy firm…you don’t get beaten to death in consultancy.”

Charity is all well and good, but what good is that if he kills me? Even if I don’t die I might get my nose broken…I’m already (trying to) grow a moustache, I don’t think my girlfriend would put up with many more deformities.

Maybe it’s time I dusted down the Wii and got my skills honed on Wii Sports boxing again; I have a rating of over 3,000. Sadly, in real life I’m not-so-handy. I wake from dreams of swinging a punch, only to fall forwards onto my own fist.

So, with my gum shield and my ‘box’, I’ll be ready Chicken… you mark my words.

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