First Round Boxing was opened in the main street of Forster approximately eight months ago, by owner-operator Paul Cheers. The gym provides newcomers to the sport and professional boxers alike with access to expert trainers, who will assist in learning new skills and knock-out tactics in the ring. ‘Cheersy’ tells us all about the business of boxing.
Boxing involves combining skills simultaneously, including practicing footwork, punching straight and sparring … Tell us about these basic element of boxing.
Boxing is a pure art form; it’s a dance with a sting. They refer to boxing as the ‘sweet science’, because it incorporates dazzling footwork, blinding speed, balance, timing and incredible fitness. I believe it takes an individual six years to master the art of boxing.
It’s the ability to stand in front of another human being and trade both attack and defense within the confines of the square ring. It is a mental attitude. Boxing offers strength of body, mind and spirit. Boxing is about old school respect – something which I strongly believe is more relevant in our society, and indeed needed in our local community more than ever before.
Size notwithstanding, once a person has been trained in these three basic skills, what’s the odds of them succeeding in a fight against an untrained fighter?
Well, those odds will never matter to my boys and girls. The fact is, a trained fighter no longer feels the need to explore the possibilities of what they could potentially unleash on the untrained in a street situation.
The trained fighter works so hard in the gym, that the last thing they would look for is more fighting. But to technically answer your question, a trained boxer can punch with every ounce of weight and stature they possess. For instance, I weigh approx 67 kg – not a huge man by any means; however, I know that a screaming left hook begins in my right big toe.
And by the time it reaches its target, my fist weighs approx 67 kg (LOL)! And I guess that’s why boxing is strictly governed by weight division. Imagine how hard super heavy weight fighter Matt Georgio can punch – I’ll tell you – 108 kg at the knuckle.
How critical are speed and stance?
At competitive levels, speed will win you a fight. If speed is maintained both with hands and footwork, it makes a person very dangerous and hard to hurt. Speed is a beautiful to behold in the ring – it’s the thing that entertains the crowd, and I guess it’s the signature of extreme fitness. A fighter absolutely needs to be fast, and this is done by conditioning arms with weight, so when you put 10 oz stingers on, you’re lightning.
Stance is equally important. Stance is your range, balance and ability to move in and out of the danger zone quickly. Most important, stance is the ability to place your entire bodyweight behind every punch. Some trainers will teach two weeks of basic footwork before they will allow you to put on a set of gloves! In a way, I think this is a good move.
It’s hard to develop basic boxing skills if you’re out of shape. What sort of training is required when preparing for the ring?
The first thing we assess with people coming into Final Round Boxing is their level of cardio fitness. Boxing is hard. Really fit people find boxing training hard. But the fact is, all people can learn to box. When people come into my gym, I’m straight up with saying that boxing training is going to hurt. All kinds of people train with us, and that’s great, because I’m trying to expose the general public to the benefits of boxing training.
I’m seriously not concerned about fitness level when you come to me. I’m determined to make you a different person when you leave.
To a layperson, explain what these boxing terms means: the left jab, the straight right, a haymaker and a swing …
Ha! OK …
The jab is what I call the ‘can opener’… Supposing you’re right handed, your right hand will usually be your strongest punch. However, it’s that short annoying left jab, which needs to be able to fire all night … The ‘can opener’ causes discomfort and forces mistakes, closely followed by a nice straight right hand (your natural power punch).
A haymaker: a relatively out of control right hand – a wild swing that if landed, can cause an upset (note: I do not teach a Haymaker!)
A swing: a slang term which basically means throwing a wild punch from nowhere.
Boxing is often lauded as the sport of buffoons. How do you defend this (not with your fists, please)?
I can only give my personal account of the sport of boxing. From a distance, I guess I can see why people would rag on the sport. Muhammad Ali is, of course, the greatest; however, he now has trouble speaking … or look at some of the complete mismatches the sport has suffered in our own country recently. Yes, there is an argument that what I teach, and indeed what I love, could be called damaging.
However, as a very troubled young person myself, boxing has given me the strength to go on when I thought I could not … it gave me pride when there was none and respect when I had none. And that’s just my story – there are plenty more stories out there that are similar.
Take us through the ropes of how the trainers work at First Round Boxing?
I’m fortunate to have a great bunch of volunteer trainers at Final Round Boxing. I must firstly give honour to Martin Ross, who was Australian Amateur champ – he’s been mentoring me for around seven years as a trainer and is someone I regard as family. Also Matt Smith, who helped train kids at the YMCA, where I was given the opportunity to learn this great trade.
I founded Final Round boxing with my beautiful partner Roz Fleming, who is my driving force. My great friend Simon Maidment, who is also a former Australian champ, works with the young kids at the gym – his way with young people is incredible to witness. In short, I have the best trainers working with me. Together, we have it all sewn up.
At what age can children start boxing, and do you work with children with behavioural issues?
I generally start children off from 10 years old. From this age, kids can be taught to understand that boxing is not a tool to hurt others, but a means of protecting yourself and others if needed.
Who performed more convincingly in their acting roles as boxing champs; Sly Stallone in Rocky, Bob De Niro in Raging Bull, or Mickey Rourke in The Wrestler …?
Can we forget those three examples, and I’ll tell you my favorite boxing flick? Russell Crow in Cinderella Man. An absolutely awesome depiction of what I am trying to describe to you in this article … using strength, pride, determination to achieve victory. That’s the movie I want people to associate a boxer with.
How can people find out more about First Round Boxing?
We’re situated at level 1/48 Wharf St, Forster. I can be contacted on 0437 385 445. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org