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Fit to Fight: Week 7

With just days to go til she's fighting in the ring, Lucy Fry says boxing has changed her for the better

Mon, 12 Nov 2012 12:22:04 GMT | Updated 1 years today

Week 7, and each morning I wake with a vast, imaginary calendar looming over my head, another day has begun; another day crossed off; just 9,8,7,6… more days until Fight Night. How will I fare under extreme pressure, with up to 1,200 people screaming for or against me? How will my body and brain deal with the inevitable adrenalin pumping through my veins? Am I strong enough, tough enough, focused enough?

 

As I mentioned last week - I get to share these nerve-jangling questions with Georgie - Big G - Banton, also trained by the legendary Cathy Brown (www.cathybrown.co.uk). Brown is both the devil on our shoulder and the bright, shining light that spurs us on.  "Only me!" She'll say gleefully as she's battering us with 'light' shots, far harder and quicker than anybody else in the gym is capable of. Often, during these (Brown's more demonstrative) moments, I find myself either holding back tears of fury and frustration, or, quite simply, wanting to punch her in the nose.

 

I know better than that of course - you don't try and land a jab on a European flyweight champion unless you actually enjoy pain and humiliation - just as I know that this, Brown's application of 'pressure' (hunting us down in the ring for 120 very long seconds) is a labour of true love. In the boxing world this, it seems, is how a coach conveys their affection for their fighters. Essentially it's a case of tough love. Even (especially, perhaps) in our last week of hard training (in Week 8 we'll be tapering), Brown continues to apply and relieve pressure with perfect timing so that we are confident but not cocky; excited but also nervous and, more generally, aware of the whole fight as a unique and beautiful thing, however terrifying it might feel. We've put in so much hard work, she tells us: it's important to try and enjoy (or at least appreciate) the whole experience. To keep fighters aggressive and primed for action, without completely annihilating their calm, is, I'd imagine, not easy. I think, however, that so far Brown has managed it, not helped by the appearance in the gym recently of professional boxer (and now contestant on 'I'm a Celebrity, get me out of here'), David Haye who, upon hearing that Big G and I were taking up the challenge of a 'white collar' fight, informed us that it would definitely be 'the worst experience' of our lives. After the initial resentment, fear and fury I felt towards Haye (who was of course only 'joking' - ha bloody ha - but also crushed my confidence by adding that fighting is like 'being chased by a lion' and no amount of sparring can get your ready for it), my gratitude for having Brown as my coach just increased tenfold; I can only imagine what a dribbling wreck I'd be right now had I been coached by Haye for my first fight.

 

On Friday, after our last full-on sparring session, I looked around at the men and women in Soho's The Third Space who have helped me prepare for Fight Night (sometimes with words, but often with an unpleasant thump in the solar plexus) and I felt a surge of pure love. "Thank you for hitting me!" I wanted to shout! "Thankyou for making my nose bleed and jaw go all stiff!" Because it's changed me, and for the better, yes, boxing has changed who I am. It's shown me what I'm capable of enduring; it's reacquainted me with a fire in the belly that I haven't truly felt since I was a child, running around, beating up boys in the playground, aged 4, and it's reminded me, yet again, of the power of the mind which, when turned to good use, can achieve the seemingly impossible.

 

As far as I'm concerned, anybody who steps into the ring after weeks, months or years of training, is a winner already. I wonder how many hours I've spent in the boxing ring, preparing for this night. At a guess, I'd say that by the time Fight Night arrives, it'll be about 150 hours. I'm hoping it's enough to make me the victor, but who knows. Of course I'd like to win the fight on Friday, but I know that really, it's not important and all that matters is this: I am going to give my three rounds in the ring every single shred of every last sliver of every tiny ounce of… everything I've got… (and then, I'm going to send a letter via ITV1 to David Haye in the jungle and tell him he was wrong).

 

Fight night is 16November 2012. To buy tickets (£25, £35 or £45), contact: fightformind@yahoo.com

 

If you want to sponsor Lucy (all the money raised goes to MIND), please visit www.justgiving.com/frylucy

 

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