Michael Bryden Abstract, July 2017 Conference

Sports Criminology is a new and exciting branch in Criminology which can examine a range of topics from desistance from crime to criminal activities in sport. As Groombridge (2016) proposes, there is large scope for academia to investigate whether boxing (and martial arts in general) can reduce the risk of offending. The research into combat sports and crime reduction to date is small and the results mixed. Jump (2015) suggests that despite boxing having an incapacitation effect, male boxers can become trapped in their masculinities. However, Jenkins and Ellis (2011) found that combat sports can have a positive effect at reducing socio-cultural and individual risk factors associated with offending. In my ongoing PhD I am looking at women’s amateur boxing to discover whether it can reduce the risk of offending. In this presentation I will begin by exploring the exciting near three hundred journey of women’s boxing beginning in London in the 1720’s. Next I will outline my PhD, explaining my reasons for choosing my topic, my method and methodology, and what I hope to achieve. I will then finally go on to explain why it is important to study combat sport through an academic lens, for example, to shape social policy in criminal justice.


I have currently just started the third year (part-time) in my PhD at the University of Portsmouth. My topic is women’s amateur boxing and whether it can enhance protective factors associated with non-offending. I successfully gained my BA in Criminology and Social Policy, and my MA in Criminology at the University of Brighton in 2012 and 2014 respectively.