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The Sweet Science of Style

We sit down with British Vintage Boxing founder, Zen Martinoli, to talk about putting a premium spin on the old-school, sporting ruggedness

Interview by Will Halbert
Photography by
Chris Boulton

From Left to Right – Nuakai Aru / Jacey Ethalion / Charlie Duffield / Glen Power

How did the idea of British Vintage Boxing come about? What was the inspiration behind the brand?
We wanted to create a premium sportswear brand we felt boxing deserved. Something more elevated than anything we saw on the market – more reflective of the noble art. Everything began with Sir Henry Cooper, his effortless style during the early part of his career; his integrity, geniality and courage in the ring. He embodied everything we wanted to reinvent, the mission to redefine vintage for the modern man.

What does British Vintage Boxing stand for? What fuels you?
BVB stands for brotherhood, respect, honour and integrity. To fight the good fight in whatever you do – without being exclusive to boxing or boxers. BVB is for all ‘everyday champions’ in all walks of life. We’re fuelled by the desire to bring this message to the market, expressed through the narrative of stylish, authentic, made-to-last staples that at once cover you in glory and inspire you to chase your dreams.

British Vintage Boxing’s Bombardier range boasts some seriously hard-wearing pieces. Can you talk us through the finer points of the ranges’ construction?
The Bombardier range is produced in both brushed-back cotton sweat fabric and 100% cotton loopback sweat fabric; the loopback Bombardiers being more heavy duty. Loopback goes way back to early generation sweatshirts originally designed to draw sweat away from the body and into the fabric. The classic triangle detail you’ll see on most sweatshirts was originally added to keep the shape of the collar and draw sweat away from the chest. To toughen the Bombardier, we’ve added reinforced top-stitching and side panels. Stitched under-arm eyelets provide old-school ventilation, with further vintage detailing articulated with extended ribbed cuffs and hem.

And finally, what is it about the vintage era of boxing that captivates people?
There’s something almost mythical about these old-school fighters; a fascination with men who prevailed against all odds with sheer guts and determination, men who carried themselves with dignity and honour, men idolised by the younger generations. Then there’s the romance of the golden years of the 1950s and 60s, with all its glamour and style seamlessly combined with a new age of swaggering boxing icons beamed into people’s living rooms for the first time.