Sunday, 4 January 2015

Fight day !

The day was finally here....Jeez were the nerves hitting me bad!   After 8 weeks of intensive training, alcohol and junk food ban it would be all over in a matter of 6 minutes in the ring....if I was lucky!

I remember getting up early that morning, having had a very restless night, constant scenarios of how the fight would go in my head.  I have to admit I was a little worried about getting hurt too badly, turning up to teach a classroom full of kids with a black eye not the best of looks to have!

Finally when it was time to go my wife and kids came with me to drop me off at the venue, as we went through the main gates parked straight in front of the arena was an Ambulance!....I remember hoping that it wouldn't be my taxi home that night.

Once in the venue, and what a venue it was... we all changed into our boxing kit and lined up for our medicals.  Once this was all done and passed I had a long wait until it was my turn to fight,  I wasn't fighting till around 10:30 pm, that gave me about 6 hours to...........worry.  Once the venue was full we all walked out to the ring to greet the crowd and for photographs in our respective teams.   I remember thinking how packed the arena was and what I was there to do, worrying more about tripping down the steps or over the ring ropes.  As I was introduced I heard screaming from across the room....for such a small following they sure made a huge sound....

By the time it came to my fight my nerves had gone and I was completely focused on what I had to do, if anything I was a little over confident.....I walked out to my entrance music, shadow boxing to "it's a fight" thinking I was some kind of Pro boxer.....may of felt like one but I'm pretty sure I didn't look like one.

Once in the ring everything around me closed in on me, as if there was only me,my opponent and the referee in the whole place.  all I was focused on at that point was my opponent and what I had to do......we were sent to our corners after a quick chat......waiting for the bell.


Round one started off well, punches were being traded between me and my opponent, my jabs were at times getting through his high guard, with my right hook really rocking him at a couple of occasions in the round.  I felt great and ended the round strong and not feeling too bad.

Round 2 started well, again getting a few punches in, but I was also taking a good few bomb shells mainly to the side of my head and nose..."keep your hands up" being screamed from my corner....bang!!! I took a hard hit to the side of my head, my ear was ringing and I could feel a trickling sensation down the side of my head.....I was sure at the time my ear was bleeding. After being stopped to adjust my head guard the fight was restarted, going on to receive another rocket to my head, this one shook me and left me a little stunned...(Stars buzzing around my head) at this point the referee stopped the fight...I felt I could have continued but at the end of the day he saw what happened and it probably was for the best...

As we stood in the center of the ring for the decision, yes I was a little gutted, but I was also immensely proud of what I had achieved.....Win lose or draw it was a great experience that I would never change....

For the following week I felt like I had been hit by a bus....barely being able to turn my neck and a sore nose...maybe a good job I didn't make it to the third round.....

Saturday, 3 January 2015

The Weigh in !

Wow everything had been leading up to this day, the main thought that was on mine and everyone's mind was "Who am I fighting?", after training for the last 8 weeks with a group of people I have to admit I was quite nervous, I kind of had a an idea of who it might be, but there was no guarantee....

We all turned up at the gym, dressed in our training gear, but we were not there to train....Everybody was so nervous, the process of calling out names, then facing off in front of the camera seemed to go on forever!  About 20 minutes in my name still hadn't been called, the wait was killing me... Eventually I was called up, standing in the red corner, waiting apprehensively for my opponent to be named, there were still a lot of really strong opponents left.

Eventually my opponent was named, and yes it was the person I thought it might be, he was a lot younger than me and I had sparred with him quite a few times, Each coming out on top at different times, I knew this was going to be a good match up!

Everything that could be done had been done now, no more gym sessions, it was just a matter of time until fight day !


I think the thing I looked forward to the most was getting in the ring and getting the chance to actually hit someone, but at the same time it was quite nerve racking.  The first time I sparred was against other people from our group, we started off just doing body sparring, well I remember thinking this isn't too bad at all, but this was just the start of it....

The first time we sparred full body was not a fun experience at all, I don't know why I thought being hit in the face would be fun but I can tell you now it wasn't.  Rotating with other people around the ring for 2 minute rounds, I never realised how knackering 2 minute rounds could be...At the end of it I went a shade of green and felt like I was going to pass the amusement of my coach.... but soon recovered once I actually started to breath....The strange thing is once it was all finished it kind of got you, you just want to keep going, have another go at it, so in the end I actually kind of enjoyed it and couldn't wait till the next time.

During the last weeks of sparring we had a few minor injuries, mainly bust noses, nothing really serious, but I was a little worried as I still didn't really know what it was like to take a really hard punch directly to the nose, I mean how would I react if it happens in the fight?

In the last couple of weeks I did everything I could do to be ready for my fight, I was Shadow boxing at 6 am in the morning to a timed boxing app on my phone(Boxing iTimer lite). I was eating well, training with a good friend Anthony Hardy who is a professional boxer, basically anything to help me not make a fool out of myself in front of hundreds of people including my friends and family.

What was really cool about this training is how my body transformed, my arms got bigger and my stomach got smaller, I even started to see my long lost six pack, this had been lost for around 13 years !

White Collar Boxing Training.....The first few weeks

First training session was brutal to say the least, to be honest I thought my fitness wasn't to bad as I had been running on and off for a few months before.....How wrong could I be!

1 Hour of non stop drills, totally pushing us as hard as they could, even the ones who looked in shape seemed to be struggling....My t-shirt was dripping with sweat and I was struggling to keep up, but rather than embarrass my self I kept going until the ups...leg raises....shadow boxing......running on the just name a few.  At the end of the session everyone was exhausted and gathered around to hear about what we had signed up for.  One of the younger men turned green and ran off to the toilet to be sick,,I was sure at the time that he wouldn't be the last!

Over the next couple of weeks we trained twice a week at the gym and I tried to keep up running in the mornings before I went to work to try and up my fitness as I was finding it hard to keep up at times in the sessions.  Sessions at that stage involved mainly fitness work, footwork, shadow boxing and some bag work.  At this stage of the training I really did start to wonder how I would ever be ready in a matter of a few weeks, this boxing was much harder than it looks on TV, I mean who hasn't watched boxing and thought to themselves "How hard can it be to hit someone", or imagined themselves as Rocky!

At the age of 34 things were not coming easy to me, my mind really wanted to push myself but my body just wouldn't let me...Within the first two weeks I had sprained my wrist from hitting the punch bag, due to partly my technique and my bad hand wrapping due to my inexperience, a week later I had somehow strained a muscle in my ribs area making it difficult to even turn over in bed...I mean what more could go wrong?

I eventually got to the stage where I just had to push myself through any injuries or I just knew I would not be ready...The training was really starting to take momentum and I was really loving it, the people who I trained with were great and very supportive and the coaches pushed us hard but also made the whole thing really enjoyable.  After a few weeks I could really start to feel the difference fitness wise and also our technique was improving greatly, we were all starting to actually look like boxers! 

Finally taking the plunge !

To be honest I nearly didn't, I put it off again and again in fact I even missed the first big meeting at the Unity Gym in Durham....To be honest I think it was a mix of nerves and not being sure if I could commit fully to it.  Eventually I decided to give it a shot, I text the organiser asking if it was too late for me to take part and luckily it wasn't.  Then had to send in my name and that was it I was added to the group...Scary !!!

I still remember the first day of training, after driving past the gym a couple of times in an attempt to find it I was finally there...As I walked in I think it finally dawned on me what I had actually signed up of cage fighters in posters up the stairs really didn't help the nerves...who was going to be there, I remember hoping for a room of weedy out of shape men who had never thrown a punch in there lives.....  As I Entered....The room was full with around 40 others, mostly men with a few women too.  What was going vision of how everyone would look wasn't totally accurate....

In fact it was kind of the opposite, some very in shape people, I remember seeing Tough Mudder t- shirts and marathon vests....God what was I letting myself in for ! (As I was not particularly prime physique at the time).

Friday, 2 January 2015

Ultra White Collar Boxing

UWCB.... What is it ?  I happened to stumble upon this organisation kind of by accident, think it was when I was just searching for fitness classes on the Internet.  UWCB, stands for Ultra white collar boxing, boxing that is aimed at ordinary people who could be from any background or career with more than likely no boxing experience at all, originally when it first started in New York it drew in a lot of lawyers,bankers and various other white collar professionals, becoming popular in the mid 90's.  The advertisement that I  came across says sign up for 8 weeks free training then fight in front of hundreds of people, whilst raising money for Cancer research....Yeah right, there is always some kind of catch, isn't there always ?

What came next......Signing up