This afternoon I attended an amateur boxing tournament at St John’s in Chorlton. I was invited along by my friend who has recently began training at the club for fitness purposes, though he refuses to be drawn on rumours that he will fight professionally before the end of the year.
For some reason I was imagining that it wasn’t going to be children boxing. It WAS children boxing. For some reason I imagined that the children, especially the younger ones, would be a difficult watch. It WAS, however, amazing. Children who were clearly young and small displayed amazing skill, technique, temperament and respect – for each other and the sport. If anything the younger competitors were the ones displaying the best technique, unfettered by power and the fragile pride that puberty brings. And, of course, there is not the muscle in the arms of spindly little lads to cause damage to anyone else.
That’s not to say people shouting passionately for their 10-year-old son to hit another 10-year-old in the face isn’t a slightly odd thing to be present at. Indeed at one stage it does get as basic as someone’s shouted advice/encouragement being to shout “hit him” to one of the fighters. My favourite bit of shouting out came quite early on. Some person shouted out “double jab” to one of the boxers. Almost immediately afterwards another voice shouted “triple jab”. I couldn’t quite ascertain whether or not the triple jab person was a fan of the same boxer and merely trying to outdo the advice, or he was a fan of the opponent and this was his way to outmanoeuvre the double-jab. Either way, I still enjoyed it.
One other realisation – the phrase “Seconds out…Round two” that they say. I realised today it was about the people in the boxer’s corner getting out of the ring – rather than the unit of time. Yeah, I know, pretty effin obvious.