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Psychology academic enters the boxing ring for charity

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Mary-Jane Budd will make her boxing debut in April

By Lee Pinkerton 
A psychology lecturer at the University of East London (UEL) will step into the boxing ring for the first time next month to raise money for charity.
Ipswich resident Mary-Jane Budd has worked at UEL for four years. During that time she has become known for undertaking cycling challenges to raise money for Ipswich hospice St Elizabeth. She cycled from London to Paris in 2015 and from London to Amsterdam in 2016, and last year she took part in the London Prudential 100. She has raised almost £10,000 to date for St Elizabeth.
This year Dr Budd is raising money for Cancer Research UK. Her mother was diagnosed with cancer last year and her father-in-law is currently battling lymphoma.
However, having a few sporting achievements under her belt has made it harder for Dr Budd to raise money. 
She said, “Although cycling is still a challenge to me I don’t think other people see it as challenging for me anymore. And this has an impact on the fundraising. So a different sport, one that I have never had any involvement with, attracts more attention and hopefully, more sponsorship.” 
The concept of white collar boxing, where professional men and women train to participate in a specific boxing event, was introduced to her by a colleague, who took her along to watch a friend who was participating in a bout.
Dr Budd said, “I thought I would either love it or hate it – and I loved it. When talking to a friend the next day, she told me about Ultra White Collar Boxing and I googled it. Coincidentally, the Ipswich training was starting the next Monday (12 February) and so I signed up!”
Dr Budd’s ring debut will take place on 8 April, which gave her just eight weeks to get fighting fit.  
She said, “I am a rower so I am relatively fit but certainly not boxing fit – that’s another level. I am training on Monday and Friday evenings. It’s quite brutal and there was no concession for me being old – I’ll be 50 in March! 
“I am hoping that the fitness will come. It is certainly necessary as when I watched the fights, the boxers get exhausted after one or two minutes. There will be three rounds of two minutes, so I need to have stamina.”
To help with her training Mary-Jane has recruited the expertise of UEL strength and conditioning expert Duncan Ogilvie. But how does the mild-mannered academic feel about punching someone in the face, or the possibility of getting hit herself?
Dr Budd said, “I am a little scared about punching someone. I don’t like violence and I don’t like seeing people get hurt so this will be strange for me. I’ll have to let you know how I feel after the fight!”
If you wish to support Dr Budd you can access her Just Giving page here 

Her ring debut will take place on Sunday 8 April, at West Leisure Terrace, Cardinal Park Ipswich.  You can purchase tickets from eventbrite