In anticipation of the returning Fight Night II, a white-collar boxing event on March 31st, a fancy girl like me cut her Maldives trip short for exclusive behind the scenes access to the training zone. What a night it is going to be! Fourteen Dubai seasoned executives including two female brave hearts have traded their business dinners at Roberto’s for an opportunity to physically interact with one another face-to-face, surrounded by a roaring crowd and yelling coaches. Great news, the event is free to attend and will take place at the Round 10 Gym at 2pm on March 31st in Dubai. Exciting!
Not wanting to admit what a complete idiot I am in connection to boxing or any competitive sports (my last attempt with Muay Thai failed due to a lack of aggressiveness), I turned my desperate eyes to Hollywood, a trusted source of reliable information. From the adventures of Sherlock Holmes, a talented amateur boxer, I studied Kubrick’s Raging Bull followed by unbreakable Rocky. However, it was Gigi Hadid’s defence strategy during Milan Fashion Week that convinced me to jump into my favourite Zumba outfit, tie my hair in a quick chignon and put on some bright long-lasting lipstick prior to committing to an hour of live trial.
“Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place, and I don’t care how tough you are, it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. Nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep on moving forward; how much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done! Now, if you know what you’re worth, then go out and get what you are worth. But you gotta be willing to take the hits…” Rocky’s alarming voice was looping in my ears again and again as I made my glamorous entrance to the Warehouse Gym reception. My first sweat appeared a few seconds later when I shook hands with Roy, the technical coach of the Fight Night Team who unlike me was chill and confident. After Roy promise not to hurt me, I was ready to take the hit.
The training started with a warm-up followed by an intense three-rounds skipping routine. “Side to side, faster, knees higher”. Joe’s voice was lost on me as I struggled to produce five decent skips in a row. Everyone around me seemed absolutely fine, skipping like pros. Joe, the Fight Night fitness coach continued to be very nice, not yelling for extra push-ups like the movies.
When sparring began, I did what I do the best – giggled and batted my eyes to avoid participation at any cost. The fighters in front of me were engaged in an incredible boxing waltz, mixing rapid steps with sleek shoulder moves and sneaky defence strategies. I couldn’t believe these were the freshmen who started their first boxing class at the end of January this year.
I was mesmerised until someone tapped me on the shoulder and pointed at resting gloves. “I’m Frank, let’s get you started,” and that was an offer I couldn’t refuse. Frank, was a tough looking guy with the most charming smile. He helped me with gloves, moved my feet apart, stretched and curled my arms in a defensive position. In a matter of minutes, we were practising the basics: “one” and “two”, (“three” was a challenge). Needless to say, my glam had faded away.
During short breaks I noticed how dedicated and focused the whole Fight Night crew was. I was the only one out of breath, quietly sobbing in a corner with my long lasting lipstick smeared all over my face. The fighters were constantly on the move, from bags to sparring and back to the bags.
The last part of the training was mat power exercises. Joe gathered us in a circle so there was no change of sneaking out. Without escape, I dove into rounds of burpies, high jumps, full body crunches and some other painful moves. Believe it or not, I survived!
It was a real pleasure to chat with the crew who didn’t have a single laugh at my ridiculous attempts to beat them at their game. With the attitude of real champions, they were supportive, encouraging and helpful. I really can’t wait to see them in the ring. Are you gonna be there? Do come to say hi if you see me.
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