Date: 23rd February 2014
Location: Hercules Gym, Colchester
Cost: £4 each for gym session
Rules: 2012 was the first year women's boxing featured as a full Olympic medal event. There are three different weight categories for the boxers, and fights last for four rounds of two minutes each. Points are scored for every punch that successfully lands on the opponents head or body. If a boxer is knocked to the ground and fails to get up within a count of ten seconds, the bout is over.
Comments:Sarah: We started our boxing lessons last summer and have been steadily building up our skills and moves. We've both absolutely loved learning this sport, and the lessons have been a real mix of strength, speed and stamina. For an all-round work out you can't really go wrong with boxing. Saying all that, everything we learnt completely went out of my head as soon as I stepped into the ring; everything except keeping my guard up! It was really, really, really strange
Ellie: As Sarah says, we've been training for this event for a long while; it's been a great experience and one I'd like to pick up again once 2016 rolls around. I was very nervous about trying to batter one of my closest friends from the start; I was and still am deeply uncomfortable about it. What if I break her nose? What if she really hurts me? What if either one of us loses the plot and properly pummels the other? What if, when I'm in the ring, I just really, really want to hit her? Well, thankfully that didn't happen and looking back, there really was no other way to complete the event. It's been a great lesson though as I can see what type of adrenalin and anger-rush you must get when fighting someone you don't care about.
The two things I was conscious of during the fight were that Sarah had a lot more speed than me and that she was trying to tire me out. My plan quickly became to stand still and let her do all the work - this resulted in me getting very dizzy in the first round! The other thing I did on purpose was to switch my feet around - I went from a left-foot stance, which is natural to me, to a right-foot stance. I think I was trying to get into better positions or to put Sarah off. I'm not sure it worked but it made me feel that I was doing something... along side this, I just tried to land blows when Sarah gave me the chance and to make them quite hard in an attempt to push her back. It's certainly a sport that makes you think several steps ahead.
There was certainly controversy - a mix up over punching in the head which resulted in us both getting our ears boxed before we outlawed it but unfortunately, when aiming for Sarah's boobs I caught her on the chin - I doubt many Olympic boxers shout 'Sorry' after landing a shot!
I was immensely pleased when the last round was over and I know that if I'd had to go another round the score would have been a lot different. I'm very proud of how I've performed in this event; I've reveled in my powerful punches and I'm also proud of what we have achieved together; arranging the use of a boxing ring was exceedingly difficult not to mention the hours of training. I feel quite sorry that if we were good enough (!), we'd be too old to fight in Rio - the age limit being 34... Boooo!
Our coaches Sarah and Claire have been brilliantly supportive, and we'd like to say a huge THANK YOU for all their time and patience! Big thanks also to Karl at Hercules Gym for letting us use the boxing ring in their amazing gym.