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  • Writer's pictureDexter Hastings

Boxers in Lockdown

As we enter the second month of the Covid 19 lockdown the Birmingham Boxing Column have contacted some of the Boxing talent from Birmingham and the Black country to see how the lockdown has affected them.

The first fighter to reply was the ‘Baby Face Assassin’ Amy Timlin, I asked you former multiple kickboxing champion how she felt when the lockdown was announced and all the gyms and boxing shows where closed and cancelled. The young fighter told me “when the lockdown first began I started feeling really negative and down, I'm not going to lie i was finding it really difficult but in the past 2 weeks I've been training hard and I'm very happy again. I’m the happiest I've been in a while and I'm just staying positive as much as I can”.

My next question to Amy was, how have you been keeping you fitness up over the lockdown? She told me “I've been training at home 2 times a day and running 4 to 5 miles a day just to keep myself active and keep my mind positive and busy. So even though the gyms are shut I'm still grafting really hard, I'm staying prepared and ready for when this is all over’. Amy continued “I've been doing strength and conditioning now which I wouldn’t normally do but my step dad has been getting me stronger during the lockdown for whenever I fight next. I've been fighting off natural power in recent fights but now I feel myself getting stronger due to the strength training which will only benefit me when I fight”.

My final question to the young fighter was now the lockdown is starting to ease has she got any news on a fight date? Amy said “I'm not too sure just yet about a fight date, I'm just waiting on a call from my manager Dave and whenever him and my coach Kieran says I'm fighting I'll be ready! This is why I've been grafting as hard as I have recently because as soon as I get told I've got a fight lined up I'll be more than ready and I know I've cut no corners even at home”.

I then asked the same questions to ‘The Scorpion’ Shaun Cooper, when I asked him about the lockdown he said “When I found out lockdown was happening I was gutted as I had trained hard for my next fight with my new coach Martin Gethin, we had a good plan ahead to beat Ishmael and then move to fight for the Midlands against the winner of Kash and who he was fighting against”. When asked about the gyms closing and how he has been training he said “I was gutted about the gyms being shut i was thinking what am I goner do with my self know the gyms are closed but you have to adapt and carry on. I still do the same training, the only thing I cant do is the pads and stuff but running shadow boxing bags and circuits! I was also going to be having a Strength and Conditioning coach for it from blackcountry therapy and conditioning

but obviously the covid 19 screwed it up”.

When asked about any fight new he said “no I haven’t herd any news yet, I would want the fight to be the same with Ishmael where ever it is as it will be a good fight”. Cooper finished by saying “I like to thank my sponsors who still continuing there support through this lockdown! Dp building and property services. Simmons pork scratching Taundry doors Peaky barber, Le Bakery and Webbs construction”.

Unbeaten fighter Ryan Hatton was next to reply, he told the Column he said “being off work has helped me capitalise on training more and for longer, I have relocated 400m from my boxing gym so I will be able to keep up with the same graft when the boxing season starts again and I’m back working”.

Hatton continued “I’m Trying To stay productive and enjoy my training although I’ve got no fight news, I’m going to make sure I’m ready when I get the call, I'm going to make some statements when I’m back”.

Former British Light Heavyweight challenger Ricky Summers also replayed and said “To be fair it’s been good for me as I haven’t been working much so been living more like a full time pro training just once a day eating good foods and spending good time with my mrs and kids. The things I’ve been doing are a lot like the things I do at the gym as I’ve got my own gym so it’s been good, the only things I’ve been missing is the pads and sparring”. Summers finished with “In terms of fight news I’m mandatory for the English so hopefully I can be fighting for that before the years out but I would happily take bigger fights if they came along. Thing that I have started doing is a lot of cycling which I didn’t do before, I bought myself a bike and been really enjoying it also it’s been keeping my weight down”.

Cogan's Corner fighter Nathan Bendon replied with thrs he said “When lockdown happened I was gutted as my fight with Conah Walker was cancelled which was for an area title and the chance to avenge my loss against him previously. I’ve been running and Doing some home workouts while lockdown is on but I really miss sparring, there’s nothing like a good competitive spar”.

Bendon finished with “No there is no news of a fight yet but hopefully me and Conah can get it on as soon as possible I’m ready to go”.

“The Slugger” Matt Sen also replied and told the Column “I think everything came as a bit of a shock to everyone to be completely honest with you. No one has ever seen or heard of anything like this before and no one ever thought we would experience anything like this in our lifetime”.

“With the Gyms closed and shows getting cancelled, I was gutted. I’d finally got a chance at moving forward towards this Midlands Title which I've been waiting so long for this shot”.

“Firstly Dilly Singh pulls out of an eliminator, then I get a shot at Ant Woolery in my home town again for a Midlands eliminator and Corona hits. Frustrating isn’t the word!”.

Matt continued “To be honest I just want to fight, get past Ant to get at Rhasian Earlington for this Midlands who I believe is number 1 for it at the moment.

I think it will be a good fight to make, frustrating I have to do an eliminator first but I guess it is what it is”.

“Regarding training I’m one of the lucky few I guess, I have a set up at home that can keep me active, so been training at home but as you know its not the same as being in the gym or having someone smash you in the face daily. Question is can you miss being punched in the face. Answer is yes!”

“I've been working a lot more on footwork and head movement trying not to rely on toughness and taking shots so lets see how that plans out in fights to come”,

Matt finish by saying “No news on fights as yet but I honestly don’t see anything happening this side of December if I'm completely honest. I can see top level boxing on TV bills potentially starting up again but don’t see how some of the smaller promoters can afford to run shows and pay fighters etc with no audience, I don’t know, I’m no promoter I just hope someone gets an ingenious idea to restart it sooner and I'll be ready for anyone, anywhere in my division”.

'The Ginger Matador' Rachel Ball replied and told the column "it was disappointing when the gyms shut but it was needed. I was due to fight end of March and got the call on my birthday that I could eat some cake as the show had been cancelled which was a silver lining but I’m conscious I haven’t fought this year yet and I need to keep active. I’m lucky my other half is a coach and can box so I’ve got a pad man on hand so I’m really fortunate I’ve got good quality training. I’ve been doing runs, sprints, circuits, weights, body weight exercises, pads and footwork drills. It’s been good to mix it up and train outdoors.

Rachel Continued by saying "I’m currently getting my weight down ready to fight and super bantamweight and I’ve got my eyes on Shanon Courtnay I think it’ll be a great fight. I was due to fight in Spain in June so I’m hoping that will be postponed to later on in the year".

Ball ended by saying "I want to thank BCB during this time they’re continuing to get me the best opportunities for when restrictions are lifted".

British and Commonwealth champion Brad Foster said this "It’s a bit of a shit situation mate , because your daily routine goes out the window and you have to change things around. Find new methods of training in your house without the equipment you get at a gym. I go to David Lloyd most days when I’m ticking over. So I’m really missing going there an chilling in the sauna and steam after my sessions. You don’t realise how much of a massive effect it has on you when you arnt able to do your normal day to day routine.

Ive been training my thumbs by playing PS4.Just been keeping myself busy, filling the time where I can. I have bought a bike so been getting the bike miles in aswell as the running miles and just the usual".

As for news on his next fight Brad said "No news yet, it’s a hard one with boxing as it’s an event an fans are a big part of boxing events so who knows when boxing will be back".

Brad finished by saying "Keep positive through this lockdown. Don’t watch the news. My opinion is that it makes covid 19 worse than it is".

The column also contacted some Amateur fighters to see how they have been coping, Darcey Freeman got back to the Column and told me this, “When this all first came along I was gutted and felt a bit lost as the gym has been in my life everyday, everyweek, every month for a long time, so it felt like someone had stolen a vital part of life”. He then talked about his training while on lockdown and informed me “To keep myself fit during lockdown I have been keeping to a training plan, in which I've got to complete everyday. It includes runs, pads, bags, weights, abs e.t.c” he added “I've been using tennis balls to increase my reaction speed and to test my ability to think under pressure”. Darcy finished by saying “I have no news on a fight yet”.

Another amateur to reply was one of the Farrell brothers Farran, he told the Column “when the lockdown and the closing of gyms eventually happened it wasn’t a shock really as it was inevitable that it had to happen because everyone’s health and well-being is priority. During lockdown, I’ve been keeping my runs up and been ticking over with the training. Well, me and Niall have also been grafting away in the garden and Patch has been working too. As of yet, nobody knows when the gyms will be opened again so my next fight date at the moment hasn’t yet been decided”.

Dexter's Thoughts

I understand why the lockdown had to happen but I was gutted when it did. There were some exciting shows and fights coming up during March and April which have all had to have been postponed. I was really looking forward to seeing Shakan Pitters win the light Heavyweight British title, Kane Baker taking on Myron Mills in a rematch for English, the ‘0’taker’ Ben Fields getting his shot at a Midlands area and Conah Walker taking on Nathan Bendon for a Midlands title to just name a few. It is good to hear and see on there social media that the boxers are training hard and staying positive while they wait for the gyms to open and the promoters to start putting on shows.

I have heard rumours that there may well be live boxing coming as soon as July on TV with no audience’s in attendance this on the understanding we don’t get a second wave of the Covid 19.

I have to say I am missing going to the gym, unlike the pros and amateur boxers we talked to I have not kept myself ticking over at all. Hopefully the lockdown will start to be eased in the next few weeks and we can start to get back to some form of normality. I have to say I am missing sparing and going to the shows, fingers crossed its sooner rather than later.

The Birmingham Boxing Column hope’s everyone keeps safe and continues to social distances until they are told otherwise.


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