What Makes a PhD Student Who Looks like This Want to Fight for Cambridge?; Academic Highflier Makes History as University's First Woman Boxer

By Irwin, Jonathan | Daily Mail (London), November 22, 2001 | Go to article overview

What Makes a PhD Student Who Looks like This Want to Fight for Cambridge?; Academic Highflier Makes History as University's First Woman Boxer


Irwin, Jonathan, Daily Mail (London)


Byline: JONATHAN IRWIN

THE traditional image of a boxer is a hungry young man with a crooked nose and his brains in his gloves.

That's about as far removed as it is possible to get from Jessica Hudson, the first woman to box for Cambridge University.

Not only is the 23-year-old blessed with stunning looks, but she has the sharpest of academic minds.

At school, she achieved six As at A-level and followed that up with a first-class BA honours degree in social and political sciences and a Master of Philosophy degree from Cambridge.

She is now studying for a PhD in social psychology at Jesus College.

But put Miss Hudson in the boxing ring and rather more basic instincts take over.

She fought her way into the history books by defeating cadet officer Fiona Watson in the annual match between Cambridge and the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst.

Miss Hudson admits that some people are baffled as to why someone so intelligent would want to take part in such a violent sport.

'People who don't understand ask why I put myself through it, but it's not some kind of punishment - it's a thrill, it's exciting,' she said.

The rigid training regime - two hours a day, six days a week - and healthy lifestyle is something else that attracts her.

'I'm one of those people who likes to do very well,' she added. 'My grandfather was a Japanese prisoner of war and I've looked up to him all my life and I want to do everything very well.'

Clearly relishing her victorious debut, she told how an early punch to her opponent's 'delicate little nose' meant there was soon 'blood all over the place - and it wasn't mine'.

Miss Hudson, who won the featherweight bout by technical knockout in the second round, added: 'It was a big build-up but I worked hard and landed a lot of punches. …

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