As I type this my ribs ache, my legs struggle to move and I am currently constructing a den on the sofa so I don’t have to move much, all I need is a catheter and I’m sorted. This is all due to yesterday morning when I did something stupidly daring, I stepped into a boxing ring.
For the past month or so I have been attending a boxing class designed to boost my upper body as opposed to simply running for exercise. Apparently it’s working, last week I was told I had ‘beefed up’ by a girl who hadn’t seen me since I left Sheffield for Sydney.
While it has been difficult the rigours of the class have improved my pain threshold to the point where after five minutes recovery yesterday I was watching lads sparring against each other in the ring. Apparently my endurance could last a while longer and I was invited for a bout with a friend’s housemate to which I politely smile then decline. It takes some balls to go into the ring and after some mild coercing I have plucked out my gloves from the bin, my head ducks under the ropes and panic sets in.
Boxing rings are horribly lonely places. There are no places to hide, no-one to call for help and no policemen at hand should someone punch you square in the face. For such a confined space it feels a whole lot emptier when you are inside. A few steps back and you know your next will find the rope and that is the last place you want to lean. You feel naked by exposure as your body is a wandering, dancing target. This is not a place to hide but to man up and face confrontation.
I have never been in a fight in my entire life which is as remarkable as it is mystifying. By now my razor sharp tongue should have led to fisticuffs but now I am tapping gloves and dancing around the ring trying to work out how to land a punch. It looks so easy on the telly yet when you are eyeballing someone who wants to hit you there are so many things to consider –
Try to keep your opponent guessing and move in anticipation. Your left foot should lead while your right needs to keep in step and planted should you try to land a telling blow.
Which areas of my torso am I exposing and how is my opponent going to hit them? How can I manoeuvre my body to ensure any punches do not land full and true? Questions, questions, questions.
If my opponent decides to attack I have to be ready but this is also a great opportunity to get in my own attack. If they aim for my chest I can turn and land a blow to their exposed ribs.
Size up your opponent. Judge their movement, reach and position early on. Try to spot their exposed areas and work out their combinations so you can work out how to combat them and land your own blows.
The clock is ticking and every movement matters. One step in the wrong direction and your opponent could spot a chance to land a telling hit so you have to keep focused. Keep your eyes on your opponent and react to every movement whether defending or moving in to attack.
Work around your opponent and resist taking a step back. Try to stay on your toes but do not knacker yourself out by simply moving to evade punches, that allows your opponent to reserve their energy and catch you when you are weary.
We only go for one minute rounds yet a combination of dancing feet and throwing punches has knocked me out after three. Still, at least I have thrown a punch.