With 2 days to go until my fight I finally got confirmation that I’ve been matched and that it’s going ahead. Over the last few weeks I’ve been working hard to make weight for it through the traditional way of eating carefully and getting plenty of exercise, and I think I’ve had enough pasta and lean chicken to keep me going a very long time. Over the last 3 weeks I’ve lost 3 kg or half a stone, which isn’t bad progress when the dietician told me I haven’t got much more to lose. My session at the gym yesterday was my last before the fight: I’ve been told not to train tomorrow but I might go out for a gentle run instead.
As far as the weight goes, I’m fighting at 88 kg which is what I’ve been trying to get down to for a while. On Wednesday I got there: 88.8 kg at the beginning of the night. The weight class I’m fighting at (cruiserweight) tops out at 88.6 kg so I’ll be at the top end of it but as long as I don’t have that second cup of coffee for breakfast I should have no problems with the weigh in. The weight I’ve been using over the last 2.5 years for these updates is my dehydrated weight at the end of the session, and yesterday this was 86.4 kg. From my peak of 133 kg that’s a total loss of 47 kg. In old money I’ve dropped from 21 stone to 13 stone 7 and lost a massive 7 and a half stone or 105 lbs. I think there’s scope to lose a bit more weight, but I think my original target of 80 kg for milestone 7 might be a bit too much. I’ve always had a stocky build but with 5 years cycling, 4 years Thai boxing and 1 years Brazilian Jiu Jitsu my calf and thigh muscles in particular are getting ridiculously big.
I got into Thai boxing 4 years ago partly out of curiosity and partly because I wanted to try something different to get fit. I had a bike back then but I only rode it once every couple of weeks and most of the time it was just a couple of circuits of the local park. I’d also tried swimming and a weights and exercise bike type gym but I found them pretty boring. I did have some fitness but I knew my health was in a mess and I had to buy the biggest clothes in the shop in the hope that they might fit. 4 years on I’m fighting at competition level and I’m finding clothes labelled “medium” are sometimes a bit too big.
In the scheme of things I know this fight isn’t particularly big: it’s a controlled contact novice fight over 3 rounds of a minute and a half and both fighters will be wearing body, head and shin pads. However from a personal point of view it’s a massive step forward. It’s no longer just training for exercise but working towards competing in a sport where I’m the only person who can win or lose. I’m always careful with the words I use because I don’t like to describe myself as something I’m not, but I think I can now legitimately say I’m a fighter and an amateur Thai boxer. This really came home to me during our warm up on Wednesday when I was thinking “my fitness is pretty good. No problems keeping up with the fighters. Er, hang on, I’m one of them now”. I’ve got ideas on how to keep things moving and it’ll be interesting to see what people say at my next training session after the fight, but that can come later. From where I started to having my first fight has taken a lot of time and hard work. My approach has been to make hay while the sun shines. There may be a time where circumstances prevent me from training as hard as I do now, but I’m going to keep going until that time comes. Meanwhile I’m looking forward to a fight, a pint and a nice pie (Leigh is close to Wigan after all) on Saturday. Of course I’m planning on fighting to win, but I’m just pleased to be fighting at all.