The accepted order of things

We strive, but unfortunately humans are not perfect. Some are further than others, the odd person gets quite close, on a good day, but ultimately we all have our flaws and foibles. For instance, we like to think we are good, rational beings, capable of judging the evidence presented to us and making the most reasonable conclusions, but this is not always true. Even when given decent evidence, and when applying ourselves to it (rather than ignoring if it disagrees with our world view), we are susceptible to biases. Something as simple as the order evidence is presented in can influence whether we rate an idea positively or negatively. This is idea was brought to my attention in Daniel Kahneman’s book “Thinking fast, and slow”, which is really great and I can recommend to anyone interested in how we make decisions.

In essence, the idea is that, when given the positive points about an idea first, then the negative points second, we are more likely to judge an idea favourably. Whereas if the order of presentation is reversed, but the evidence kept the same, we are more likely to judge exactly the same thing negatively. We are primed by the initial evidence, either positively or negatively, to consider the idea in that light, even if we subsequently receive evidence of equal weight to the contrary. Of course, our minds can be changed by weight of evidence in the opposite direction, but order can still play in important role.

This seems like an intuitive idea, much like confirmation bias (which, having learnt about in the same book, I am now seeing everywhere…). And I’ve been thinking about it in terms of the scientific literature we consume every day (ish). In a paper, the cool and interesting bits supporting the hypotheses are the Results; they are the evidence for whatever argument the authors are making. On the other hand, the parts that make you doubt the findings are most likely to be in the Methods; whether their experiment tests the hypothesis they think it does, whether the analysis chosen does what they say, and so on. So grant me a degree of artistic license if I class the Methods section of a paper as the minus points negating a paper’s thrust, while the Results are the positive points supporting it. How does this relate to the order effect outlined above?

Well, all journals tend to place the Introduction at the start of paper, and all of them place the Discussion and conclusions at the end. But there is a degree of division about what to do with the Methods in relation to the Results. Many journals place the Methods squarely before the Results, so that you can understand where the findings are coming from. Another set of journals have the Results directly after the Introduction, so you can find out the answer to the questions being posed immediately, and then peruse the Methods at the end to discover exactly how it was done. Finally, a 3rd set of journals tend to relegate most of the Methods to online supporting information, rendering what remains in the paper largely useless for following exactly what the authors have done or even contemplating recreating their work yourself.

Hopefully you now see the link. Journals with the Methods before the Results are placing the negative points first, priming the reader to disagree with the findings. Conversely, journals that place the Methods after the Results are priming the reader to agree with the findings, even if the weight of evidence is the same. Finally, journals that banish the Methods to the supplementary materials are removing the negative points from public view. Obviously, the latter is essentially skulduggery and should be ceased forthwith*, but is the 2nd option devious as well? Are journals that place the Methods at the end of the paper intentionally or unintentionally taking advantage of the reader’s unconscious biases?

Well its hard to ever prove something like that, and I am sure no current working editor on these journals considers this explicit journal policy. It is very insightful however to consider the journals that tend to place the Methods first, which from within my own field primarily include society journals such as Behavioral Ecology, Animal Behaviour, Proceedings B, Ecology Letters, Evolution, and pretty much all journals around that level of “prestige” and lower. Which journals place the Methods last, or banish them from the pages completely? Nature, Science, Current Biology, PNAS…. See a pattern? I will note that the BMC stable lets you choose, which disrupts my point somewhat (but possibly creates a dataset one can test this idea in…) but no theory is perfect.

So, am I suggesting that it is the “glamourous” or “prestigious” (or “tabloid”…) journals that tend to take advantage of order effects to promote their publications, while the good, honest society journals do the decent thing and put the Methods first? Or perhaps it is this tactic of putting the Methods last that helped their articles, and so the journals themselves, gain popularity? Or maybe these things are totally unrelated and I have formulated a conspiracy out of nothing. I’m not sure, but it’s an interesting thought. Learning how we think and process information is always a useful endeavour, and something scientists should be aware of, given we rely on our ability to do this every day. So be on the lookout for your own biases.



*I am currently reading Moby Dick, and perhaps Melville’s language is leaking through


This is not a history

This is not a history, or a series of reminisces. I wasn’t there. I couldn’t possibly tell you how it started, or how it grew and came to be what you can find today. At least though, I can say what you would find today, if you went, if you go while there is still time.

There are mirrors for your form or your glare, whichever needs work. A black rubber floor that’s carried a thousand soles back and forth. Those new to the steps, those underconfident, those over confident, those who know exactly what they are doing.

Dents dot the back wall from past leviathans. The big guys make the bags shudder and leap. Two nervous young girls tap the bags. They’re new, and it’s a toss-up as to whether they will quietly apply themselves, and stick around, or if they will equally quietly never come again.

The pairs spar between the ropes, helmeted heads bowed low, jaws clenched, fists pinned to those jaws or slacking down to hips. They circle and jab, cross and hook, clinch and grunt and sweat. It’s a guy and a girl, her taller, him heavier but too slow to make it count. She keeps him away with the jab and occasionally dashes to the body. He cuffs her round the back of the head and it’s not very pretty.

Red gloves, blue gloves, white gloves and black gloves flash back and forth, rat tat tat on the pads. Rat tat tat. Rat tat tat. Exhaled breath with every strike as the feet push and the hips pivot and the shoulders rock back and forth. They skip rope, work pads, pound the bag until their dreams don’t quite seem so far away as they did at the start of the day.

It’s Saturday now and that means the bags are cleared away and the ropes are folded, and instead of the pacing feet there are chairs on the rubber. The women behind the bar laugh and joke with the punters and tease the regulars, while the fighters scowl into their hoods or pass the time with their friends, nerves tamed by the routine. Two young girls move round selling raffle tickets, their hair neatly plaited, as this is a family event too, with the door operated by someone’s dad and cake made by someone’s mum. More parents sit in the seats as their sons and daughters lace up the gloves, look themselves in the mirror and walk out to find out if they will create a great deal of pride or a small tick of embarrassment.

The fights on the night are mixed, as they tend to be. There are a couple of debuts; the curious thrill of watching two 12 years olds lay into each other, the only fact tempering the spectacle was that it was a bit one-sided. Some muscular young tyro walking through his opponent’s flailing arms, powered more by fear than rage, a cross to the nose causing the lad to sag forward like a suddenly deflated balloon. I sit on my chair and grip my pen and consider how these boys have the courage to stand up there while I sit here. I write this and try to claw back some of their heroism.

There is the youth who looks like he can make it, and the one who I don’t think ever will. One fight that had real potential ended early by a clumsy headbutt, another ended early by a capricious trainer not pleased with his fighter’s work, even as her opponent came on and on; rat tat tat, rat tat tat.

Home fighters are greeted by friendly roars from the mildly lubricated crowd. Spells of nervous silence come as we wait for them to assert themselves, groans if they don’t. We forget ourselves and watched in sickened silence as one comes under the cosh, a crunching blow waking us to try and raise them; remind them it’s not just their own pride they defend but ours as well.

Fighters mingle afterwards, winding down and stretching out. There’s the girl with the black eye, the lad with the squashed nose, and the one as beautiful as the day she was born, as she doesn’t get hit, doesn’t get beat, not really beat anyway. Everyone is pretty happy, the ones that weren’t are long gone, denying the strip lights strung from the ceiling the chance to illuminate their loss.

When it’s all said and done, and the doctor goes home under-employed, it’s a success. Just making the damn thing happen: bringing them all together from the gyms tucked into the corners of other town and cities, selling the tickets and the beer, running the raffle and eating the mother’s cake; that’s a success. It’s the last one too, before the diggers and cranes move in to flatten the place, clearing land to make more land for the dollars to pour into.

I hope those that started it get to close it, that last time. I hope that they take down the bags, fold up the ropes, pack up the pads and set up the ring up in the new gym, and then come back to the old place. I hope they stand and take in the space one last time, remember how it started, how it grew, and how it came to be the thing they created. I hope they pace the well-worn space one last time, leaving footprints in the gathering dust, a warm body disrupting the still air one last time. As the last of the help leaves, and as they weight the key they’ve used a thousand times to open the door at the start of the day and close it at night, I hope they breathe in that rarefied air one final time, and exhale the way they taught. Rat tat tat.

Then, as they turn to leave, and the tears they held back all this time finally drip down their cheeks and dot the floor, I hope that as the door closes all the atmosphere rushes out of the place, and it is preserved perfectly in that final state. Like the astronaut’s footprints preserved in the lunar dust. I hope no one else gets to see it again, after those that built it, and that it is preserved at the end as it will be forever in their memory, when the wrecking ball comes and the walls shiver and collapse and they wish that gym goodbye.

Rugby: A Feel Good Story

There’s been a lot of feel good stories around rugby recently that have been giving me the warm and fuzzies. So I thought I would collate some here and share them with you, so you can feel warm and fuzzy as well.

First up, my team Wasps signed Nathan Charles, who is probably the only sufferer of cystic fibrosis to play a contact sport professionally, let alone internationally. Thats right, cystic fibrosis.


Dubbed “the most remarkable rugby player on the planet” by the Telegraph, Nathan, who “seems to defy science and logic” according former Australia coach Ewen McKenzie, takes between 20 and 30 pills a day to combat a condition that typically results in a greatly shortened lifespan in normal people. Of course this guy isn’t normal, he’s a frigging superhero. So of course his chosen sport is rugby.

Next up, Ian McKinley was a talented young rugby player, tipped to be competing with Johnny Sexton to ease Ronan O’Gara out of his position as Ireland’s lead 10. Instead, an accidental boot blinded him in one eye. This derailed his rugby career, but only temporarily.

He got into coaching, moved out to Italy, and then, thanks to some special goggles, started playing again. Then he got signed by Italy’s top professional club, Benneton Treviso. And then this weekend he made his debut for Italy, qualifying on residency ground. The Irish weren’t willing to engage in trials using the goggles, but the Italians stuck by him and now he wears their shirt with pride. Banged over a penalty too to keep them ahead of Fiji


Given his charity work I will forgive Doddie the tartan suits. Just…

Also this weekend, a bit of a tear-jerker, as former Scotland lock Doddie Weir, battling motor-neuron disease MND, delivered the match ball ahead of Scotland vs New Zealand. Clearly he, and I’m sure the rest of the stadium, struggled to keep the emotion down.

Earlier this year, rugby lost of of its greats in Joost van der Westhuizen, also to MND. Joost, a world cup winner in 1995, was an incredible competitor on the field, and battled MND relentlessly off it. To see his interviews, so full of fight and hope, is an inspiration, while to watch him walk onto the field in 2014 before South Africa vs New Zealand, is to witness courage:

To hop over over to the “other” code briefly, the rugby league world cup has been taking place. And one of the hosts? Papa New Guinea. Apparently rugby league is a phenomenon there, with the whole country fanatical about it.

Sadly England didn’t read the script, and defeated them in the quarter final. But in that semi final England will face Tonga. Tonga scraped past Lebanon (yeah I know right, they play rugby? Cool) and in the group-stages were involved in this epic Haka vs Sipi Tau show-down:

Also in the quarter finals are Fiji, who defeated the afore mentioned Kiwis in a a bit of a wonderful upset to the form book. Loverly.


Back to Union, and in more “player battles life-threatening condition” news, Christian Lealiifano is now back playing rugby after dealing with leukemia. Following a come-back with the Brumbies, he’s now plying his trade in sunny Ulster. Of his battle with cancer, Lealiifano says: ““It has changed my outlook on life. I would go through this 10 times again for the person I am today, the journey I have been through and the person that I have become.” Nice recent interview here.

Finally, everyone’s favourite Courtney, Mr Lawes, showed he is still up for crushing play makers as Kurtley Beale felt his wrath during England’s eventual pummelling of the Aussies. All the right kind of good feelings.

I’ll leave you with this:

In our country, true teams rarely exist . . . social barriers and personal ambitions have reduced athletes to dissolute cliques or individuals thrown together for mutual profit . . . Yet these rugby players. with their muddied, cracked bodies, are struggling to hold onto a sense of humanity that we in America have lost and are unlikely to regain. The game may only be to move a ball forward on a dirt field, but the task can be accomplished with an unshackled joy and its memories will be a permanent delight. The women and men who play on that rugby field are more alive than too many of us will ever be. The foolish emptiness we think we perceive in their existence is only our own.” – Victor Cahn

and this:


Warm and fuzzies out.




Squirrel camp and the Sun

You may be wondering why squirrel camp is primarily powered by solar. Perhaps you didn’t know that; well, now you do, and you can begin wondering. Or maybe you are reading this without even knowing what squirrel camp is. In that case, all you need to know is that it is a happy place filled with hard working people and their dirty socks. Or maybe even you don’t know where you are or how you are reading this, in which case, find the nearest adult human, and ask them to sing you a lullaby. And now we can begin this story.

Squirrel camp is powered by solar, with a slightly manic array of rectangular panels basking in the near-arctic sun. But of course, it could be powered by a great diesel generator, clonking majestically through the day. Or maybe a bulbous tank of propane, filled with gas eeked from the ground and ferried here to light the merry fires. Or why not chunky, dusky coal? Provides quite the heat. Oh yes, solar might be plentiful, and produces no smog at point of collection, and gleam most handsomely, but is that really any good reason to excuse the convenience of gas and oil? Well us squirrelers have our reasons.
It began in the sky. The sun was lonely. Sure, it has the stars, but they are far away and aren’t very good at texting back. And as for the moon, well when it comes around its hardly much of a conversation partner, always moaning about how it was treated like a common doormat by some guy named Neil. Tiresome. So the sun cast its eyes to earth for company. It scanned the plains, but found the people too simple and dull. It scanned the seas, but found the people too salty and superstitious. It scanned the jungles, but could not see anyone for the steam and leaves. And then it turned its gaze on the mountains. In a mountainous land, following a twisting highway towards a lake, the sun spied a solitary figure. Maybe it was the wild, unwashed hair. Perhaps it was the artful arrangement of patches and knitwork that held their clothes together. Or it might have been their purposeful stride (it was near lunch time). Whatever the reason, the sun’s search paused. 

Interest piqued, heartbeat (yes suns have hearts, as well as eyes) quickened, the sun followed our raggedy individual, who turned out to be an inhabitant of squirrel camp. After a few days of watching, the sun plucked up the courage to say hello. The squirrels was startled at first, as you would be if the sun shyly sidled up to you and said hello. But in any case, despite all the odds, they hit it off. Turns out they had several likes in common, like sunrises, snowy mountainsides, and the films of Nicholas Cage.
After a short courtship, the two were quite fast in like. Love was perhaps around the corner, but like was enough for now. Keen to show the squirreler more of the world, the sun asked them to come to stay with it in the sky. Needless to say, the squirreler was over the moon with this proposition, and hurried to pack their things. However, there was one small problem, the squirreler had a boss, and they did not care to lose one of their workforce without something in return. Speak nothing of the once in an eternity opportunity this represented, a budget is a budget, and it can only stretch so far. After some fairly intense negotiations, an agreement was struck. The squirreler was free to travel with the sun, and in return the sun would power squirrel camp with its bright warm rays. And so that was how squirrel camp came to be powered by solar. 
To this day, the relationship holds, and squirrel camp receives its power from the sun. Of course, there are occasional arguments, where the sun goes off in a huff. Without its rays the clouds descend and squirrel camp is plunged into a grey dimness. But much to the relief of camp, the sun and the squirreler usually make up quickly, and the sun returns to make the solar panels hum once more.


The legend of the lynx, and the long length of Lloyd

There was once a time when the ground of the forest was clear, and trappers and other users of the forest could cover miles in a day without breaking a sweat. There were no snaking, snagging branches catching your boots or tripping your step. Through this marvellous woodscape strode a great hero by the name of Lloyd. Lloyd was a mighty warrior, an intrepid explorer, and an above average bridge player, but above all else he was long. His length was said to be equal to the tallest spruce, and his stride covered tens of metres with ease. Great horned owls nested in his eyebrows and wisps of cloud were strewn over his shoulders like a great grey cloak.

Lloyd heard there was a great beast terrorising the Shakwak trench in the Yukon, and being the great hero he was, he set out to subdue this foe. Lloyd’s long length carried him there quickly, and he discovered it was a giant lynx stalking the people. This lynx (not so much large as huge, less lumbering and more thundering, not even loud but cacophonic) had paws the size of ponds, and teeth like shards of glacier. Pure white fur bristled along its body and in its throat rumbled a terrific yowl. It had been trashing villages, chewing up winter stores, a belittling peoples’ dreams all year, and it was time for this to stop. Lloyd found the beast not far from Kluane lake, and they did battle.

Lloyd and the beast raged at each other for months. Up and down the trench they duelled, Lloyd’s longsword clashing with frenzied tooth and claw. The lynx was  vicious and quicksilver, while Lloyd was strong and agile, and so when one would land a blow, the other would counter and return the favour. Eventually, each weakened by a thousand cuts, they came to at the brow of a hill a final time. Lloyd’s longsword dealt a savage blow, lacerating the lynx’s liver and lancing its lung. However, the lynx’s claws found Lloyd’s throat and tore it open. His long length came crashing down, stretching along the side of the hill where, in aeons to come, a highway would be built. The lynx, crippled by the final blow, slunk away under the hills cursing the world of men from the bowls of the earth.

The world is different now, and many of these great deeds are forgotten. But the long length of Lloyd can still be found where he fell, down a hillside in the Shakwak trench. The lynx lives, but it resides in the depths of the earth nursing its wounds. Although it does not terrorise the land anymore, its whiskers have penetrated to the surface. There, in the form of small shrubs with yellow leaves, they tangle the feet of trappers and other forest users, reminding us of the lynx that lurks below and the great evil that used to stalk the realm. And this is how it will remain, until a hero of long length returns, to clear the land for good.


Passages of note

Fine words have an ability to move you. They can pick you up, take you somewhere wonderful, or dump you down in a pit of despair. It could be an elegant combination of a few words, or a beautiful meandering passage that paints the perfect picture.


When reading I’ve often come across such passages, in various books or poems. I tend to take a moment, maybe re-read the part again, savour it, and then move on with the book. This is probably what anyone else does. Unfortunately, given a memory that could hardly be called photographic, often I move on without committing the passage to memory. This then means I cannot recall it exactly. Sure I get the gist, and I know how it moved me and why, but the exact form of the object of my inspiration is lost. A blurry picture of a muse from my youth.



Recently I received a notebook from my mum, from when she visited Peru. Its quite pretty, but I wasn’t sure what to do with it. Too large for regular note taking, not robust 20170812_181155.jpgenough for writing my blog posts into (each gets written up by hand first before being copied onto here). It sat idle, gathering dust, in a corner of my room. But now I have found a purpose for it. Into it I am copying down the passages of note that I come across. Be they from a dark but enlightened Bukowski poem, a stirring address from Jefferson, or a perfect portrait by Hemingway, they shall be lost to me no longer.


See below for the first half-dozen! Feel free to share any you have.


A few books, and my trusty kindle



This began with me searching through books I’ve already read for passages I remembered. Finding the Sinclair Ross quote (the first picture) took me two hours of flicking and scanning pages…. From now on I will make a note as I find each passage.


Saturday night’s alright for fighting


On Saturday, 1st April, there was an event which gave you a few more stories than most Saturday nights. It was the 22nd, and my 2nd, instalment of Dynamite fights, a series of boxing matches organised at the TNT Boxing Academy in Guelph, Ontario. Read a rather breathless summary of the last one here. If it was anything like that last one, this means the potential for thrills and technical kills, displays of superior skill and brutal power. This one carried an extra special edge to it however, as TNT got international. Thanks to Boxing Canada, one of the fights featured a boxer specially flown in from England. Jade Ashmore arrived Thursday to face Canadian Olympian Mandy Bujold. Given that Bujold is a ten-time national champion and a two-time Pan-American champion, while Ashmore has recently been elevated to the GB Podium Potential squad, expectations and excitement were running high. A sprinkle of glamour to complement the scent of canvas and sweat.

GM TNT pic.png
Full house at TNT. Picture from

The promise of a trans-Atlantic war wasn’t the only thing that had got the locals excited. Got them skipping dinner to head down to the ring at 5:00pm to grab the last of the seats. Got them snapping up every ticket left, right and centre. Some 200, maybe 250 in attendance. They were drawn by the prospect of epics, of grudge matches, of super heavyweights, young unknowns and old favourites. It’s a heady cocktail, and the place was buzzing. Standing room only, onlookers jostling on benches at the back, craning necks round corners to catch a glimpse of the action. Hungry for a taste of it, feeding off the glamour, the aggro, the coiled energy from the boxers stalking though their warm-up routines. There are many different routes to a properly entertaining fight, and we were blessed with a full range of match-ups.


First there are the unknowns. Three fights featured two out of town fighters, so their prospects were harder to judge prematurely. We scrutinised the fighters beforehand, trying to judge who was faster, cleaner, meaner, by their warm-up and the set of their jaws, like watching thoroughbreds out in the circle before the Derby. The bell rings and we lean forward eagerly, keen to have our hunches upheld or quashed. In the first we’re proven right, Dustin Howick of Caged Dragon, living up to the gym’s name, came out like a hurricane, flying into Hansel Espino, Gideons, from the off, cashing the cheques his uber focused warm-up wrote. This brutal assault won applause from the crowd, but a puzzling lack of response from Espino in blue. His corner exhorts him to get over his trigger shyness, but he never does, and Howick takes the unanimous decision.

The other two fights involving non-TNT boxers follow similar patterns to each other. Jean Benoit, Celtic Hammer, and Daniel Payne, Battle Arts, both had a reach and a class advantage over their opponents: Erik Hodgons, Paschtime boxing, and Adrian Calestani-Winacott, Celtic Hammer respectively. Payne looks good, fast and with some crunching blows that lead to three standing eight counts in the 2nd round, the last of which ends the fight. Benoit also looks tidy, ripping out rapid strikes that repeatedly have the crowd groaning. Hodgons, in his first fight, does well to last it, having some success when he gets in close, but ultimately is unable to pin down his opponent. He takes an eight count, and a call from his corner to “walk in with something, not just your head”, while Benoit takes the unanimous decision.

A good match has ebb and flow, attack morphing to defence, big leads cut down by resolute resistance. The first fight of the night followed the latter path, getting the crowd going, suggesting the pre-night promise would be met. Kyle Allen, TNT, gave us a scare against Mathankan Ivanjan, Gideons. For the first two rounds crashing over-hand rights weren’t quite enough against the slicker Ivanjan’s rapid combos. Still Allen came on, his connections drawing roars from the crowd, Ivanjan’s corner bawling at their man: “Don’t stand in front of him!” (“Stand in front of him!” is the reply from a wag in the crowd). For my money Ivanjan is up heading into the final round, but Allen digs deep in the third with a heroic effort, chasing him around the ring, giving everything. Was it enough? We wait on tenterhooks. Yes, by split decision. Thrilling.

DC Bynol pic.png
Bynol takes the win against Bongelli; picture from

Unfortunately, two TNT fighters can’t quite pull off such comebacks. Craig Bongelli probably needed one more round to complete a turnaround, but as it was his giant (225lb/102kg) opponent, Randy Bynol, Battle Arts, took their super heavyweight contest after some heavy blows in the 2nd led to a standing eight count, and ultimately the win. There was a case for Greg Holley, TNT, having done enough at the last against the tall, cocky O’Neil King, Dewith’s. In a classic clash of styles King evidently did just enough off the back foot to take a split decision. Desperately unlucky for Holley, but definitely an improvement over his last fight.

Contrast the raucous crowd for these duels with the pin-drop silence for our international events. Sheer anticipation gagged the crowd for two fights featuring TNT’s past and prospective Olympians. In the latter category, Sara Haghighat-Joo is a big draw, the gym’s golden girl, having won a recent international event in Sweden, and generally considered a medal chance that the next Olympics. She faced Ali Rosen, representing Caged Dragon, who flew up from Miami. Rosen is taller and heavier than Haghighat-Joo, and perhaps this worries the crowd, who are deathly quiet. They needn’t have been, Haghighat-Joo is clearly faster, and stays on top throughout a cagey encounter to take the unanimous decision. Her career marches resolutely on. Mandy Bujold, Team Canada, also looks faster than Jade Ashmore, Team England, in the eye-catching trans-Atlantic bust-up. At one point Bujold darts in an in a flash delivers a three punch combo the English woman can’t even get her gloves up to. The crowd, whispering at the start, get louder as the result becomes more clear: Bujold on all cards.

DC Bujold pic
Bujold takes on Ashmore; picture from

This was not lacking from the remaining two fights. What adds a bit of spice to any encounter is a touch of history, and that came in the fight between home favourite Carolyn Redmond and Max Turcotte-Novosedlik, Celtic Hammer. They had previously met in the provincial finals, with Redmond beaten to gold by Turcotte-Novosedlik. A bit of a grudge match then. Huge roar from the crowd for this one. Its a hell of a fight too; two very good, very well-matched, very committed boxers putting it all on the line. Perhaps it’s the desire for vengeance, perhaps it’s the roar of a home crowd; Redmond takes the fight to her opponent, demanding that gold back. She never lets up. Turcotte-Novosedlik was the champion. Past tense. Redmond takes the unanimous victory, crowd going wild, 10/10 on the volume.

Somehow though, it went up again for the final fight. Before the night, and aside from the international element, this was main thing people had been talking about. Brock Stumpf, TNT, and reigning Canadian heavyweight champion, against Daniel Akota, Dewith’s. We had been promised entertainment the value of the entire admission alone from this one by half a dozen people. Appetites whetted by the previous nine courses, we still hungered for a 10th. They didn’t disappoint; I’m not sure its in them to fight cute. Even all the little extras were there to make it particularly enthralling; chest bumps after the bell, sparks of outrage when it is his punches, but not yours, that are slightly out of order, corners adding their words of the maelstrom of action. Alongside this side-show the fighters are doing their best to drop bombs on each other, that one huge punch to fell a man and make the crowd howl. Stumpf gets his gum shield punched out, but to the tune of 200+ people chanting “Brock, Brock, Brock” he launches himself forward in a flurry of punches. We double up with nerves when we hear it’s a split decision, but Stumpf takes it. The crowd roar with delight for a final time. We grin at each other, and eventually start clearing out. A fitting end to a dynamite night.

MB team TNT pic.png
Competition coach Stevie Bailey, and boxers Carolyn Redmond, Sara Haghighat-Joo, Mandy Bujold and Brock Stumpf after their wins. Picture from