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Welding lecturer and former boxer who faced Calzaghe has dream to referee at the Olympics

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Suffolk New College employee has just returned from World Boxing Cup where he reffed some of world’s next superstars

A former boxer who sparred with Joe Calzaghe in his youth has swapped right hooks for refereeing.

Simon Mullan with Joe Calzaghe

Simon Mullan, 46, teaches welding at Suffolk New College and he has just come back from the World Boxing Cup in Cologne where he oversaw around 41 bouts involving some of the most talented amateurs on the planet.

Simon Mullan raising winners hand during world cup boxing fight

Mr Mullan started coaching after finishing his own career in the ring, working with the likes of Olympic medallist Lewis Richardson, and then he became an official around 2011 and a referee in 2012.

Since then he has progressed to international level and this has taken almost ten years to reach this elite status.

Having reached this standard, he is overseeing bouts that are essentially tournaments where people are looking to qualify for the Olympics. But one day he hopes to represent Great Britain as an Olympic referee.

Simon said: “If I got the nod for an Olympic games I would be over the moon. Every level is a step to this dream.”

In terms of his most recent tournament, Simon said: “I was in Cologne for six days and the tournament was over four days. I refereed ten bouts and judged 31. The rest of the time I was based with Team GB and it was fascinating seeing their daily routines. To be with the people who are going to be at the next Olympics was eye-opening.

“I also got to ref a German female champion and several of the Cuban team who are likely to do well in Paris next year.

Simon Mullen att he boxing world championships

“Overall I loved it – it was one of the best tournaments I’ve been to, the level of the boxers and the professionalism of the coaches was on another level.”

But does this experience have an impact in the classroom? Simon continued: “I try and bring this experience back into the classroom at Suffolk New College. Planning, preparing, doing your research, timekeeping, having the right nutrition, concentration, staying hydrated – everything sports people do in daily life can be implemented at college to help students in their careers.”

He also discussed VAR at the tournament that has caused such controversy in the world of football. Simon said: “I was talking to a gentleman from Finland (about VAR) and he said they are looking at a system to assist referees in boxing. Will it ever come out – I’m not so sure.”

In previous years, Simon and his welding students have worked with the community on various projects including creating some lanterns for a trail at Sutton Hoo.

Most recently, the welding department created 12 boxing brackets for Ipswich Boxing Club. He will be taking students to the club to see their handiwork and take part in a training session next year.

Brackets made by SNC fabrication department for local boxing gym

Posted 11 December 2023