The main event is ringside at York Hall boxing. You’d do well to find a more varied cross section of London life. All races, all ages, all classes – all gather to share in a night of boxing, in its brutality and its beauty.
For all the spectacle, these nights are deeply social occasions. The crowd ebbs and flows like a tide, flooding into the bar between bouts to exchange stories, meet old friends, or drink with the fighters after their bouts.
There is an East End core in attendance, but each night ultimately reflects its fighters. Fans and entourages assemble from across the country. Fur coats and track suits and flat caps adorn an unlikely cast of characters.
There are no age requirements. Prams are commonplace. Children scuttle past blood flecked canvas in quiet awe. They are the calmest ones there. It is not a place for coddling. The dignity of the fighters holds authority over everyone.
Community does not feel like the right word to describe what goes on at York Hall. Solidarity is closer to the mark. From fighters to punters to ring girls, all present bleed into the unrepeatable electricity of the night.
We attended a British Warriors Boxing event at York Hall on Saturday 16 February. These photos by Tabitha Stapely are from that night. There will never be another like it. Or the one after. Or the one after that.
If you liked this, you may enjoy our article on the history of Repton Boxing Club.
Can you help us?
As a not-for-profit media organisation using journalism to strengthen communities, we have not put our digital content behind a paywall or membership scheme as we think the benefits of an independent, local publication should be available to everyone living in our area.
If a fraction of the local 30,000 residents donated two pounds a month to Bethnal Green LDN it would be enough for our editorial team to serve the area full time and be beholden only to the community. A pound at a time, we believe we can get there.