The Fighter Diaries are a ten part, personal account of the fighting experience from the moment of accepting a fight, through training camp, right up until the fight itself. No other individuals apart from myself and my trainer have been named.
It’s a day like any other day in Hamilton, or ‘The Tron’ as it’s fondly known as by the locals. I’m sitting at my work desk. It’s about 9am on a Monday and my brain has yet to recoil from the weekend.
The usual clatter of keyboard strikes and office small talk make for soothing white noise, but it’s not doing anything to help my ‘Mondayitis’. As I pour my second cup of coffee, my usual morning remedy, I hear a familiar vibrating sound from my phone. I have a message and it’s from my partner and trainer Kodee.
I unlock my phone and read the message. I’ve been offered a title shot against a well-known opponent and the fight’s in a couple of months time. Once I’ve read the message, I notice my heart starts pounding faster and faster almost instantly. My adrenaline is pumping through my body and my stomach feels how soft drinks look – bubbly and fizzy.
I’m excited! Hell yes I want to fight that person for a title! My newfound vigour has me feeling like Tom Cruise circa 2005 – you know, the time he went weird on Oprah.
At this point, a few thoughts start rushing through my mind – what do I know about this opponent, what is my game plan, what will my training look like over the next few months, and how will I feel having that belt around my waist.
The first thought doesn’t matter too much, as I’ll train and prepare for anyone no matter what their style. But if they’re high in the rankings, and they’re an opponent I’ve been wanting to face for a long time, that makes a difference. Not only will it be another title to add to my catalogue of ‘shinies’, but it’s step closer to where I want to be in the sport and, hopefully, a notch up the rankings.
When I’ve had time to settle over my excitement, I respond to my trainer’s message with a quick ‘yes’, followed by a query around my game plan. He’ll tell me what we’ll do. He’s very smart, especially when it comes to figuring people out. He gives me the run down of our basic game plan, and how we’re going to train that plan till the fight.
Then there’s the belt itself – a ‘shiny’. I refer to all my belts as ‘shinies’. They’re my most precious items, not for their aesthetic value, but because they serve as a remind of hard work and sacrifice.
I start fantasising about winning this title. I am there now. I can smell the sweat. I can feel the canvas under my feet. I feel the sweet elation as my hand is raised, and the profound satisfaction when the belt is wrapped around my waist.
There’s a lot of work to do and I only have two months. I better get to it!