boxing evolution

portsmouth uni boxing club


In the days before Matt Flavell had had his first inspiration to create Boxing Evolution, he had another smaller project which he had devoted himself to, and that was the project of Portsmouth University ABC.

When Matt went to University in Portsmouth, he was an extremely keen boxer who just simply wanted to be taken under the wing of a boxing club, trained up, and entered in competitions. However this was not to be so.

Matt struggled to find out if a boxing club even existed, yet alone where and when they took place. Eventually he managed to go along to one of the sessions. Upon entering the gym which was an old and dusty room with a few old punch bags hanging up from the ceiling, he discovered only a few other people, who were not even university students but locals who just came to train with the coach. A couple of other Uni students did turn up who ended up being friends with Matt throughout his time at university.

That happened to be the only session of that particular Uni boxing club he would ever attend, because the next day the coach packed it all in, due to the fact that he had bad wrists from taking to many pads sessions over the years.

However Matt was determined that it would not be the end of his uni boxing career!

Over the next couple of weeks Matt was not sure what to do, he had started to attend another local boxing club, but this was not satisfying him as he really wanted to be able to box for the university.

Then it came to him, a flash of inspiration, he would find a way to make sure the boxing club carried on.

He spoke to another coach that he knew and convinced him to take the sessions, he spoke to the people he knew that wanted to do boxing and let them know when the sessions would be on, everyone turned up and the club continued…. for two more sessions!

The coach that took the sessions could no longer help as he had other commitments, and the building that gym was in was getting knocked down and rebuilt.

The boxing club was in jeopardy again!

Nothing more happened with the boxing club until after the new building was built. The new building had a dance studio with punchbags, and was available for university clubs to use. Matt managed to secure a single Tuesday evening per week as all the other time slots had been taken by the already existing and established sports clubs. Now all he needed was a coach to take the sessions.

Matt managed to find another coach who wanted to take the sessions. He organized everybody together and got them to attend the session. At that time there was only about 10 people who came to the session. The coach that took the sessions only came twice before to Matts great dismay never being seen again.

Again he was on the search for another coach to take the sessions, and had to teach the classes himself in the meantime, simply to keep the club going. Otherwise he would of lost the slot in the studio altogether. Another coach came along, and similarly it didn’t take him long to disappear upon seeing that the club only consisted of 10 people.

Eventually in desperation he contacted the local ABA to find out if they could help. The Hampshire ABA secretary Ken Charman and the head coach of Titchfield ABA Lou Stamp came down to assess the situation. Lou Stamp agreed to help run the sessions the get the club off the ground.

Enter ‘Q’

The sessions continued for 6 weeks up until Lou announced that he was going to Australia, but had arranged for another coach named ‘Q’ who was the head Royal Navy and England advanced coach, to run the sessions whilst he was away… he never returned. However Matt knew that the moment Q walked through the door meant that the boxing club was going to become something great. He just had to convince him to stick with the club.

Q took the rest of the sessions until the summer holidays as he promised, but was not sure of his involvement could be after that, for he had a lot of other commitments with the Navy. Q could not be the university’s official ABA coach because he was already affiliated to the Navy boxing club.

Matt managed to persuade Q over the period of the summer holidays to come back and help keep the sessions going by opening his eyes to the vast array of possibilities that could occur from having the uni boxing club officially set up. To Matt’s great delight Q agreed to take the sessions but there was still one big obstacle ahead… the club needed a qualified ABA coach to be affiliated to the club. This would enable Portsmouth uni ABC to register as an official club and enter boxers in competitions.

With Q now taking the boxing sessions the club soon grew from 10 members to over 40 by the end of the year. Matt managed to find a local coach who agreed to let the club be affiliated to his name. By the beginning of his 3rd year at university, the university had its very own, fully functional official boxing club.

By the end of the 3rd year the boxing club had held its first very own boxing show, which was against the Royal Navy novice boxing team.

By the beginning of the 4th year the boxing club had over 100 members and its very own new and committed coach, Wayne Gardiner, who was personally trained by Q in the Royal Navy.

The University now wanted a piece of the action and wanted a boxing show to be held in the student union nightclub. This was to be a first ever in the entire history of the university. The show was a tremendous success with over 500 people attending. Matt competed in this show, he won his fight by a unanimous points victory and got awarded best boxer of the evening

The clubs current progress

Since leaving the university the boxing club has gone on to become the biggest club in the university, and the most successful university boxing club in the whole country. The club has competed in tournaments all over the world including Norway and Japan, and has brought back many gold medals. Read more.

In 2008 the university hosted the very first British national university boxing championships, and won the tournament by gaining the most gold medals. 

The British University and College Sports (BUCS) named Portsmouth as the “Most Improved University” and awarded the Boxing Club the “Team of the Year”. The Boxing Club’s recognition as the club of the year comes as the team has won the English and British Championships two years in a row beating prestigious sporting universities such as Loughborough and Bath.

The “Team of the Year” is judged on more than just rankings and special consideration was given to the University of Portsmouth Amateur Boxing Club for their community coaching and the development of young boxers such as Ellis Booth who will be competing at the Youth Commonwealth Championships.

The University as a whole also moved a staggering 22 places up the university rankings over the last three years with the University of Portsmouth now solidly in the top quarter of universities in the country for sport. Read more.

Portsmouth university ABA is continuing to grow as we speak. Read more.

Matt Flavell is extremely proud to know that he was the one who started it all.

Through his activities involved with the Portsmouth university boxing club Matt discovered his love for boxing coaching and also working with people. He also discovered his love for working on projects and promotion.

The Uni boxing club is what lead him onto his now bigger and lifelong project of Boxing Evolution, to which he has devoted his life to.

More information about the club can be found at

Matt Flavell wins his University boxing fight
After the first ever Portsmouth University student union boxing event, Boxer Matt Flavell is awarded boxer of the night award.