Partner Boxing training is heating up!

Our very own Steve Hamilton shares his thoughts from the latest Partner Boxing training session...

After a stuttered start to prep for Partner Boxing on 14th March, training is starting to get real this week. It’s a balmy 3 degrees, the weather man says it’s due to start snowing at 7, it’s 6:15pm, and it’s time to go to the local tarmac football pitch for a beep test.

Nerves set in as this is the first true comparison to your peers. Our boxing coach, Scotty, explains it’s a personal test. Bench mark. Though everyone is looking.

Who will they beat? Who do they want to beat? This translates very quickly to, who do they want to fight, who don’t they want to fight?

Beep, beep, deep.
Doing all right, hold my own. Dodgy ankle holding up ok.
Beep, beep, beep. Some are falling back, but I’m still turning in the first few. Happy.
Beep, beep, beep. Now some are being called out.
Knees are feeling it, but still comfortable.
Beep, beep, beep. Here comes the pain!
Using the guy in front as a pacer now. I’m cool, just need to stay with him!
Beep, beep, beep. Just made those!!!
More out.
Legs are fine, but the lungs are burning.
Beep, beep, beep.
First two missed and on my last life. Gotta push now.
Two more and I’m out.
Knees are burning, ankle now aching from the constant pounding of tarmac and the relentless turns.
8.6. Is that good? Who knows!!
Only time will tell.

We’ll be retested in a couple of weeks and that’s when we’ll know how the training is really going.

“Right!! Jog back, wraps and gloves on. Time for a Tabata workout on the bags!”

I’m feeling great about this, I’ve been working the bag in the garage for the past month, so I’ve got a feel for the punch and the weight of a bag. WRONG! Obviously, I’ve been punching the kid’s teddy bears!

This was a whole different thing. Seriously heavy bag! Three on a bag, during the rest period between intervals your dancing on your toes! By the end, my 3 year old nephew could throw a better punch!

“You and you. Together. You and you. Together. You and you. Together.
You and you. Together. Body sparring, let’s go!” say Scotty.

I still haven’t got my breathe back from the bags. Now I’m being encouraged to punch a complete stranger. I haven’t been in a fight since I was 15 – and that was with my brother. Now, I’m going 3 rounds with someone who I have absolutely no reason to punch. I look in his eyes and see a mirror of the same feeling. ‘Good, it’s not just me’

Technique: on your toes; hands up, guard up. Jab to measure distance.
‘Too close.’
Jab again. ‘That feels about right’. Jab, jab, punch.
All blocked, but feeling better. Still awkward, but more confident.
Stranger now throws. Comfortable blocks.
This carries on for what felt like a few minutes, then a few punches start landing. I’m taking them too.
No one is at 100%, but it’s good to know what a punch feels like.

Then a deflection off the shoulder lands on the jaw. Not sure what it sounded like on the outside, but all I heard was a metallic ding, like the ringing of a small bell like my Nan used to have. Everyone stops. Looks over…I check my jaw. It’s all good (thankfully)!

“Control it boys!”

“Time to re-pair, 3 more rounds!”

This time it’s a whole different kettle of fish. I’m paired with the fittest looking guy in the gym and he’s throwing a more solid punch. Some of the real boxing locals are watching us. Probably laughing, but I’m at full attention.

Technique: on your toes; hands up, guard up. Jab to measure distance.
Distance good, but now the shoulders are burning and it’s harder to
keep the guard up!
Punches in. Landing each way, good blocks each way.
Feeling good about the spar, but shattered by the session.
Ooooughhhhhhhhh, sternum hit, wind out. Bent!! Funny thing is it doesn’t hurt. You just can’t breathe in.
Good hit!! After a couple of seconds, it’s time to finish strong. All thoughts of technique gone (hope Scotty isn’t reading this).
Just box for the last 30 seconds… ding, ding.

Wow!! Session over. Lungs are burning, arms are wobbly. Jaw, not sore, but I can feel it. Sternum, the same. This probably reads like I took a beating, but this is only my side of the story. You’ll need to talk to the others, but I genuinely feel I held my own.

All in all, a great session, with a couple of great contenders!! This session is probably “the awakener” to what’s ahead, and to how much work I need to put in. But I’ve got to say, I’m hooked.

Partner Boxing 2019 is in aid of Sports Traider, a charity which supports and encourages disadvantaged and disabled young people through sport. To pledge a donation, please visit Steve’s fundraising page

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