Stéphane Hadjeras, story boxer

When researcher Stéphane Hadjeras, former president and coach of the athletic Besançon Ring, talks about boxing, his eyes light up. A passion inherited from a pugilist uncle that the kid, born forty-seven years ago in the towers of the popular district of Les Clairs-Soleils, admired. “I started practicing the noble art when I was a teenager”, he recounts. A period of his life that he describes, with a smile, as “Tumultuous”.

The dreamy child, calm, overflowing with imagination, comic lover, in the moon, some teachers said, turns into a rebellious teenager after the separation of his parents of Algerian origin. “My mother found herself alone with five children to raise”, he confides modestly.

This family situation then confronted him with realities “Which should not be that of a 10 year old child”. “I realized that life was neither sweet nor easy. I even tasted petty crime. I could have rocked, but I loved sports and especially boxing. It saved me by teaching me discipline, tenacity. The routine of training several times a week away from the neighborhood gave me a framework… ”

Meeting with the professor of letters Anne-Lise Carrière

A meeting also played a fundamental role in his journey. The one with Anne-Lise Carrière: “This professor of letters gave me a taste for literature, for words, he confides. When I defended my thesis, I would have liked her to be present, to tell her the fundamental role she played in my life. Thanks to her, I started to believe in myself and in other horizons. When you come from working-class neighborhoods, it’s not easy because tomorrow seems so far away. We burn life there at both ends between friends. We let ourselves be caught by demons. “

Stéphane Hadjeras recognizes that he could have taken a shorter path to reach where he is today, while explaining that this path, he did not know it. “I had this desire to transmit within me. What I did with boxing and history when I became a graduate coach oféstate and teacher in a vocational school. But in terms of research, it took me longer to get started. I was a dad at 22. It was necessary to ensure the daily. “

It is also thanks to his children that he will return to boxing, once an adult: “I accompanied them to the club, he recounts. Little by little, the desire to put on the gloves returned. Year after year, I got involved in the life of the club. “ To the point of passing his coaching diplomas and taking on more and more responsibilities until becoming president of the athletic Besançon Ring, a club from which champions like Khedafi Djelkhir, silver medalist at the Beijing Olympics, have emerged. in 2008. The club is also very involved in the life of the neighborhood.

Devotes himself to research on Georges Carpentier

However, he abandoned this exciting function in 2018 to devote himself to his research on Georges Carpentier … The subject was brought to his attention by his thesis director, Paul Dietschy, a football historian. “I knew Georges Carpentier, but I was far from suspecting that he had been so popular in his time”, until incarnating the figure of national hero at the beginning of the XXe century. The boxer has yet disappeared from collective memory despite his exceptional career. “He started a professional career at age 14, four years later, he had more than 80 fights. By comparison, a boxer like the American Floyd Mayweather was in his 40s at the end of his career, at age 40. “

This unimaginable record today leads Stéphane Hadjeras to suggest that boxing is one of the few sports that has regressed physically and technically. “And for good reason, at the time of Georges Carpentier, the golden age of English boxing in France, the fights were more numerous, more trying. They also lasted much longer, twenty rounds against ten today, the gloves were much lighter, the bandages harder … In the ring, a boxer had to avoid a knockout. Boxing’s flagship rule, touch without being touched, made sense at the time. Those who lasted, like Georges Carpentier, excelled in the art of dodging, ultimately taking less risk than contemporary boxers. “

Passionate about its subject, Stéphane Hadjeras brought it to the attention of the general public through a book (1).


His inspiration. Ernest Hemingway, a writer who took risks

A sentence from Ernest Hemingway feeds Stéphane Hadjeras’s reflection: “We have to get used to it: at the most important crossroads in our lives, there are no signs. ““He’s a writer I discovered when I was a teenager, he recounts. I find it fascinating. His style of writing “punch”. His reading of human relationships. His life made up of actions and commitments. Agitation, as he said. His love of danger and extreme sports. Boxing. His hymn to virility. Its dark side, its bon vivant side. All this fascinates and inspires me on a daily basis. He is one of those writers that I love to read and reread, because they wet the jersey, to use a sporting metaphor, they got involved and took risks. “



Rugby: in Bordeaux-Bègles, Christophe Urios still tells his stories of men

With him, the right word is always sure. He points in the speech of Christophe Urios, the manager of the Union Bègles-Bordeaux, in a flood that rolls like his accent from the southwest: overflowing. Before the Top 14 semi-final against Stade Toulouse, Saturday June 19, the pearl arrives to ensure the ambition of his team: ” As Elon Musk says, “It’s possible for ordinary people to choose to be extraordinary”… There you have it, that’s the idea. To beat Toulouse, you have to be extraordinary.

The reference to the boss-billionaire of the company SpaceX is not anecdotal. Embark his world to touch the stars, work, convince, this is what occupies Christophe Urios, full time on the human management of his group. “Me, my job is to create this atmosphere around the club, in the team, which makes us move forward, with a common project”, did he just confide in Olympic noon. An alchemy to be found, which he also testifies in his book co-written in 2020, 15 leadership lessons – management as much as rugby -, placed under the motto of the All Blacks, “Being better never stops”.

Player, already a perfectionist

Christophe Urios, always in search of innovation and perfection. He was like that already a player. Not the most gifted of the gang, the hooker from Carcassonne in the 1980s, then from Castres the following decade, but, as his teammates at the time testify, the most relentless in training. We nickname him “the rustic”, so what? He was rewarded with a title of champion of France with Castres (in 1993), and a retraining without thinking about it but ultimately obvious. After putting away the crampons, Christophe Urios could have taken over the family vineyard in the Minervois, with his oenology diploma in the luggage. But no. His father was angry about it for a long time, but rugby won.

→ PORTRAIT. Vincent Merling, the guardian president of the Rochelle temple

Because the good man was reading, and in particular the Fundamentals of modern rugby (1994) by Pierre Conquet, a former Carcassonne and Racing winger who became a great oval theorist. The apostle of combat rugby nourishes the appetite for knowledge of an apprentice trainer Urios with the hopes of Castres, then the young people of the training center, then the guys of the pro team in the first half of the 2000s. fold is taken. Christophe Urios had not premeditated it, but he is a coach. A career well launched?

The collective above all

Not so sure. It begins with bitterness and nasty pills to swallow. Castres who sacked him in 2005, then two years at Bourgoin-Jallieu where he failed to forge this strong relationship with the players that he loved. He is on the verge of stopping. But a proposal comes from the Pro D2 club of Oyonnax. He signed for a 7-year adventure, which established his reputation. He takes the club to the Top 14 by transcending men, the famous “Oyomen”.

Experience builds it. He returned to Castres in 2015 for a new challenge, with an air of revenge. Three years later, he won the national title, as a leader of men, big mouth and big heart. The following year, rather than resting on his laurels, he announced his departure after the end of the season. Bad idea. His demobilized troops are unrecognizable and finish seventh. “Ineligible” sportingly, judge the boss, who will comment: “We acted like bastards”.

With his ease, it goes, but with some, it breaks. The leaders of Castres do not all mourn his departure, sometimes judging his self-centered swerves. He bounces back in Bordeaux, with a new “project” since that’s what fascinates him: taking the time to build. This time, however, he is going very quickly. The Bègles-Bordeaux Union was in the lead in 2020 when the Covid prematurely sounded the end of the game. This year, the team reaches the European semi-final and will therefore play this semi-final in the Top 14 on Saturday. Nice course.

Back to the roots

Christophe Urios savors. But it would put an end to the series of the neighbor of the Garonne, three times victorious this year (twice in Top 14 and in the continental semi-finals), just to nail the beak to the master of playing “Red and Black”, Ugo Mola, with whom he willingly scrapes verbally, the latter accentuating the opposition between his movement rugby more shimmering than the confrontation rugby of Christophe Urios. The question of style is however no longer quite relevant, the UBB playing a more unbridled game than the previous clubs of Christophe Urios. Proof that it can adapt while remaining efficient.

→ READ. Rugby: Toulouse Stadium European champion after an intense fight

As we get older, it is not excluded that Christophe Urios, 55, will improve further. Like a good wine, he who took advantage of the break from confinement to return to his roots by buying the wine estate where his father was manager during his childhood. A family story, his two brothers and his wife investing a lot in it. It’s always the same with him. The “Fair balance between valuing the collective and motivating individually”. In the field as in life. He’s doing it pretty well.