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Derby events company proves knock-out success in Canada

Published on Thursday 30 November 2023

A Derby company that has helped raise over £31m for charity by hosting ‘bucket-list’ challenges for adventurous people has taken Canada by storm.


Ultra Events took its hugely popular Ultra White Collar Boxing (UWCB) challenge to the Canadian city of Calgary and has so far raised CAN$60,000 (£35,000) for charity at two separate events this year.

The take-up by Canadian would-be pugilists has proved so popular that the firm is planning to hold 20 events in Calgary, Vancouver, Toronto, Edmonton and Quebec City in 2024, expanding to 100 events in the North American nation in 2025.

Ultra events, which launched in 2009, will initially be expanding its Canadian activities to include Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), though it also lays-on other life-affirming challenges such as stand-up comedy, and mountain climbing to participants in the UK.

Participants in all events are given a free eight-week training programme prior to their challenge and are encouraged to raise funds for charity after signing up for their chosen activity.

Ultra Events’ founder Jon Leonard said: “The Canadian people are just lovely. It’s gone really, really well there since we took Ultra Events across the pond. It’s been incredibly popular. 

“After surpassing the initial target of 50,000 dollars, we now hope to hit our first million dollars in Canada next year.

“We are so proud to have taken a company from Derby to the international market and received such a positive reaction. It’s pretty cool really that we’ve managed to punch above our weight so successfully.”

Having previously made minor in-roads overseas before Covid put a stop to events and international travel, Ultra Events has been so buoyed by the response to its ‘experience’ challenges in Canada that it is planning to launch in Australia, Poland and Germany next year.

The company has been helping to raise an average of around £5m for charity each year, but it is now setting its sights on raising £1m per month by 2025.

“The amazing activities we offer to the public have always hit the right note,” said Jon. “Many people take them on to raise money for a charity that may have helped out a loved one. 

“Some participants have recovered from accidents or life-changing illnesses and want to find a new lease of life. Other people simply want to get fit or achieve a dream that may be way out of their comfort zone. But, without exception, none of our participants ever regrets taking part.”

The first event in Calgary, Canada, this year saw 40 members of the public taking part in 20 fights in March, raising a total of CAN$25,000. The second event, in October, saw 64 first-time boxers raise over CAN$35,000.

More than 150,000 individuals worldwide have taken up the challenges since Ultra Events launched in 2009, with formal tracking of fundraising starting in 2014.

The most popular challenge is the Ultra White Collar Boxing (UWCB) programme.

To discover more about Ultra Events, visit www.ultraevents.co




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