Thursday, 26 July 2012

Boxing Training: Fighting Fat

Yesterday afternoon I finally found an amateur gym close to home and within just a few hours after chatting with Mick Buck, the Club Secretary, I arrived at Southend Amateur Boxing Club to find my hunch was true - this would be an excellent place to train and complete The Boxing Challenge.

Coach Buck, Coach Canon, Steve Harris and President Eddie welcomed me in warmly, though all seemed suitable bemused by my plans to train with them over the coming weeks before a full sparring session with my big-haired pal Gorgeous George.

Gorgeous George (formerly just George) and I had met whilst team mates for Brentwood Handball Club. While I knew him to be a passionate sportsman and lover of both Handball and Cricket, I also knew him to be short tempered, tall heighted and fuzzy haired. He'd have advantages of height and reach on me while I'd guess we were similar weight when I last saw him.

Back in the gym...once I'd become a fully paid up member I was introduced to Junior Coach Steve Condon by the wonderfully voiced (think Lenny MacLean) President Eddie. Coach Condon instantly introduced me to a form of exercise I'd never tried in my life: skipping.

While the gym began to bustle with boxers of various sizes, Coach Condon began the group training session with a thorough skipping session which was broken only by sets of ten press-ups per 'round'. For the most part I tried to get to grips with the delicate intricacies of coordinating looping rope with jumping man; I've got to say that being able to skip as well as the lads is now one of my top priorities...I was rubbish at it.

Next I learnt the classic boxers stance, followed quickly by how to jab and hook, then I tried to mimic Coach Condon's excellent footwork as he demonstrated how to move correctly; the aim being to maintain balance and a strong stance whilst manoeuvring around an opponent who's eager to put you on your backside.

Clearly I was doing OK for a first timer, as my hands were then strapped and Coach Condon boiled up the kettle to fit my gum shield - these good folk waste no time in finding out if you have the metal, after donning gloves, groin and head protectors I was in the ring and learning how to spar, or rather 'being moved around' by Club Captain and classy heavyweight Gary Daley.

My first piece of Boxing kit: a gum shield from Geezers Palace
I took my first few jabs to the face and head in this session, albeit very light ones from a boxer who'll be prominent on the UK Boxing scene next year - President Eddie told me this, and you don't mess with him.

One of The Everyman Olympian's fists of fury
Coach Daley was excellent at showing me the ropes, and even took me through the 'warm down' exercise routine afterwards even though the gym was now nearly empty.

My first training session for The Boxing Challenge was ace. If you live in South East Essex and want to join a top boxing gym I can't recommend Southend Amateur Boxing Club enough.


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