Spar treatment for boxers

Contenders: Ruaidhri De Faoite, left, v John McKenna

Aspiring boxers ended a gruelling eight-week boot camp by squaring off against their training partners in a series of exhibition bouts last Friday.

The Contender training programme finished with 11 sparring sessions between boot camp members in front of a 200-strong crowd Queenstown’s Industrial Fitness gym.

Organiser and boot camp coach, Linda Coultrip, says “everyone stepped up” at the event.

She says nerves can get the better of some people boxing in front of a crowd for the first time, but that didn’t happen on the night.

“For me and the other coaches it was very satisfying because we get very involved with these individuals.

“You become like a proud mum, you just want to see them do well.”

She says there are so many struggles for boot camp members throughout the process, not just learning how to box.

“We get a lot of people that do it that have had previous experience with bullying and other stuff like that.

“It creates that belief in themselves”.

Former boot camp member Dre Cardoso says the programme is “changing lives one punch at a time”.

Coaches worked with a group of about 40 boxers during the early morning boot camp.

Coultrip says it’s all about showing newcomers the science behind boxing and “using technique and speed, not just throwing bombs”.

The crowd was also treated to Muay Thai and Brazilian jiu-jitsu bouts, as well as an entertaining fitness competition between gym staff and members.

The event raised more than $1000 to pay for gloves and other training equipment for the club.