What do you think of when you think of boxing?
“boxing is for boys.” “boxing is aggressive.” “boxing is a solo sport.” “You need to be fit to start boxing.” “It’s too risky, I’ll get hurt”. Well to that, I say “incorrect”! Having started my boxing journey back in January 2016, I’m on a mission to cajole, inspire and encourage more women to take up boxing. I want to help waylay those common misconceptions about boxing and show it for what it is; a great way to socialise, stay fit and push yourself to the limit.
Let’s start with the most common misconception – boxing is for boys. In August 2009 it was announced that women’s boxing would be included in the 2012 Olympics and this move has done wonders for the uptake of both amateur and professional female boxers. Having said this, I do remember and appreciate how daunting it can be walking into what traditionally is a male dominated space. If you add to that the smell of boys working out (although I can now confirm that girls don’t smell that pretty either), I admit that it doesn’t necessarily seem that appealing. The main factor that helped me get over this misconception was the professionalism of the trainers I have worked with. They look out for you and make you feel comfortable, but they equally are not afraid to push you and call you out when you’ve messed up.
I have always played and enjoyed team sports (Netball to be specific) so starting boxing I was a little intimidated as I thought it was an individual sport. I couldn’t have been more wrong as boxing is in fact a big group sport. You can train in groups, spar with multiple people and learn from more than one trainer in different gyms. Don’t get me wrong, when you are in the ring it’s just you and your opponent, but you can always hear your trainer and training buddies from the corner, and all your group training comes back to you while you are out there throwing those punches.
I have never, touchwood, been hurt boxing. Muscle pain, definitely yes, but I can assure you it’s very different to professional boxing and there are no Mike Tyson’s biting off ears. When you compete you wear bigger gloves, protective headgear and mouthguards and in the gym you are always under the watchful eye of your trainer. Boxing is a skillful sport, it’s all about technique and movement, not about inflicting damage. That said – if you don’t move your head you are going to get hit!
I wasn’t particularly very fit back in Jan 2016 and I don’t confess to being ultra fit now. My story is not one of these body transformations – yes I lost weight (I had to cut for my first fight) but I have since put some back on, then lost it, then put some back on. Overall I am fitter and healthier than back in 2016 and that’s what this is all about. I am a normal(!) girl who works hard and plays harder in Hong Kong and who also genuinely enjoys going to a boxing gym. I have tried various other forms of exercise; outdoor boot camps, crossfit, strength and conditioning gyms, all of which did wonders for a period of time. For me; boxing has stood the test of time.
In short, boxing is and should be open to everyone. No matter what the reason is for you to get into boxing (or any form of mixed martial arts), I will talk a little about Muay Thai throughout this blog also, as I have recently started doing some kicking – although my old lady hips don’t like it very much! I hope my experiences and reviews will encourage you to pick up the gloves.