We find out what the gruelling regime has done for two of the combatants and how you can follow in their footsteps
Day job: human resources manager
How much training have you had to do for this? Three sessions a week, which are completely boxing related: skipping, push-ups sit-ups, and from there progressed onto sparring. We’ve also been doing some extra sessions, up to about five a week. By the time it comes to the final it’ll be eight weeks of training altogether.
How’s that been? There are times when it’s daunting, like when you get bopped in the nose. It’s a challenge. But it’s good as well because you train as two separate groups, a red team and a blue team, and so it has that team aspect and you get support from each other.
What kind of mental attitude do you adopt before getting in the ring? It comes down to what the trainer has been pushing us towards: remembering your technique. Those who have done well in WCFN are those who remember what they’ve been taught, while those that let aggression overtake them and forget their combinations end up in trouble.
Reckon you can win? I’ve been giving it all that I could, I can go in there and show what I’ve learnt in the last eight weeks. And my opponent is 10 years younger than me too… but I definitely think I’ll be able to get in there and hold my own.
Day job: TV producer
Were you looking for anything when you came into this? I just thought it was the last opportunity I’d have to get really fit. I’m 37 and there’s not many years left when you can really put your body through this sort of training.
Have noticed any big changes in your fitness? Nothing obvious. But I certainly feel a bit more… well… to be honest, I feel tired. Ask me after the final. I felt fresher a few weeks ago, but now that I think all of us are just tired. I’m fairly active anyway and I did the marathon in January so it’s not as if I came into this cold and really unfit. But I’d never thrown a punch before…
Really? How was that? Well, it’s actually more strange getting hit. We spent a few weeks training and I forgot that we were actually gong to be fighting. Once that started it was a whole different ball game. It started off very nerve wracking but it’s got better and better really.
Got a entrance tune yet? Chumbawumba, I think. ‘Tupthumping’ [of the ‘I get knocked down’ fame]
Reckon you can win? Have you taken a look at your opponent? I think I’ve done enough training to say, yeah I’ll do all right. The other guy’s a lot younger than me, and he’s a bit bigger. Before I even did this I thought: If I just give a good account of myself then I’ll be happy. As long as I’m not swinging wild punches and exhausted, then I’ll have come out OK.
Do you think you’ll carry on when it’s over? I’ll carry on the boxing training but I’m not going to fight. It’s a 45 minute intensive session and after that you’ve got your whole day free. I’m not going to run the marathon again, that’s for sure. That was a lot more difficult than this.
Getting Box Fit
Never has the adage ‘no pain, no gain’ been truer than Physical Advantage’s Box Fit workout. Nor has an exercise session taken four (yes, that’s four) days to recover from. Saying that, we’re not the fittest and this twice-a-week, hour-long course is more intense than a room full of beardy existentialists. It’s also remarkably addictive and recovery times, thankfully, subside to more acceptable levels once you’ve gotten over the initial shock of fast-paced push-ups, sit-ups and – most importantly – jabs, uppercuts and other boxing exercises.
Set post-sunset on the Palm Jumeirah on an otherwise calming beach, Box Fit is more about dramatically enhancing your fitness than training would-be pugilists. You won’t become Pac-Man overnight, but these intensive sessions are proven to improve aerobic and anaerobic capacity, tone the upper and lower body and help with weight loss. Head down with a sparring partner who doesn’t mind seeing you at your sweatiest, don the cushioned gloves with the rest of the group and prepare for a gruelling workout from the expert trainers. You’ll feel it tomorrow, and possibly the day after, but you’ll be amazed at the results. Alex Ritman Box Fit, Monday and Wednesday 7.30pm, The Shoreline Apartments Beachfront – Azrak Clubhouse Beach. Dhs100 for one session, Dhs600 for eight. www.physicaladvantage.ae.
What is WCFN?
White Collar Fight Night pits amateur boxers against each other. With some having never put on a pair of boxing gloves in their lives prior to training, the real test is which of the two teams respond best to the intensive regime they adopt in the two months preceding the final event.
White Collar Fight Night IV falls on May 15, Habtoor Grand. Tickets are available from Rachael Ricketts on 050 625 7359.