Sunday, April 11, 2010

April 10th

Day of the fight.

Breakfast: Loads of oatmeal with honey
Lunch: Chicken lasagne and chips
Pre-fight: A stress-filled few mouthfuls of noodles, half an oat bar
Post-fight: Lamb, mash, veg. Beer, Jaegermeister, champagne (thanks Matt Edwards!), Margarita (thanks Matt Harrison!)

Good times. Beer tastes superb after 4 months.

Warmup: Nervous skipping, nervous shadowing, nervous pad work
Fight: 3 x2 minutes.

Okay, the day itself:

1. Woke up pretty early, no way I was going to get back to sleep.
2. We went shopping to get me something to wear after the fight and take my mind off everything. Worked quite well.
3. Got stressed around lunch, all short tempered and irritable. Didn't feel like eating, but was forced (rightly) to eat something.
4. Played a bunch of computer games and ate a bit more, getting more and more wound up.
5. Got 'good luck' phone calls from Shirley and Mike, Andy, Aileen and Olivia. Was great to hear from them.
6. Kirsty drove me down to the venue, and I saw the set-up for the first time. That helped with the nerves. Saw all the other guys in the dressing room, pacing and chatting, and that helped a bit more.
7. Went through a rehearsal of coming down to the ring for the parade and what to do when our fight is called. Amazing set up, silhouette screens, drums, fireworks, smoke machines, lasers. Unbelievable.
8. Sat in the dressing room listening to my ipod, reading my book and notes, and trying to stay hydrated and relaxed.
9. Did the boxer parade, we all waited back stage until they told us to go to the ring. Made our way in slowly, massive cheering and yelling from the crowd. It was amazing to see the huge ballroom full, and everyone so excited to see us fight.
10. Just before the first fight went out, I went and did some skipping, then got warmed up with some shadowing and pad work while I waited to be called.
11. Went out to behind the screens at the top of the catwalk, and waited for my cue. Music started and I went down to the ring.
12. Alexis gave me a final few tips and put my headguard and mouthguard, the referee gave us our final instructions and the bell rang for the first round.

Note: I still haven't seen the tape of the fight, so my version is just the best I remember and might not be totally accurate. Once I've seen the video I might revise it all.

ROUND 1: As we thought, Snelly started fast, and I had to cover up and back off as he came steaming in. I managed to catch most of his shots on my gloves, but he landed a few good punches on me. I caught him with a couple of rights as he came in, and landed a few good jabs from the outside, but overall I think the round was pretty even. The main difference was him being very aggressive and me trying to be more conservative with my punches. No doubt he used up a lot more energy than I did, which Alexis and I had thought might happen. We'd hoped that he'd tire before me, and I'd score better in the second and third. Despite this, I was a little worried by the end of the round that he was just going to keep going.

In the corner Alexis told me that I needed to throw more punches, especially rights, but that I was doing pretty well, guarding myself and landing well. The main message was that I needed to carry on doing what I was doing; trying to catch him on the way in with my right, and jab from the outside the rest of the time.

ROUND 2: Snelly came out quick again, but slowed down quickly. I was feeling good and starting to find the range with my jab. I carried on doing what I was doing before, counterpunching him on the way in or covering up so he just hit my gloves. I landed more often from the outside as well, jabbing through his guard. I landed a 1-2 about half way though the round that made him drop his guard and forced a standing eight count. I got quite a bit of confidence from that and came forward more. I landed some good shots towards the end of the round.

In the corner Alexis asked me if I was feeling fit. I felt fine, I hadn't gone nuts with wild punches so I still had a lot of energy. I didn't sit down between 2 and 3, just stayed on my feet pacing and bouncing. The talk was to just carry on doing what I was doing, but more punches, more combinations while he was tiring.

ROUND 3: Snelly didn't start so fast this time round, but he did try a few combinations early on, and as usual I covered up and took them on the gloves. He seemed really tired by this point, and I landed some really solid rights, including one about a minute in that rocked him right back on his heels, I saw his eyes cross, and the ref gave him another standing eight. I was throwing a lot of punches by this point, not all of them with decent control... Didn't matter to me though, by this point I was feeling really confident and started to really go after him, I chased him around the ring landing some good punches. Finished strong.

After a bit of chat, with the ref holding me and Snelly by the hands, the announcer said "Unanimous..." then "...from Macclesfield..." and I just went nuts. Everyone on my tables started yelling and screaming. Amazing.

We both got presented with medals, and I got a cup trophy. Kirsty came running up to the ring for a hug and kiss, then I went down to my tables for more hugs, handshakes and congratulations. It was so cool to see everyone there, and they were all so happy for me, saying how well I did and how impressed they were. I was just buzzing and bouncing around.

Went back to the dressing room and saw the rest of the guys, they were still worrying about their own fights, but they'd been watching on the dressing room screens and generally thought I'd boxed well. I'd been relying on their feedback all the way through training so it was good to hear what they thought of my real fight.

Showered and headed back to the table to see everyone. I watched the rest of the fights, which were all SUPERB, seriously, I'd go to the event again, even if I didn't know any of the competitors. Drank too much and had a thoroughly awesome night.

I think at this point I should thank everyone who came to support me. They were simply amazing, made loads of noise and made me feel brilliant. They'd got all the tables near them cheering for me as well. The Deutschebank guys who were there supporting Paul Gamble were shouting loud for me apparantly. I met a lot of them afterwards, thoroughly lovely people.

I certainly need to say something about the trainers. Alexis and Andy were amazing all the way through, incredibly patient with all of us, teaching us everything and putting in a lot of their own time for free to get us ready for our fights. Can't thank them enough. From a personal point of view, without the extra training and encouragement from Alexis, I'm certain I wouldn't have won. Ian, Nick, Michelle and everyone else at Vanda deserve a huge thankyou as well, the scale of this event is immense, and they all did a huge amount of work to make it come off without a hitch.

The only other thing to say is about Snelly. On the night I beat him, but he's a talented boxer and an amazing competitor who gave it 100% every second of the training and the fight. It could easily have been different.

I'll make one or two more blog posts in the next few days with lots of links to photos, and if I can write them without sounding too cheesy, some final thoughts on the whole experience.

0 days to go...

Been waiting a while to write that.

April 9th

This is late, very late! However, I'll try to write this as if it was Saturday morning and we can all pretend.

Breakfast: Oatmeal
Mid-morning: Tuna, rice-cake, boiled egg, apple
Lunch: Chilli, rice, steamed veg
Mid-afternoon: Tuna, rice-cake, boiled egg, apple
Dinner: Pasta with a ton of chilli and tomato

Really nervous all day, had to force myself to eat sometimes because I felt sick.


As I said, really nervous. I kept obsessing about my plan for the fight and getting a bit stressed.

1 day to go...

Friday, April 9, 2010

April 8th

Another rest day leading up to the fight, so not a lot to report, apart from being extremely nervous.

Breakfast: Oatmeal, sugar
Mid-morning: Tuna, rice-cake, boiled egg, apple
Lunch: Chilli, rice, steamed veg
Mid-afternoon: Tuna, ricecake, boiled egg, apple
Dinner: German bread with chutney, sausages with sauerkraut

Stick with what works! I’m trying to keep my diet pretty constant leading up to the big night. My brother and his wife arrived today, and we went out for dinner to Brotzeit for dinner.


I’m feeling pretty stressed and nervous, which is only going to get worse the closer we get to the fight. Hopefully I can keep it under control and remember what I’ve been taught in training. As long as I do the basics right I should be fine.

Got final instructions from Andy about what to expect on the night. Turns out we’ve got dressing rooms and so on backstage, so I think I’ll take my iPod and skipping rope to keep me relaxed and warmed up. Also thinking I’ll make myself a crib sheet to remind me what to do: 1) Keep right hand up when you jab 2) Move in, hit and move out. And so on, that’ll give me something to focus on.

It’s so awesome that Neal and Kate have come all the way here to watch me fight, still can’t quite believe they’re here!

2 days to go…

Thursday, April 8, 2010

April 7th

I decided to go with my original rest plan and not go to Vanda for a final session. I want to be totally rested and recovered for the fight on Saturday.

Breakfast: Oatmeal and sugar
Mid-morning: Tuna, ricecake, boiled egg, apple
Lunch: Chilli, rice, steamed veg
Mid-afternoon: Tuna, ricecake, boiled egg, apple
Dinner: Bibimbap (Korean dish with veg, rice and stirfried beef. I made this at home, turned out pretty good)

Still sticking to the diet. I think it's important not to change anything this close to the fight. I also had a few crackers as snacks during the day.

1km swim, alternating breaststroke and crawl.

Just a light workout, didn't want to go too nuts, especially not on my arms or my ankles.

To be honest I'm getting slightly paranoid about injuries at this point, really worried about getting hurt and not being able to fight, letting everyone down and making everything I've been through a waste of time.

I really hope I can just make it to fight night in one healthy peice.

3 days to go...

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

April 6th

Really tired today so I didn’t end up working out.

Breakfast: Oatmeal with sugar
Mid-morning: Tuna, ricecake, boiled egg, apple
Lunch: Chilli, rice, steamed veg
Mid-afternoon: Tuna, ricecake, boiled egg, apple
Dinner: Stirfry beef with egg fried rice (Kirsty made this from a Jamie Oliver recipe, really tasty)

Normal, healthy stuff


I got home from work exhausted, couldn’t face going to the gym.

I’ll probably be at Vanda tomorrow night though for the final session before the fight. So near the end of the road now!

4 days to go...

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

April 5th

Savage workout today, due to a mixup at the gym.

Breakfast: Oatmeal with sugar
Mid-morning: Tuna, rice-cake, boiled egg, apple
Lunch: Chilli, rice, steamed veg
Mid-afternoon: Tuna, rice-cake, boiled egg, apple
Post-workout: Energy drink
Dinner: Caesar salad, beef ribs, mashed potato

Back to normal weekday diet, except I went to Brewerkz after the gym and gorged myself on beef. Nice though.

Warmup: Skipping, 3 x3 minutes, 1 minute rest between sets
Speedbag: 3 x3 minutes quick punches, 1 minute rest between sets
Heavy bag: 3 x3 minute general work, 1 minute between sets
Incline situps: 2 x50
Heavy bag: 6 x 30 seconds quick drills, jabs, then crosses, then punchouts
Circuit 1: 10 pressups, 10 crunches, 10 Russian twists, 10 squat thrusts, 10 burpees, 10 ring jumps, repeat 3 times.
Circuit 2: 10 pressups, 10 crunches, 10 Russian twists, 10 squat thrusts, 10 burpees, 10 ring jumps
Shadowing: 3 x2 minutes, 1 minute rest between sets
Pad work: 1 x2 minutes with a partner, full pace

I was told I needed to finish off some filming I’d missed when I away in Thailand, so I went to the gym an hour early to get it out of the way. I warmed up, and the crew still hadn’t arrived, so I carried on. An hour later and they’re still not ready to shoot me. So basically I did an hour before the normal class, then did the whole class as well.


Still, I managed to do it without dying, which I couldn’t have 12 weeks ago.

5 days to go...

Monday, April 5, 2010

April 4th

Only did a short workout today, more like what I’ll be doing after the fight to keep my fitness up.

Breakfast: Oatmeal, nuts and honey
Mid-morning: Bagel with a little cream cheese
Lunch: Soup with a chickpea and salad wrap
Post-workout: Strawberry milk
Dinner: Cottage pie with baked beans (Kirsty made this, was utterly delicious)
Snack: Chocolate cornetto

I was going along pretty well until the cornetto…

Warmup: Skipping, 3 x2 minutes, 1 minute break between sets
Core: Medicine ball 300
Cardio: Interval rowing, 10 x2 minutes, 1 minute break between sets. Average 2.06 per 500m

The rowing was HARD, especially after the core work. The whole session only took about 45 minutes though, which is ideal for a quick workout in the evening, and it was very intense.

I didn’t do more because it’s less than a week before the fight, I’m about as fit as I’m going to get at this point, and I just need to stay loose.

6 days to go…