How it all began
Opening up CrossFit Colchester in 2012, Carl Saville began straight away entering himself and members into competitions, which helped develop a fun, sociable atmosphere within his gym. With only six months open, Carl wanted to develop that team spirit between boxes, and so decided to hold a competition at CrossFit Colchester, open to four other boxes from Essex, allowing them to battle out to find the fittest group of athletes, as well as the fittest individual within the region. With the aim of getting to know and interact other CrossFit gyms in the same area to help build that classic CrossFit community.
Battle of the Boxes was born
Carl Saville has a passion for the competitive atmosphere and with the positive reception received from the previous year, decided to invite 12 boxes for the 2014, Battle of the Boxes. After requests from all across the UK to partake, Carl then opened the competition to 32 teams foe the following year in 2015. Each box put forward their five top athletes to fight for the title of the fittest gym. With a new venue to cater for all the athletes, and 800+ spectator seats quickly sold, Carl knew this would not just be a great test of fitness, but also a fantastic event for everyone to watch.
Battle of the Boxes grew even bigger in 2016, with over 120 teams entering, and 60 qualifying for the finals. The winner’s prize was £1,250 with the top four teams battled it out using ‘The Grid’ – a workout including multiple barbell movements followed by synchronised team burpees and a sprint to finish. Spectators get to watch teams, including regional athletes, going head to head with novice teams too.
Battle of the Boxes became so popular, the 2017 event was also held at the Crowne Plaza, a 2,500 spectator arena, with a £20,000 prize pot to be shared out for the top three teams. Now one of the biggest team competitions in Europe, Battle of the Boxes continued its growth on a global level, now known as The European Championships.
Battle of the Beasts / The European Championships
With such positive feedback from Battle of the Boxes, Carl Saville set out to find the fittest athletes in the UK. In 2014, the first individual competition, Battle of the Beasts, was introduced. After completing the qualifiers, the top 50 male and top 50 female athletes were invited to the finals at Charter Hall. 800+ spectators attended to see who would win the first individual CrossFit competition to be held in Essex, UK.
The following year more than 1,000 athletes signed up for Battle of the Beasts, and the number of final places grew to 130. The popularity of the event meant that the venue had to be changed to the 2500 capacity Crowne Plaza arena for 2015, which allowed for a growing number of stalls and vendors, and greater floor space to watch the finalists battle it out in exciting new tests of fitness.
The winner of the CrossFit Games 2015 & 2016, Katrin Davidsdottir, came to support the competition, taking on a Three on One challenge where she would complete three workouts against three different athletes. Battling it out with the famous CrossFit workout, Fran, followed by a gruelling mix of deadlifts, burpees and handstand walking. The stadium lit up with the crowd’s excitement and support for the athletes and so in 2016, two-times CrossFit Games winner Annie Thorisdottir attended to take on a similar challenge, this time with ‘Amanda’ bar muscle ups, handstand walking, legless rope climbs and sandbag sprints.
The support from these athletes makes Battle of the Beasts and Battle of the Boxes a competition everyone wants to be a part of.
Battle of the Beasts not only took the European CrossFit community by storm, but is also started turning heads across the Globe, which is what led to the change in name. Now known as The European Championships, the competition see’s athletes from all over the world take on the qualifiers, and attending the live finals in August.
Since our events started back in our little local UK affiliate, we’ve continued to grow each year where we now see 3000+ people taking part in our online qualifiers, 480 successful athletes invited to the live finals across 9 categories: Novice, Teens, Intermediate, Masters (35-50+) and RX. And in 2022 our event will now be moving to the 10,000 capacity Motorpoint stadium, making history here in the UK.
The new stadium location (Nottingham) is situated in the heart of the UK, just 2hrs from London, so easy access for our international athletes, its surrounded by hotels, restaurants and facilities for us to use for new, challenging and exciting fitness tests! So, a very exciting era in competitive CrossFit here in the UK.
The further growth of the 2022 The European Championships competition means we will see the prize pot grow to a mouth-watering £40,000 including £10,000 for the ‘Teams’ podium!