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Page last updated at 11:42 GMT, Tuesday, 1 July 2008 12:42 UK

Devon fighter aims for check mate

Chess boxing
Costello (left) mixes is a former junior chess champion

An Exeter fighter is preparing for his first ever Chessboxing bout.

Andrew Costello, who is the tenth ranked heavyweight kickboxer in the country, fights Italy's Gianluca Sirci in Berlin on Saturday, 5 July.

Costello, also a former junior chess champion, is looking forward to the fight, playing alternate rounds of boxing and chess.

"A friend told me it was popular in Europe and knew that I boxed and was a junior chess champion," he said.

"I thought he was winding me up," added 35-year-old Costello.

But it was no wind up, and after being involved in a demonstration match earlier this year, Costello has decided to take on the Italian, who has had six professional bouts.

Bouts begin a four minute round of chess, followed by a three minute round of boxing. An entire bout consists of six rounds of chess and five rounds of boxing.

The winner is the fighter who either knocks out his opponent or forces a check mate.

If it is level after 11 rounds, the winner is decided by the judges on their boxing performance.

At age ten I could hold my own with the adults. I used to go to chess tournaments around the country with my Dad

Andrew Costello
"One possible game plan is to unload on the guy at the end of the round not just to affect the scorecards but also to affect his head for the chess game," Costello said.

"If the boxing is going bad then I would have to push harder for the check mate or vice versa."

Costello was a Devon junior chess champion at the age of 10 and stopped playing the sport competitively by the time he was 14.

"At age 10 I could hold my own with the adults. I used to go to chess tournaments around the country with my Dad," Costello, who still plays the game recreationally, and usually wins, said.

Costello is hoping to win his first ever bout this weekend and fight on home soil some time in August.

see also
Boxing clever in Germany
08 Nov 07 |  Europe

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