Boxing vs Rugby. Which is better?
Growing up in Mid-Wales I was brought up on Rugby. Rugby isn’t a sport in Wales, it’s a religion. Moving to Birmingham at 17, I continued my love affair with this mad sport, but after playing some regional level rugby at Dixonians (for those of you who play Midlands level rugby I hear you jeer) before finding my way over to the youth set up at Moseley. I realised that Rugby in Wales is very different to that in England. In Wales rugby is played by everyone, in England it is dominated by the Middle Class.
Boxing equally is a sport dominated by the other side of the fence. For generations Working Class kids have dominated this sport. If you look at successful amateur boxing clubs in the UK they are formed in very hard Working Class areas – West Ham, Rotunda (Liverpool), Moss Side. With the birth of White Collar Boxing, more and more people are finding their way in a boxing ring. With the Ralph Lewis QC Cup pitting barristers v solicitors the sport of boxing is growing in the middle classes.
How do these alpha male sports of the classes compare?
Risk of injury
When it comes to boxing everyone instantly looks at the tragedy of Michael Watson and then more recently Nick Blackwell. Boxing has the intention to inflict pain on another human, surely it is more likely to create injury? The difference between the two is in Rugby you are taught to look for contact, whereas boxers are schooled not to get hit. For someone who has done both at a good level I can reassure you that the statistics are true, you are twenty-two times more likely to get injured playing rugby.
This is a hotly debated subject, it depends how you define fitness. In both sports, you can make your natural physical assets work for you, in boxing by adapting your style and in rugby by adapting your position. If you were short armed, compact and powerful in rugby you’d play front row and in boxing you’d develop a come-forward style with lots of head movement. Both require a cross section of fitness and energy systems combining both anaerobic fitness, power and speed. I’d say they are a tie here.
Rugby is the pinnacle of team camaraderie. From the fun and games in the changing rooms, the smell of deep heat, the moments before kick-off, to the legendary after game parties. But boxing is a close second, training with a squad of boxers when you are all boxing is a fantastic night and the experience of sharing a fight camp with a crew of boxers is something else. They are different experiences and if you like the bond of rugby, you should box once to compare it.
Your team winning a match or YOU boxing on a show. The solo nature of your achievement is something that no-one can ever take away from you. Even if you score the winning try in a rugby game, someone else passed the ball to you or set up the play. Boxing win’s hand down.