Boxing Gloves
Boxing gloves | Pic: Emanuel Rudnicki

Often, when in the early stages of their amateur career, fighters will come to me and say: “Coach, I need 100 tickets to sell for my fight, everyone wants to come see me!” This is usually followed by wanting to be on the fight poster, etc.

While a debut is understandably an important and exciting milestone, I often use this as a teachable moment for perspective. I typically set said individual down and say, “Son listen, out of those hundred, ninety five of them are there to watch you lose, the few others will love you no matter the outcome.”

The sad fact is that your peers rarely want to see you doing better than them because as a fighter, you represent the one percent that most of the world will NEVER have the balls to be. Combat sports have and will foreseeably continue to be as they say a “fickle b*tch”, and those who love you on the up will rarely do so on the down. I say this, not out of negativity or to dissuade anyone, but out of my desire to ensure that young people are competing for the right reasons.

Why put so much pressure on yourself that you feel that you must perform for others? Be humble, forget all the social media, pre-fight hype and most of all, do this for you and only you! Not your mother, father, family or friends. Do this because you love the feeling of knowing exactly who and what you are capable of and where you stand in those minutes of competition. Do it, because it’s fun, because you love the spirit of testing yourself and have genuine passion for the sport.

And when fighting is no longer fun, learn to walk away. Too many fighters have overstayed their welcome to an unfortunate demise, too many would-be legends of the sport fighting far beyond their shelf life for a simple paycheck.

Love yourself, love your journey my friends.

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