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 has become so popular, 2017’s event will now be 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 is beginning to see growth on a global level, now known as The European Championships (Team).
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.
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 Crowne Plaza for 2015, which allowed for a growing number of stalls and vendors, and greater floor space to watch the finalists battle it out.
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 has not only taken the European CrossFit community by storm, but is also turning heads across the Globe, which has lead to a change in name. Now to be known as The European Championships, the competition will see athletes from all over the world take on the qualifiers in October, rather than August, with the finals taking place in January 2018.
With RX and scaled categories being introduced in 2016, The European Championships will remain an all inclusive competition for everyone to get involved with. A Teens division allows 13 to 17 year olds to battle it out with carefully designed workouts suitable for the age group, encouraging the younger generation to excel in CrossFit and experience competition against one another. New to 2017 due to high demand is the Masters category (aged 35+).
The further growth from The European Championships has meant that the finalist spots yet again increase to 300 athletes in 2017, with a bigger prize pot of £40,000 including £1,000 per qualifier too and a £10,000 prize for the overall winner.