Fight No 3 Back in the ring

After battling with nerves over my first 2 fights, what on earth would possess me to step into the ring a 3rd time? My motivation for my first fight was always that I wanted to be able to practice what I preach.  How could I call myself a boxing instructor if I’ve never even been in the ring myself? Self confidence is always something I’ve struggled with however I’ve been fortunate to have an amazing coach who believes in me and encouraged me to take my skills into the ring. My trainer, Mark Drummond at Drum Spartans is genuinely the best coach anyone could ask for. Over the past few years we really have gone through blood, sweat + tears to get me prepared. Mark has pushed me to limits I didn’t think were possible giving me the strength and confidence to go out and fight.

Although I got a win on my first fight, I was not happy with my performance, I knew I could do better.  In my next fight I wanted to prove I could really box and show my skills.   I lost that fight because I didn’t believe in myself.  I told myself I hadn’t trained for it and my opponent was bigger than me therefore I didn’t really expect to win.  Whether you think you can or you think you can’t you are generally right!  My latest battle was not only in the ring but in overcoming my demons of self doubt.  Here’s my diary of how I got there.

 November 2013 – The date is set

The first thing was to set a date.  I’m always a believer that once you voice what you set out to achieve then there’s no going back. For some reason I always have to do what i say I will no matter whether I want to or not! After watching The Drum Spartans boys put on a great show in November (and feeling somewhat left out of the action!) I agree that I will fight in the next show in Feb.  The date is set Feb 21st.  It’s a few months away so doesn’t seem quite real yet and besides maybe they won’t be able to find me a match (I secretly hope!).

Jan 2013 5 weeks to go

Post Christmas and holiday I now only have 5 weeks to get prepared. Already the doubts are starting to creep in.  The voice in my head is already telling me its not enough time…I’ll never be ready.  My coaches and I plan a training schedule that involves runs, sparing and technique work.    Although I’m never really out of fitness, ring fitness is different. I’m out of practice with sparring and desperately need to get the ring. Weekends are now booked up with training. A large part of my fear is not having the stamina to get through the rounds.  If I can get my fitness up I know this will help my confidence.  Luckily the amazing former world champion Romana Anselmiova has agreed to help me with my training.  We arrange weekly Friday night sparring sessions.  The first session goes to plan and I come out feeling confident that I’ve survived 5 rounds with Romi.  Little did I know she was taking it easy on me to ease me in. Week number 2, she steps things up and it starts to go downhill from there.  I am iniolated  in every round. Romana is relentless and I can barely manage to throw a punch.  I am full of self doubt and want to pull out. How I am ever going to be ready? I desperately need more sparring partners but now it’s only 3 weeks to the fight.

Feb 2013 – 3 weeks to go

Thanks to the encouragement and belief of my coaches, my training picks up.  As I spar with different people my confidence starts to build.  I have some ridiculously tough sparring sessions, my head aches from taking some hard punches to the head.  Each time I get through another session though I come out feeling stronger.   I am focused and must continue to push myself.  Before i made excuses, telling myself training was too hard and I was tired, limitations that were all in my head. I push past these now. I discover a resilience I didn’t know I had and turn up for every session, no matter how late it us or how tired I am. Every session is valuable to get me prepared, no more complaints.  My fitness has greatly improved through the weekly running sessions.  I love the discipline that training to fight has given me.  Training is my ultimate priority now. I have also been careful to give my body the right nutrition and I now have a great excuse for not drinking on the weekends.  I don’t even like alcohol but often weaken under peer pressure and have one or two drinks which results in me feeling sluggish for days.  The discipline has helped me drop previously stubborn body fat. Without even thinking about losing weight, I am probably in the best shape of my life.  Training as a team and watching the other fighters push themselves to their limits has made me believe I can also push harder.

 

2 weeks to go

The week before the fight I have some of my best sparring sessions.  I feel strong and ready to fight then and there. I think, eat and sleep boxing.  before I go to sleep I am running through combinations in my head.  Even as I fall asleep I feel my arms are twitching, throwing punches as I doze off! I am running on adrenalin and am now worried I’m going to burn out before the fight! The last thing I want is to crash, I want to just keep going.  I’m afraid that if I stop I will lose the momentum and I will forget my skills! One of the hardest things I find with boxing is the concentration it requires.  I find it easier when I completely absorb myself in it.  However I also know that now I need to rest to get my body ready for the big night.

1 week to go – No going back!

The week leading up to the fight and my fear is back and stronger than ever.  The internal dialogue of self doubt is again going on in my head. What if I’m not good enough? What if I freeze and forget everything on the day?  What if my opponent is better, has been training harder? Will it really be that bad if I don’t show up I ask myself? Surely people will forgive, they’ll understand I’m just not cut out for this right? Of course that’s not really an option, I could never let down my coaches who’ve put so much tremendous time and effort into my training. Not to mention their belief in me.  So I pull myself together and remember how much I want this and how hard I’ve worked.  Want it more I tell myself.  At the end of the day this is a battle of wills and mine is stronger.  And it all pays off in the ring as I push myself through 3 grueling rounds. I make mistakes, I drop my hands and forget most of my strategies but I keep pushing forward and my work rate carries me through.  The hard work has paid off and I get my reward with a win!  The feeling is priceless……..