With all the CRN boxers focusing on hitting the bar after their bouts rather than the canvas, CRN Fight Night 2011 is shaping up to be one to remember.
Our 18 warriors have been sweating it out in the gym and sparring with determination to ensure they make their mark on one of the craziest nights in the channel calendar.
All of them are eager to put their new-found skills to the test in the ring, but are also looking forward to a celebratory pint after all the hard work is over, and all in the name of charity.
‘Lightening’ Phil Bushby, whose day job is channel account executive at Brother, said he was full of nervous anticipation for the night.
“I play ice hockey as well and I’m going down to London for boxing training and also going down the gym to get in shape for the event. Training is going really well and I’m trying to pick it up as best I can.
“There is definitely going to be an adrenaline buzz on the night and I’m looking forward to getting out in front of a crowd as well as to the final bell! I’m hoping we have a good match and the right man wins.” Bushby is fighting on behalf of Parkinsons UK.
His opponent, Huseyin ‘No Mercy’ Mehmed has gone above and beyond expectations to raise money for his charity – Cancer Research – and has got his shorts sponsored. “It is a great way of raising money for a good cause,” he said.
Mehmed, an account manger at reseller Caretower, is certainly taking the training seriously, which is not going down too well with his girlfriend. “She doesn’t see me that often at the moment,” he joked. “I have definitely got the bug for it and there are four or five of us that meet up and train together regularly. I want it to be a proper event. This is something I’ve wanted to do for years and I can’t wait to be a part of it.”
One contender Jared ‘Scary’ Cary, aka volume sales manager at IBM, is even training hard while on holiday in Australia.
Speaking to CRN from down under, he said: “I’m looking forward to the evening very much and I’m training here in Australia as well.”
Should we mention the fact he said "honest!" straight after that comment? Oops, too late! Cary is hoping to raise money for children’s charity Stepping Stones.
His opponent is CRN regular commentator David ‘The Destroyer’ Ellis, director of new technology and services at Computerlinks, who is fighting on behalf of Karen Clifford Skin Cancer charity.
“This is certainly tougher than I thought it would be,” he says. “I never want to lift another tractor tyre in my life! I’ve never done anything like this before, but having a personal trainer pushes you harder than you would do on your own. It certainly is coming around quickly. I’m looking to coming out of it unscathed and celebrating afterwards.”
Mark ‘The Mother’ Tucker, admits his friends all think he is ‘nuts’ for doing this, but said the training makes a change from rugby and is a chance to raise money for the NSPCC.
“I am training with my trainer twice and week and going to the gym three times a week,” he said. “Fundraising is going well – there are a lot of people out there who want to see me hit! I hope we can have a proper fight and I’m looking forward to the atmosphere on the night." Tucker’s opponent on the night is Bally ‘Bad Intentions’ Pal from Emerson.
Another fighter, Haleem ‘The Rock’ Hoque, a.k.a renewals manager at Interactive Ideas, is building a fan club in India as a result of his fundraising activities.
“I’m supporting a charity called Orissa, which helps deprived children in India. My boss tells me they are all rooting for me,” he said. “I’m really enjoying the challenge and am going to the gym at least three times a week as well as sparring. I’m sure it will be a good night. All my colleagues will be there and I’m looking forward to the party afterwards.”
Hoque is fighting Henry ‘Skills you can’t teach’ Beech from Westcoast who raising money for the NSPCC. Michael ‘Lights Out’ Canning, part of the major accounts team at CAE Technologies, hasn’t boxed since he was 14, but is shedding the pounds with all the training. “I’m training every week at Cityboxer and am doing a lot of training myself as well so I’ve lost a stone and a half,” he said.
“Everybody is being really supportive, although my wife does keep asking me if all the insurance is up to date!” Canning is raising money for Shooting Stars Children’s Hospice and is hoping to raise at least £1,500. His opponent is Jonas ‘The Hammer of Thor’ Persson from HP, who is fighting for Help for Heroes. Martin ‘Mayhem’ Visser, commercial manager at QBS Software is also enjoying his training.
“It is going really well and I’m enjoying my gym visits. I’m looking forward to getting into the ring and having all those people watching in a professional boxing environment. And a few beers afterwards of course.” Visser is raising money for Families need Fathers, and his opponent; Neil ‘White Lightening’ Bryers from Comms-care is raising money for The Railway Children charity.
Derek ‘Del the Dynamite’ Wilson, normally business development manager at Comstor, is relishing the challenge of boxing. “I have done martial arts before, but this is different. You are constantly moving and it is quite exhausting! I’m looking forward to getting in the ring and using what I’ve been taught. I’m sure the atmosphere is going to be electric.”
Wilson, who is raising money for the Iain Rennie Hospice at Home, added that friends had joked about having a ‘glass chin’ but after sparring he is relieved to discover he doesn’t have one!
His opponent should win a prize for the longest fighting name in CRN Fight Night’s history. Sam ‘Muhammad I’m hard Bruce Lee’ Mager, a.k.a sales director at Krome Technologies, is fighting for disabled charity The White Lodge.
“I’m looking forward to a beer on the night,” he said. “I’ve decided to go on the wagon for the last few weeks of training. It is going to be a great night and a chance for our team and some clients to have a good night out and a laugh.”
‘Long’ John Woolley, sales director at Atlanta Technology is hoping to raise bucketloads of cash for Winston’s Wish – a charity that helps bereaved children.
“I lost my own father when I was 12 and wish there had been something like that around for me,” he says. “The training is going really well, but I’m shattered – I lost six stone in 2007, but this is the first time I’ve been really fit. The challenge on the night is going to be staying focused. I’m really looking forward to the whole experience.”
Woolley’s opponent is Kevin ‘The Power’ Grainger, partner manager at Griffin, who is raising money for Birmingham Children’s Hospital.
Our final fighters this year are Paul ‘The Mangler’ Morris, account manager at Servium and Issac ‘Beast from the East’ Kan, online sales executive at CMS Peripherals. They are fighting on behalf of Lifeblood: The Thrombosis Charity and Cancer Research respectively.
Morris said: "Training is going great. Because I'm training so hard I get tired in the mornings, but getting to sleep is a doddle every time! I have been training five times a week including all my football training.
"I'm most looking forward to an ice-cold beer after the bout," he said.
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