It's hard, it's glamorous, it's exciting, say the promoters Cityboxing is for real.

The Hard Market, the insurance industry's annual boxing event, returns to the honourable artillery company grounds on 23 November.

The show, benefiting the NSPCC, is the brain child of Cityboxer chief executive Mark Burford. Burf" as he likes to be known, understands why it was such a hit with the industry. He says: "It's simply about excellence in every direction, this event takes six months to create, it's a spectacular black-tie event.

"We source high profile industry figures and ask them simply, 'do you want to be a boxer?' The selection process complete, the fighters go on a four-month training campaign, before ending up on the most glamorous boxing event held in the city."

Adam Fox, senior partner and head of reinsurance at Glencairn, boxed on the first Hard Market event last November. Fox says the coaching, fitness training and camaraderie leading upto the Hard Market event was awesome in everyway.

"It was like being part of a blockbuster film - until I got into the ring and realised it was for real.What a buzz."

Leo Gibbons, head of marketing at Novae SVB boxed to a draw on the event with Besso's Guy Gavan, as well as winning the prestigious Fighter of the Night" award.

Gibbons says: "From a corporate standpoint, and from feedback from our clients, I would have to say that the Hard Market is one of the most successful events that we have been involved in. The evening was run impeccably and was a real five-star event. It was certainly a night for the ladies as well as the men and provided a level of excitement that you just don't get from a golf course or sporting dinner."

High praise indeed, but Burf isn't surprised. The Hard Market is an event that he and Cityboxer events manager Jonathon Mattey are immensly proud of and dedicated to. "I can guarantee that you will have never been to an event like The Hard Market. Brilliant location, Michelin-award winning cuisine, production values you"don't expect from a west end show and, most of all, the incredible drama of watching high profile guys from the general insurance industry absolutely laying it on the line to raise funds for the NSPCC."

This year the event hopes to raise £50,000 for the charity.

The last word should go to Burf, who is looking, to the industry for his next tranche of prospects for Hard Market 06.

"If you put yourself forward to box and get selected, the Hard Market will be a defining moment for you."

Burf lowers his voice and leans forward. "But don't forget, you can play football and you can play rugby, but you can't play boxing."

If you would like to put yourself forward as a prospect for The Hard Market 06, then go to and register on The Hard Market prospects button on the home page.