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|
|One of The Everyman Olympian's fists of fury|
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.