MORE than 800 people packed out the BIC on Saturday night as 66 amateur boxers raised their gloves – as well as £12,000 for Cancer Research UK – during the Ultra White Collar Boxing event.

All participants had been given eight weeks of professional training for free at Phoenix MMA gym before stepping into the ring.

Cross County Trains manager Scot MacFarlane, who raised £1,125, lost four stone in eight weeks during training.

The 32-year-old said: "I feel absolutely great, it's like I'm a different person."

Mr MacFarlane, of Richmond Park Avenue, Bournemouth, lost his bout, but said he would sign up to do it again.

"The coaches have been excellent, they're extremely motivational – and strict when they need to be," he added.

Kenny Tucknott, 46, raised £904 and took part in memory of his parents Kenneth and Sue, both of whom died of cancer.

The yacht technician from Christopher Crescent, Poole, said: "My dad didn't do chemo for his tongue cancer because my mum had had a stroke, and he wanted to be able to care for her.

"Then after she died in January last year, he had pain in his neck, and was diagnosed with cancer again. He died shortly after. It's been amazing to raise that amount of money and everyone in training and the coaches have been unbelievable.

"If you have any questions at all, and if you need any advice - you can get hold of them at any time.

"This morning I had a question and texted a coach at 6am - she got back to me at 6.30am.”

Barmaid Viktorija Utrosa, 22, said taking part in the event had helped her make new friends after moving to the country from Slovenia five months ago.

Miss Utrosa said: "I didn't know anyone here, but I have done martial arts all my life, so I signed up to meet people and make some friends.

"I've met loads of people I really get on with - we're a great group, everyone's really supportive."

After her bout, which she drew with opponent Ricochet Richardson, she said: "It was amazing, I was full of adrenaline, it's really an amazing thing to do.

"I'm really grateful for everyone I've met here. They've all been great and supportive.

"It's not just about the fight, it's also about having fun and making friends, and really seizing the life that you have.

"I came to the UK five months ago, with no one. I hope to inspire others to join in with my story."

UWCB offers participants eight weeks of training free of charge at a local gym before they take part in a showcase event in front of an audience of friends, family and colleagues.

Each participant is asked to get sponsored and sell tickets for the event, with every penny they raise going to Cancer Research UK.

The company behind the event - Ultra Events - has so far raised more than £18 million for Cancer Research UK, with £326,026 from participants in Bournemouth, through boxing, ballroom dancing, mixed martial arts, darts and comedy.

Training for the next Bournemouth event starts on the week commencing October 7 this year, with the next event in the city taking place on November 30.

For more information, or to sign up, visit