Apologies for the delay in posting this update on the fight – I was awaiting the official photos to come out but as yet they still haven’t been released.
The fight night came so quickly after writing my last post as did the nerves. I don’t recall being as nervous the first time I took part in a boxing event, in fact, I don’t think i have ever been this nervous as I was that morning.
I think it might of had something to do with finally finding out who I was going to be fighting. During our final training session on the Wednesday before the fight, we got to see who the trainers had paired us up against. They had decided to also call us out in fight order which was a relief for me as I was keen to see at what point during the night i would be fighting. I didn’t have to wait long, I was fight number 3 and as they called my name out…. In the red corner, we have Chris “The Hammer” Wright – i got a bit of stick for this as i had been pestering the coaches on who i was fighting for weeks. In fact, i might have got a bit of a cheer as my name got called out because all my fellow fighters knew about my keenness to find out who it was going to be. The thing is, I personally believe I would be better prepared knowing who I was fighting sooner than I did. Don’t ask me why, but its something I felt strongly about hence the constant asking.
Any way, they continued….. and he will be fighting…. (This was the point the nerves kicked in. I had kind of guessed based on skill, fitness, age and weight who it was but there was also a couple of contenders for the slot. Either way, i was delighted to finally know. )
Mark “Old man” Wilson was announced.
WE FACED OFF – Mark was certainly one of the more serious among those there. He also had a reputation for liking a good scrap. Mark was a bit older than me, 47 i believe but he was also most certainly fitter.
I know that on the night it would either come down to punches landed or sheer will to win!
So this was it, the line up was announced and the teams were given their running order. There were some interesting match ups and everyone was excited to see how the night would pan out… guesses on who was going to win the bouts already started to flow among the team.
Admittedly, the nerves had started to set in and I was thinking of what game plan to work with during the fight. At the same time, I still had a couple of things to organise for my entrance. We had been asked to make them as flamboyant as possible but I had decided to go for a more traditional entrance.
I had picked my song – “Cant Touch This” by MC HAMMER – certainly a classic and part of the decision to go with “HAMMER” for my nick name. I had even got it on a black and gold gown (typical ROCKY colours).
We had been asked to arrive at 3pm on the Saturday and help get set up before guests started arriving at 7pm. It seemed like hours but went really quickly. The venue was a local theatre in Northampton. I didn’t quite realise how big it was until we got there….. The view from the stage and the back of the room didn’t help with the nerves that’s for sure.
We got used to the environment, got given our kit and had a run through of the evening. People started to arrive and the atmosphere started to get exciting. We moved up to our changing room and started to get ready for a team picture – see below
A lot of effort had gone into the planning for the night and we all certainly looked the part. Nerves continued to rack up as the first fight started. Remembering i was third fight on, I started to get ready, warming up bit of skipping and some pad work. Nothing too heavy that’s for sure.
It came to me – the runner came to get me and took me to the entrance where i was coming in. (about half way up in the seats) We had to walk down, through the VIP area and up onto the stage. As soon as I walked out and started to hear the music, notice the crowds of people and head towards the stage, the nerves started to drop. I certainly enjoy this part of the night, the experience of walking out is simply electrifying.
I got to my corner man and took off the gown revealing my shorts and bare chest. Gloves on, head guard on, mouth guard in and off we go. The referee checked us over first and called us to the middle of the ring. We touched gloves and heard the bell. Its probably a good point to mention here that I did come up with a game plan. As mentioned, i knew Mark was going to be wanting a scrap so I had decided to attempt to move around the ring counter punching his attacks. It is fair to say, this plan went out of the window quite early on!
Mark did come forward and was throwing a barrage of punches, most of which landing on my head. I ducked and dodged where possible and threw my own attacks on him where possible. Marks fitness was superior to mine for sure, he just kept going! The end of round one came and i realised at this point i was in for a real battle. The corner man gave some suggestions for the next round and although i could hear them, it was a different thing putting things into practice. The 2nd round started and off we went again, exchanging blow for blow in the middle of the ring. Ten seconds in, i landed a solid right hand on Marks chin and he went down onto his knee! I was sent to a mutual corner and to be honest, was glad of the rest. We were told by the ref that any knock down meant we had won or lost that round automatically. This was going through my head and i am sure it would have been through Marks too. Mark got his eight count from the ref, checked he was ok to carry on and off we went again. Its fair to say the rest of the round was equally as tough as the first. Marks engine and will to win kept him going regardless of being dropped earlier on in the round.
Round three! The final round.
By this point, I was literally exhausted – I knew I had two more minutes to get through and being a round up for sure meant i was in with a real chance. The momentum of the previous rounds continued into the third and further exchanges took place. “go to the body!” my corner shouted as Mark and i were caught up on the ropes. We were exhausted but neither of us wanted to loose this, not in front of over 500 people. The final bell went and it was over. I spat out my gum shield and rested on the ropes. I didnt take any notice of what was going on, nor did I see the compare approach me asking for a quote. I was literally on my last legs but remembering what we were there for, to raise money for charity, i managed to rustle up some words.
The judges cards are in….
judge one – Red corner (me)
Judge two – Blue corner (Mark)
Judge three – Draw!
As the announcer gave the verdict, i realised i had done enough to not in fact loose this fight, the knock down in round two helped this for sure.
A Draw was the outcome – was it fair, I think so. I know some people said i should have won but equally i know some will have said it was Marks fight. Either way, we didn’t loose. We didn’t leave feeling disappointed and although we were both feeling sore its fair to say we done ourselves proud. I had raised a fair bit for the charity and continued the night with a few well deserved beers and junk food.
Will i be doing it again next year? We shall see…… maybe just maybe there might be a rematch!