Carson and Pearce ready to rumble for charity in Newmarket
Two jockeys throwing punches in a nightclub is nothing new, but it will be for real in Newmarket next month when two riders are set to square up in the boxing ring in the name of charity.
Forget Tony Bellew and David Haye, William Carson v Simon Pearce is the hottest ticket in town at the headquarters of Flat racing.
The bout, at the Innocence club on the town's high street on April 22, is already a sell-out and will be the real deal as neither fighter will be wearing a headguard during the three-round match.
The event, one of 15 fights on the bill, is a throwback to the annual stable lads boxing evenings of old and which were won by the likes of subsequent professional WBU champion Colin 'Dynamo' Dunne.
Paddy Power have priced up the bout and make William Carson a warm favourite at 8-13, with Pearce at 6-5. The tie is 15-2.
Neither Pearce nor Carson have ever fought before in public, but the pair were keen to do something out of the ordinary to raise funds for stricken colleague Freddy Tylicki, as well as the Injured Jockeys Fund and East Anglian Air Ambulance.
Pearce said: "I've been boxing at Eddie Guest's gym for a while now to keep my fitness levels up between rides and he asked me one day if I wanted to fight in public.
"I wasn't keen at first as I thought I'd get my head kicked in, but thought if we could raise some cash it would be worth it. I mentioned it to William one day in the weighing room and he was well up for it."
Both have been preparing for the fight at Guest's gym near Fordham, albeit at different times.
Pearce added: "I try to spar twice a week but don't go to the gym when William is around as I don't want him to know my tactics! I don't know what I've got myself into but it's a good cause and I'm training as hard as I can so I get the trip.
"I'd imagine William's tactics will be to come out all guns blazing in the first round and try to knock my head off. Then hopefully he'll blow up and I can have the fight stopped in the second!"
Carson, grandson of former champion jockey Willie, is in Tenerife –but evidently not at a winter training camp.
His father, trainer Tony, is not sure his son should be an odds-on shot.
He said: "I'll be backing Pearce in a double with William's brother Graham [amateur jockey who fights on the same bill] as William can't take a punch and Graham's had him on the floor a few times.
"It's great they're putting these evenings back on as I used to enjoy going to the London stable lads' boxing many years ago."
Promoter Guest, himself a former jockey, said: "It promises to be a big night with William and Simon fighting, and we also have apprentice George Buckell boxing Graham Carson. And one of Micky Quinn's lads, Chris Cavanagh, is to face Pete McCullough, who works for Paul d'Arcy."
Paddy Power spokesman Paul Binfield said: “We make William an odds-on shot to put himself into the annals of the long history of pugilism in Newmarket, where Steve 'Yarmouth' Dyble and Dickie McCabe, Shergar's groom, won 19 stable lads’ boxing titles between them, while Colin Dunne went on to become a world champion after starting out in the stable lads' championships.”