Sportblog: Learning to box part three

Worksop Guardian Sports Editor Graham Smyth training at boxing club Manton ABA.  Pictured with Senior Coach, Harry Watson.
Worksop Guardian Sports Editor Graham Smyth training at boxing club Manton ABA. Pictured with Senior Coach, Harry Watson.

WHAT I’m gaining from boxing sessions at Manton ABC is, to me, priceless.

After just a few weeks my weight is down, I’m feeling fitter, I feel part of the club and I’ve been inspired to up my own amount of exercise away from the gym.

Yet the 90-minute lessons are costing me just £1 a time.

The club is community minded and aware of the factors that put people off joining sports organisations.

It’s no wonder some of the parents are so keen to drop their cherubs off at the Retford Road facility on Monday, Wednesday and Friday nights.

At hardly any cost their kids are learning a sport that will give them self discipline, self esteem and physical health.

In the ‘financial climate’ not everyone can afford to pay £30 plus per month for gym or club fees.

My financial outgoings for boxing since the start of this blog have amounted to around a tenner.

I wonder what price my wife would put on my new and improved figure. Probably less than that.

Moving swiftly on, the highlight of this week’s session was being let loose on the punchbags to try out the things I’ve learned so far.

Before that came the mandatory and gruelling circuit to warm up, although some of the lads went a bit ‘David Haye’ with various injuries cropping up.

Then it was skipping. I’m getting better, ever so slowly, but better. Watching some other newcomers, I’m not the worst at skipping. But I’m a long way from doing that fancy crossing manouevre.

After the skipping we shadow boxed, practising moving forward towards the giant mirror to throw punches.

Coach Dean Eshelby reckons it’s a good way to keep an eye on your posture and form, and not just a vanity exercise. For me it just reminded me of how much summer boxing sessions make me perspire.

Footwork is something about the sport that fascinates me, especially when a fighter uses his feet to find an angle of attack or make evasive movements.

It’s not, however, something I can see myself doing well just yet.

For now, moving forward and not letting my feet come together is enough to contend with.

To finish the evening some of the juniors were put through their paces for an upcoming exhibition. A number got into some sparring.

Myself and others were told to do rounds on the punchbags.

So I ran through the combinations that Dean has been teaching me on the pads, trying to vary them and add extra punches.

It’s hard work when you’re not that fit, hitting a bag for two minute rounds.

But I imagine it’s even harder work when the thing you’re trying to hit then hits you back. I took a few seconds to observe two younger lads sparring. Their movement and skill seems lightyears ahead of what I can do.

‘Walk before you run,’ is my new motto.

And right now, I’m just happy that I’m walking, whatever the pace.

Jab, jab, hook. Jab, jab, right to the body. Parry, right cross. Slowly I’m building a repertoire.

My last thought for the week is this - I’m well and truly hooked (sorry).

On an evening this week when I could have been flicking the channels, I was on YouTube looking at different methods for wrapping my hands.

I took an extra interest in the Haye and Klitschko’s bout, or as much interest as one can take when a big Russian is making our British ‘hero’ look silly.

And I spend quite a lot of the time between sessions at Manton looking forward to the next one.

Conversely, when Dean is yelling ‘Faster, not good enough, do it properly, 10 press ups,” I’m wishing I was anywhere else.

That one line will probably earn me 20 press ups. Maybe I need a toe injury...