Boxing fans from Birmingham and beyond flocked to the Aston Villa Banqueting Centre on 5th July for the No5 Chambers’ Ralph Lewis QC Memorial Cup 2013.  The exciting 8-bout event, which was compered by former professional boxer Steve Holdsworth, raised £31,000 for Marie Curie. 

Barristers, clerks and people from local businesses had thrown their hats in to the ring early in 2013 to begin a gruelling training regime at the Fighting Fit City Gym in Lionel Street. Their common objective was to get into the shape of their lives in an attempt to win their respective bouts and the glittering prize of the Ralph Lewis QC Memorial Cup.

Tony McDaid, No5 Chambers’ Practice Director, says:  “My respect and thanks must be given to all those who trained so hard during 2013, particularly those who put on their gloves at Aston Villa.  I should also thank the team who ran the boxing boot camp at the Fighting City Gym, which has strict procedures in place to provide a controlled and managed environment for the fighters.  

The card on the night comprised:
Brett Moloney (No 5 clerk) v Neville Crawford (landscape gardener)
Anthony Priest (No5 clerk) v Abid Khan (Corporate Telecoms Consultant)
Elaine Mitchell (Mills and Reeve solicitor for No5) v Sat Bains(partner at a solicitors’ firm)
Peter Mottram (No5 clerk) v Adam Kerr (solicitor from Moseley Chapman and Skemp)
Jinder Boora (No5 personal injury barrister) v Andrew Constantinou
Matthew Saunderson (No5) v Paul Currie (SGH Martineau)
Michael Maher (No5 clerk) v Ed King (writer)
Ecky Tiwana (No5 criminal barrister) v Chris Rosier (Director at Chord Developments)

The contenders were divided into two teams, red (No5 Chambers) and blue.  

Former professional boxer Steve Holdsworth brought proceedings to a close with a charity auction of several sporting items including boxing memorabilia signed by John Conteh, Amir Khan, David Haye and Sugar Ray Leonard which helped the event raise a total of £31,000 for Marie Curie
Tony McDaid continues “I have to thank those businesses who generously donated prizes for the auction and raffle. I must also thank Steve Holdsworth and Wesleyan for Lawyers, the main sponsor of the night and everyone who bought tickets so they could enjoy this thriller at the Villa, which is an eagerly anticipated fixture in the fundraising and business community calendars.” 

Gemma Chance of Marie Curie, adds. “The Ralph Lewis QC Memorial Cup 2013 boxing tournament truly was an exciting evening. Most thrilling for me is the news that this event raised so much for us. The new West Midlands Marie Curie Hospice relies on public donations to deliver its services. Marie Curie needs continued support to fund the work in the hospice which costs more than £4 million a year to run. 

“£435 pays for someone with a terminal illness to stay in our hospice for 24 hours, so that they can receive the hands-on care they need in their final days. The money raised from No 5 Chambers 2013 event equates to just over 71 days of care, which is a huge contribution to our work. 
“I wish to thank No5 Chambers for organising this event, which is now in its third year, the contenders, the trainers and all those who turned out in black tie and supported the event.  I also look forward to welcoming the No5 Chambers’ team to our Brain Game corporate quiz in October which is another popular, competitive fundraising event.”

Bout by Bout, Blow by Blow
No 5 clerk Brett Moloney and landscape gardener Neville Crawford found themselves pitted against each other in a three round exhibition bout after their initial opponents pulled out. Being an exhibition, the bout was not scored and so may have initially appeared to lack some of the passion and excitement to thrill the crowd. The audience’s appetite was whet, however, when after a first round of posturing and each daring the other to make the first move, the contest jolted to life in the second. Crawford looked to land his jab, before unleashing wide clubbing shots while Moloney, working off the back foot, was looking to land a right hand. The last round saw Moloney display good lateral movement to fend off aggressive attacks from Crawford, who struggled to cut the ring off.

The first competitive action of the night began as No5 clerk Anthony Priest squared off against Corporate Telecoms Consultant Abid Khan.  Priest shot off the mark and his aggressive attacks quickly put him 4-0 within the first thirty seconds. Khan’s unorthodox style began to cause Priest problems though as the 37 year-old began to peg back the points, punching from unusual angles and using his upper-body movement.  The first round ended 7-5 to Priest. The 23 year-old Priest settled better in the second and his educated pressure and punching in flurries, from behind a tight guard, ensured that he extended his lead further to 11-6. It tightened in the last, as Khan tried to punch his way into contention but Priest managed to stay in the lead and ran out an impressive 13-10 winner.

The second bout was a nod of respect to women’s boxing as Mills and Reeve solicitor Elaine Mitchell represented No5 and Sat Bains, a partner at a local solicitors’ firm, represented the blue team. The task looked ominous for Bains early on as Mitchell boxed behind a tall and long southpaw stance, but Bains registered the first point of the bout.  Mitchell soon got behind her jab with a tighter defence and ended the round leading 5-2. She extended her lead in the second, continuing to keep it simple with jabs followed by an accurate right hand as Bains was struggling to get inside. Bains showed good spirit, and an early attack in the third round put her within a few points of turning the contest on its head. It became a real battle from then, Mitchell looking to maintain her lead and Bains looking to take over. In the end, Mitchell retained enough of her composure, and her superior early work led to a 15-13 victory.

Up next was No5 clerk, Peter Mottram, up against Adam Kerr, another local solicitor from Moseley Chapman and Skemp. Mottram, originally from Middlesbrough and so dubbed “The Beast from the North East” started aggressively, looking to make an impression but the longer arms of Kerr meant he picked up points as Mottram tried to get close.  The former soldier shortened his shots in the second and bounced point-clinching jabs off Kerr’s chin. Kerr’s jab continued to prove problematic as he picked up points while Mottram struggled to close the range. The last round had the crowd roaring as Mottram, with one eye on victory, swung away viciously in an attempt to his opponent down. Kerr, sensing that the run of play had turned against him punched back bitterly and the two slugged it out until the final bell, resulting in the night’s first draw at 13-13.

No5 personal injury barrister Jinder Boora was matched against Andrew Constantinou and, in a tense first round, it seemed like they were boxing mirror images of each other. Both were content to jab until they found opportunities but with both displaying good, tight guards, there were few of those. A good deal of the round had passed before Constantinou penetrated Boora’s defence and went two points up but Boora scored a point before the bell sounded to make it 2-1. It was much of the same in the second, as both seemed to negate the work of the other, with the round ending 6-5 to Constantinou. Both took turns to land their jabs and right hand follow ups in the last, and, fittingly for two well-matched boxers who seemed to mimic each other, they finished all square at 9-9.

The heavyweights were represented by No5’s Matthew Saunderson and SGH Martineau’s Paul Currie. Currie brought a large number of supporters, but they were forced to watch the first round through their fingers as “Big Unit” Saunderson rocked his taller foe numerous times around the ring, and had him teetering on several occasions. Currie desperately tried to get behind his jab, but the power of Saunderson had him continually off balance, with every mistake punished and Saunderson raced 11-3 ahead after one round. Currie was able to get his jab working fluently in the next round and began picking up points as a tired looking Saunderson’s work-rate dipped alarmingly. A barnstorming last round ensued as Currie went all out for victory while an exhausted-looking Saunderson tried to protect his lead. In the end, Currie managed to turn around the huge points’ deficit, and claimed a draw at 17-17.

Next up was a classic boxer v puncher bout as No5 clerk Michael Maher squared off against self-employed writer Ed King. Maher took the initiative, using a snappy jab and a precise right hand to continually have King’s head snapping backwards. King retaliated with a ferocious work ethic, driving Maher back to the ropes, and the first round ended up 6-6. The second round was fought in similar fashion, as Maher used his nimble footwork to evade Kings’ aggression and the shorter fighter was forced to bully Maher to the ropes to get himself into a position to score points. The round ended level at 12-12 leaving everything to play for in the last round. However, King’s fitness told in the last as he was able to penetrate enough holes in Maher’s leaky defence with his raiding attacks to snatch victory 25-23.

In the final bout, No5 criminal barrister Ecky Tiwana took on Chris Rosier, a Director at Chord Developments, with Rosier knowing anything short of victory would result in the blue team losing the Ralph Lewis QC Memorial Cup which it had won for the first time the previous year. Tiwana was the first to land, and it was a battle of jabs as Tiwana took a fairly quiet round at 3-2. The pattern followed into the second, with both trying to establish their jabs and take the lead, and the round finished all square at 4-4. The last round livened up as both began to maul each other in an effort to take the lead. The contest threatened to unravel several times as it got increasingly messy and after an extended attack Tiwana managed to go two points up. But it was quickly pegged back as the action got untidy and Rosier was able to make up the difference for another draw at 8-8.

That concluded a thrilling night of boxing and the draw meant that No 5 regained the Ralph Lewis QC Memorial Cup following the two wins from Priest and Mitchell, compared to King’s solitary victory for the blue team. Each fight was absorbing in its own right and in the end a number of bouts could have won the ‘fight of the night’ award. That accolade went to Michael Maher and Ed King after a fight of great technique, courage and entertainment. Current head of Chambers Paul Bleasdale QC handed out the awards to the fighters. 

No5 Chambers intends to hold the fundraiser again next year. Any would be contenders interested in training for and competing in the No5 Chambers’ Ralph Lewis QC Memorial Cup 2014 should contact towards December this year for details. 

Former Head of No5 Chambers, Ralph Lewis QC, was a promising boxer while at Oxford University and it remained one of his twin sporting loves, the other being Welsh Rugby.  He died in July 2010 after a short but courageously fought battle with cancer.  His friends and colleagues at No5 Chambers decided that a charity boxing event would be a fitting memorial, with all proceeds going to Marie Curie. 
Anyone wishing to know more about No5 Chambers should visit or telephone 0845 210 5555.