Watch – Afghanistan veteran takes on ex-cop in world's first mixed–sex wheelchair boxing bout
Written by The Newsroom on November 30, 2019
In the red corner was a former soldier who lost his legs in Afghanistan and in the blue an ex-police officer with a degenerative hip condition.
It was a boxing bout unlike anything ever seen before as a Midland town hosted what was billed as the world’s first mixed-sex wheelchair boxing bout.
The action lasted less than five minutes – three 90-second rounds – but those behind the event hope it will lead to far bigger things – the Paralympics.
Exchanging blows were former sniper Chris Middleton, 28, and ex-police officer Louise Faye.
Chris, from Newcastle-upon-Tyne, was just 20 when he was blown up by an improvised explosive device as he served with the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards in 2011.
He took part in the Invictus Games in 2016, representing Britain at wheelchair rugby, basketball, tennis, swimming, rowing and on the track.
Louise, from Barnsley, was forced to leave her dream career in the police because of a degenerative hip condition.
(Image: Scott Murray)
Both fighters walked to the ring ahead of the contest, backed by the World Boxing Council and staged at Bar Sport’s Premier Suite in Cannock.
Chris used prosthetic legs while Louise used crutches.
And there was an embrace at the end after both showcased the tough and skilful art of wheelchair boxing.
There was no official winner as it was an exhibition bout but the audience gave the verdict to Louise.
The event was the first bout in an official elite amateur boxing contest between England and Scotland which the home nation won 7-2 on the night.
In attendance were respected boxing broadcaster Steve Bunce and Scott Welsh, who fought for the WBO heavyweight title in 2007 but lost to Henry Akinwande.
He is the driving force behind efforts to have disability boxing recognised at the Paralympics.
(Image: Scott Murray)
Premier Suite owner Scott Murray, himself a former top amateur heavyweight said: “It really was an historic night.
“This was the world’s first disabled boxing match between a man and a woman and it took place in Cannock.
“Both of the fighters are inspirational. The boxing is all about technique, a points scoring system similar to fencing. It enables men and women to fight each other in the ring.
“The WBC has now recognised the sport and the goal now will be to have it recognised as a Paralympic sport in the near future.
“Let’s hope disabled boxing will now get the recognition it deserves.”
Updates from the Cannock Chase Radio News Desk via Birmingham Mail - Cannock News