Cliff T.: Back in the 90's I met a fellow by the name of Paul. He was in the TV Broadcasting course at Mohawk College in Hamilton and I was in the Radio course. Besides an interest in television Paul also has developed skills in the computer world most notably helping Blackberry owners fix the technical problems they face. But this is not why I decided to do a Candid Conversation with Paul. What has garnered my attention is his sport of choice boxing. As a teen in high school Paul boxed but after leaving school he also left the ring until about a year or two ago. That is when he decided to get back into the ring. Paul thanks for speaking with me today on this subject.
Paul B: Well, I am always willing to help a friend. I appreciate your interest. Thanks for having me.
Cliff T.: Paul most people in their 40's probably don't think about getting into a boxing ring for the first never mind the second time what prompted the return to the ring?
Paul B: I love the sport. It is one of the best things for your body. There is cardio and strength training, and of course there is also the self defense aspect as well. However, it does not matter. Age is only a number, and anyone of any age should be physically active.
Cliff T.: What kind of reaction did you get when you told people you were going to box again?
Paul B: People were very supportive.
Cliff T.: Did you do anything before approaching a boxing coach?
Paul B: Well, I had to make sure I was in shape. For a few years without exercise, I did not exactly have a boxer's body. I spent a year at Goodlife Fitness, and a proper diet, to get myself back into boxing shape.
Cliff T.: What was the reaction you got when you approached a coach?
Paul B: Nothing unusual. I look younger than I really am, and age is not something that comes up when you apply at a boxing gym. The coach thought I was in my lower 30's.
Cliff T.: Do you have a boxing role model and if you do who and why?
Paul B: I do not have a specific role model. I do look at some professional boxers for insight. We have a couple at my gym. I will often go to them for advise, and have even sparred with them.
Cliff T.: I can assume that you did not just get into the ring and box, what did you have to do before you got into the ring for your first bout?
Paul B: Training, training, training. As I mentioned before, I lost my boxer's body, and I had to get it back. Stamina is very important. There are no time-outs in boxing. You are in there for 2 or 3 minutes, and there is no stopping until the intermission period. If you stop for a second, you are finished.
Cliff T.: I am also assuming that you still train, what is involved in the training?
Paul B: I generally train 7 days a week with a very specific training schedule. These combine different types of exercise at different times. These include strength training, cardio, and technical boxing which includes sparring and shadow boxing with footwork. There is also jumping rope, ab strengthening and good old fashioned push-ups. The training schedule is designed to reduce the plateau effect, and give the most effective workout.
Cliff T.: What is the plateau effect?
Paul B: The Plateau Effect is caused by doing the exact same exercise routine all the time. Your muscles get used to it. This is called a Plateau. Your muscles will no longer build beyond that point, regardless of how much you work them. Mixing your routine, and creating a different exercise environment for you muscles eliminates this effect.
Cliff T.: How many bouts have you been in since your return to the ring?
Paul B: I have not had any competition bouts yet, I am hoping to start next season. I do have exhibition matches approximately once per month.
Cliff T.: Besides the physical training that you do is there any kind of theory that you have to study? Do you also have to be on sort of diet as well?
Paul B: Let me start on theory. It is called Technical Boxing. Just like with every sport, there is a "right way" to box. Beginner boxers learn the basics of boxing and the rules of the sport. However, when you get to my level, you create your own style. Every boxer has his own style, but that style can be traced back to the basics. As for what I eat, a boxer's diet generally consists of low-carbs and high protein. Lots of meats and veggies, juices and water. I also take a protein supplement right after training. Interestingly enough, a meal at McDonald's, with salad and juice or milk, is common for athletes because of the high protein content.
Cliff T.: Beside the physical element is there any psychology that factors into what you do in the ring?
Paul B: Well, boxing is actually more skill than physical. Boxing is one of few sports where you are offense and defense at the same time. You study your opponent, and find his weak spot, then use that to your advantage. If you can move in with a good-powerful right, then you do.
Cliff T.:Many sports figures are superstitious are you and if so what do you do if anything before a bout, example do you rub a rabbits foot?
Paul B: I am not superstitious. I don't do anything special before a bout. If I have trained better than my opponent, I will win.
Cliff T.: For the most part in the ring there seems from what I have seen a form of discipline, what are the basic rules in boxing? Have you ever come across an opponent who has broken these rules? And have you ever had to say to to a referee sorry I am not boxing this opponent any longer as he is not fighting within the confines of the rules?
Paul B: That is why there is a referee. Because of the nature of the sport, the rules are more for safety than anything else. However, the rules vary depending on the area. Ontario has very strict rules and these rules are heavily enforced. There are other places, such as the state of Florida, with fewer rules that are not very well enforced. Basically, boxers may only attack their opponent within the target area. That is from the forehead to the abdomen, and in front and below the ears to the lower ribcage. Striking outside these areas is illegal. Hitting behind the ears, below the belt, or the kidneys is not allowed. Holding your opponent is not allowed, and you may only attack during the round. Throwing a punch after the bell is an illegal move. Of course, just like any sport, the referee is the boss. He always has the final say. Neither, myself or my seconds have never complained about another boxer. Boxing refs are good at noticing problems. I remember a friend from my gym boxing against a guy from Rochester, NY. The Rochester guy gave my buddy a flick to the ribs after the bell, and was instantly disqualified, because the bout was held in Ontario. As I said before, you can't get away with cheating in Ontario, so don't bother. To give you an example of the differences in various areas: Boxers in Ontario are required to wear full safety gear; 12 oz. Gloves, groin protector, mouth guard, hand protection (wraps/gauze), and headgear. In Florida, headgear and groin protection are not required, and they only use 10 oz. gloves.
Cliff T.: Besides the physical workout Paul does boxing give you anything else? What kind of things can a person learn about himself while In and out of the ring?
Paul B: Boxing gives you a sense of pride, responsibly and respect. You respect you coaches and trainers, they teach you. You are responsible to yourself to listen and learn. Then you will win. Winning gives you pride, because it is something you have earned.
Cliff T.: What are the 3 things anyone should consider before taking up boxing?
Paul B: 1: Prepare to train very hard and take your body to the limit and beyond. 2: You will have to give 110% to the sport in order to succeed. 3:Boxing is a sport. It is not about being a tough guy or showing off. Be respectful.
Cliff T.: Paul thanks so much for taking the time to do this. I think our readers will really enjoy your insights.
Paul B: Thanks for allowing my input.
Cliff T.:Paul B. is a Toronto based amateur exhibition boxer. His next bout is January 17.