I was a huge dork at school. You know, the one with coke bottle glasses tied held together with a Band Aid. One day, I had a realization: in the Darwinian world of a boys school, no one picked on the jocks. So, after one wedgie too many, I got into boxing. I'm pleased to report that no one has ever given me a literal or figurative wedgie since.
I've been boxing for 25 years. I took it up at university, where I was in the Blues squad. A Blue was awarded for representing my university against The Other Place. It was a big deal. And then one day, after getting knocked down, I thought to myself, "Self: beer and cigarettes? Or getting punched in the face?" So I gave up. It's one of my biggest regrets in life, because I didn't do something I should have done, because I was afraid. Which is why I have a a picture of Winston Churchill in my study, with his quote that "success is not final, failure is not fatal - it is the courage to continue that counts."
I kept training by myself for the next five years. One day I bumped into an old mate from the Blues squad. He told me a group of them had started training together at the Kronk Gym in London. I went along. And there they all were.
I trained with them again for six months, and this time, I followed through. I had my first fight in front of a thousand people in London. I was petrified. But it felt incredible afterwards, because I'd done something I thought had passed me by.
I then moved to Australia, where I trained with Dave Delfino, a former circus fighter. I would say that I didn't know how to fight before I met Dave, because he taught me the cardinal rule of boxing: it's much more fun when you're not getting hit. Unfortunately, for my first Australian fight I accidentally fought the Queensland Light Heavyweight champion, in front of a baying mob of his hometown fans. "What are they chanting?" I asked Dave, as the crowd went nuts. "Ummm, Rabies, mate. His nickname is Rabies." My friend summed it up perfectly afterwards. "Joe - it was like a Rocky movie. Without the happy ending." I did get a standing ovation though (and a black ear).
If you're interested here's the fourth of my Australian fights, which I fought in Sydney:
I moved to the US, and trained at gyms around the country (including Gleason's in New York City). I ended up here in Seattle, and was fortunate enough to train at the wonderful Cappy's and Arcaro boxing gyms. I had my final 'friendly' (if that's not an oxymoron, I don't know what is) at Cappy's. It was against a 300 pound offensive lineman from Notre Dame, which I thought was an excellent idea at the time.
Watch and laugh as he picks me up and throws me across the ring:
Why should you do boxing at FUELhouse? Because it will give you confidence. And if you, like me, hate running, it is the perfect complimentary exercise to the amazing FUELhouse training program. And just to prove the point, here is a picture of me last April, after two years of partying and sitting on my arse in New York City.
I spent last summer in Belgrade, Serbia, and spent six days a week for nine weeks boxing and doing Crossfit with a bad ass Serbian personal trainer. As you can see from the unfortunate photo from my birthday, I lost 20 pounds (whilst continuing to drink like a fish!):
I'm super excited to join the FUELhouse team. I love this gym, and I look forward to becoming a more involved member of this amazing community.
And I can't wait to get the coaches in my class. Payback's a bitch!