It was about January last year in a discussion with Nick Newton and Martin Thomas of Nicks Gym that sparked a journey resulting in me being top of the bill of an Ultimate White Collar Boxing (UWCB) event in Cardiff City Football Stadium November 25th 2017.
Having only recently started my clinical practice in Nicks Gym (January 2017), Martin, one of the trainers let slip to me that he was a boxing coach with over 20 years experience.
Martin had a skill set that I wanted to benefit by learning from and I could not believe our local community did not have access to learning such a beautiful movement craft. As a healthcare professional extremely passionate about preventative measures, I had to find some way of bringing Martins skills set to the community, so I offered for him to train me if I signed up to fight. Whilst a lifelong fan of the art and beauty of boxing (the sport influences a great many of my rehab games), the concept of actually fighting was absolutely out of my comfort zone.
Martin set about training me boxing 101 out of Nicks Gym. Nick also planned on participating to help through our training camp however later ruptured his bicep whilst we were sparring. Nick was and remains incredibly supportive through this process by kitting out the gym with bags, pads and all the tools to be able to learn the craft.
Nick however wasn't the only casualty on the journey. I suffered a ruptured appendix in July whilst on holiday to France which progressed to peritonitis - a serious internal infection requiring 9-days stay in Periguex Hospital. My first steps post surgery are shown below!
Peritonitis didn't manage to keep me from starting my 8-week training camp with White Collar Boxing. I had to drive 90 minutes each way, twice per week, on my own to be able to make the training camp. It took a lot of motivation, energy and logistics (to schedule my entire work diary around being able to get there!) to simply make it through.
However fast forward to November 25th and the event was a thriller. I managed to get back in shape after my serious surgery and was matched against Kevin Quigley, who had already had 3-4 fights previously and we were to be top of the bill. No pressure.
I lost the fight on points, however to me, this was the only defeat of the entire process. I raised a total of £1135 for Cancer Research UK and most importantly to me we have a boxing club being run by Martin and Nick in my local community which has had several groups graduate through boxing 101.
Both the club and Martin are flourishing. The future of health in Mid-Wales is in good hands with Nicks Gym delivering daily classes for regular people to learn a new skill, get fitter, get stronger and continually challenge themselves. You do not have to be a 'boxer' to get the health benefits of quality boxing training. There is a concern about head injuries amongst the general public with regards to boxing. The evidence is clear however that if you want to avoid head injuries then you better avoid team sports and horse riding before you get too fixated on being 'anti' boxing.
It is 100% the individuals choice if they want to go on and actually fight, as I did. However as a training and preventative health modality, I fully endorse it, as I do other martial arts, dance, field sports or any other ongoing discipline that one must be continually learning and moving.
The full fight can be seen below, the jury is out on the decision but as my first fight, I won the final round and learned a great deal that I pass on to my clients and I am very proud of that.
As a company I raised a lot of money for Cancer Research and we are very grateful to all who came to support and sponsored, it was like my little village took over Cardiff City Stadium!
Nick is in full rehabilitation for his bicep with me and at 8 weeks post surgery he is doing great. Our plan is to get him fighting fit and able to cause a serious stir in a White Collar fight come the end of 2018. Nick has a fantastic movement pedigree that I learn from everyday, be sure to support him come his turn.
One final thanks must go to Steven Parry Photography for capturing the year with me. We had a lot of fun.
What next? Nothing is set in stone however my personal challenge for 2018 will do one thing, as did this boxing goal, it will challenge me. Nothing worth having is easy and comes without sacrifice. If this journey inspires just one person to want to achieve something great this year then my job as a healthcare professional is having a positive impact.
I am fortunate to be able to now observe the impact Nick and Martin are having on the people in the area I live.
This to me, is true health care.
Luke R. Davies :)