This might not be a fight for the world heavyweight title, but contenders in the CRN Channel Fight Night are certainly shaping up as though it is.
If they have not stepped up their training by now and cut out the alcohol and cigarettes then contenders will certainly have to pull all the punches on the night to win their bouts because, despite the charity push, this is serious stuff.
Practising their undercuts are 16 amateur, although exceptionally game, fighters ready to take on the challenge on 29 May at the Brewery in Chiswell Street in the City of London.
With the big night just five weeks away, most of the contenders who come from all sectors of the channel have been training on average four times a week to ensure they reach their peak fitness and technical agility.
The contestants have all picked their chosen charities and will be hoping to raise as much money as possible for them through sponsorship or donations.
Billy Turnbull of 3Com, also known as Billy ‘The Raging’ Turnbull, is fairly confident. After three months’ intensive training with his trainer Ady Lewis, an ex-European and Commonwealth champion boxer, Billy feels he now “has a strong jaw”.
“I’ve taken a few hard punches during training and it has not fazed me too much,” said Turnbull who will be squaring up to Andy ‘The Saint’ Sayers of Bakbone on the big night.
Manchester-based Turnbull said his strengths lie in his punches. “I am looking forward to the event as it will be the culmination of three months of training.
“It is the first kind of charity boxing event I have been involved in, so it is a good experience. It has been intense, but I am looking forward to the beer afterwards.”
He is keeping his secret weapon under wraps, but watch out for it on the night.
Expert trainer Mark ‘The Burf’ Burford said he was stunned and impressed by the calibre of fighters coming out of the IT ranks.
“Everyone has pulled themselves into tip-top shape, not just for themselves but for the kids, the charities and the spectators. It is all about courage and laying it on the line,” he said.
“I can honestly say after years of experience in training corporate groups I was not expecting the drama, intensity and integrity of these fighters from the IT industry.”
Bobbing and weaving on behalf of Incisive Media, will be Paul ‘The Hammer’ Harvey, who is training at high-tech private gym, the Ring Boxing Club in Ewer Street. He is under the aegis of The Burf and most of our contenders are also practising their combinations and blocks at the Ring.
“It is very tough, but I am getting there slowly but surely. It is a matter of trying to get it all together the feet, the arms, the punches,” said Harvey.
“According to my trainer, I have good feet. My left jab is one to watch out for too,” he added.
Harvey did not divulge any tricks he might have up his sleeve, adding “that will all be revealed on the night. We have worked on a few moves and combinations.”
Greig ‘Hands of Stone’ Weir of Stonesoft revealed that his training is going well despite having to fight off the pounds as much as his opponents. But lessons learned from previous experience are starting to pay off.
“I have some weight still to lose. I am shaking a bit of the ring rust off, but my timing and range are on par,” said Weir.
“My boxing abilities and speed and jab are terrible weapons. It will wreak havoc. It will be all on display on the night,” he added.
While most are professing quiet confidence, others are displaying exceptional levels of self belief.
“Training is going very well. It is tough but it is all good. I have no complaints. I am an all-round warrier,” said Darren ‘Silverback’ Clare who will be challenging Ross ‘The Rossinator’ Woodhurst on the night.
As trainer Burf points out, on the night there are some “incredible match-ups” lined up for spectators with Billy Turnbull versus Andy Sayers and James Stewart versus Adrian Sunderland to mention but a few.
“I think I can say, as someone who previously was not aware of the IT industry in any depth, I will never look at a bit of software in the same way again. These boys are pure hardware,” added Burf.
Hopefully no one will have stars circling their heads at the end of the fight, but it is just about guaranteed that most will have aching heads the morning after.
And it will not be cuts and bruises they will be nursing either. Just the typical channel hangover.
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