Mansfield charity boxer honoured for tribute to late wife

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A former semi-professional footballer whose wife died from cancer has been honoured after raising thousands of pounds in her memory.

Steve Walker, aged 36, lost his wife Gemma in June, after a battle with breast cancer.

He decided to take on a boxing challenge to raise money for the fight against cancer and has now taken part in three Ultra White Collar Boxing (UWCB) events, raising more than £5,500 for Cancer Research UK.

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Now, Mr Walker, of Beck Crescent, Mansfield, has been named inspiring participant of the year by fellow competitors.

Steve Walker with his UWCB events award.Steve Walker with his UWCB events award.
Steve Walker with his UWCB events award.

Each year, thousands of people across the UK take part in Ultra Events activities, including boxing, martial arts, ballroom, comedy or darts to raise money for Cancer Research UK.

Mr Walker, a plasterer who was married to Gemma for eight years, said: "It means the world to me to win the award.

"My aim was to be the top fundraiser at every event I did and I managed to do that, so I was over the moon.

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"I hope they use the money to try to find some kind of cure.”

Steve Walker with wife Gemma and son Owen.Steve Walker with wife Gemma and son Owen.
Steve Walker with wife Gemma and son Owen.

In 2016, doctors gave the couple the devastating news Mrs Walker had breast cancer which had spread and was terminal.

Mr Walker, who met Gemma when they worked for the same plastering firm, said: "Gemma getting cancer pushed me to do the event. I was inspired by her strength and wanted to raise money for her.”

UWCB coaches beginners with eight weeks of free training before a bout.

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Mr Walker, dad to seven-year-old Owen, won his first fight in July 2017, at the John Fretwell Centre, Sookholme Road, Mansfield, and loved it so much he fought again in November 2018.

Steve Walker at the Ultra event.Steve Walker at the Ultra event.
Steve Walker at the Ultra event.

He drew that, before winning his third, in November 2019.

Though “sporty” Mr Walker played football until he was 31, for teams including Forest Town and FC05 Bilsthorpe, he had never boxed before signing up to Ultra.

Participants are trained at Sor Chang Kow Muay Thai Camp, Mansfield, twice a week – those taking part are asked to sell tickets for the show and raise at least £50 for Cancer Research UK.

The next Ultra event takes place in Mansfield on March 23 – see