IN TWO weeks time 40 men and women will turn up to the Fitness Loft in Harrow Lane to embark on one of the greatest challenges they will ever experience.
On February 12 training gets underway for season six of Victory Boxing and ten weeks later on April 21 the contenders will step in to a boxing ring at Sussex Coast College in front of 800 cheering fight fans to take part in three two minute rounds of boxing.
“It’s an amazing physical challenge but it’s an even greater mental challenge,” says Shaun Chappell who has competed in Victory Boxing on three occasions.
Shaun Chappell (red) in action.
Victory is the brainchild of six times world kickboxing champion Ed Lofts, the concept behind the programme is a simple one. The ten week training course will get you fitter than you have ever been before and you’ll learn new skills. After six weeks of training Ed and his team will consider the skills and ability of those taking part and match the contenders up with the man or woman they will fight on the big night and allocate them to their teams.
For the remaining four weeks the contenders train in separate teams adding an additional dimension to the process as contenders fight not just for their own honour but for their team’s honour too.
While the majority of the 40 people embarking on this challenge next month will be new to the process, a proportion will be making a return for the second, third or even fourth time.
Previous contender Andrew Gurney told Hastings In Focus: “During those ten weeks I found levels of fitness I have never known before and I discovered levels of determination I had never previously experienced and don’t under estimate the courage that it takes to face an opponent across a boxing ring knowing that for the next eight minutes your are the fiercest of enemies – don’t step through those ropes unless you are mentally prepared to do everything it takes to win and that includes taking some hard knocks. But don’t worry because Ed and his team will have prepared you well. It is, frankly, an amazing challenge.”
Andrew Gurney on the attack against Shane Earley during their fight in November.
The concept of white collar boxing is not a new one, it sprung up in the late 1980s in New York and London so but why, four years ago, did Ed think Hastings was ready?
Ed says he first became involved in white collar boxing back 2014. He was asked to run a local series of the popular Zero to Hero programme which, just like Victory, takes novices on a ten week journey turning them from beginners to rudimentary fighters.
Zero to Hero is part of a national programme and Ed felt that at more than £300 to take part it was too expensive for this area so he developed Victory. Priced at £180 – which includes all the kit required – Ed believes what he now delivers suits the local market better.
Of the five series of Victory Boxing so far, all have been over subscribed as far as potential contenders are concerned and all have been sell-outs on the night. Ed’s aim is to put on a family orientated event where people can come and cheer on their friends and family in a relaxed and safe environment.
Ed says in ten weeks you can be a different person. A variety of people sign up for the Victory experience. Ed says some just want to tick boxing off their bucket list, others do it to make a parent or a friend feel proud, some have made a promise to change their lives and feel the boxing programme will help them do that.
“A lot of work has gone in to identifying the optimum length of time it takes to be able to turn someone who has never boxed before in to a reasonably competent fighter and ten weeks is just about it,” says Ed. “If you give any two people a set of boxing gloves they will have a fight but it will turn into a bit of a slugging match. What ten weeks worth of pretty intensive training does is give people the skills to box rather than fight and be able to put on an entertaining display of the noble art.” Indeed Ed is proud of the standards of boxing on show at a Victory event and feels that in places it’s actually better than he has seen as some professional shows.
Six times world kickboxing champion Ed Lofts is the mastermind behind Victory Boxing.
He says the process is about more than just teaching boxing it’s a process of genuine self-discovery. Those taking part learn about themselves, about where their limits are. Most contenders will push themselves further during the ten week process than they have ever done before.
Ed explains that with his fellow coaches they monitor people’s progress throughout the process. Sometimes people develop faster than expected sometimes people develop more slowly or show little improvement throughout the process and all this has to be taken in to account when determining who will fight whom on the big night.
So, would previous Victory contenders recommend taking part? Andrew Gurney who has competed three times is unequivocal, he would: “Would I do it again? Yes! Was it the best thing I’ve ever done and did I learn things about myself I didn’t know before? Yes! Did I bore people because all I wanted to talk about was training and boxing? You’ll have to ask my friends and family but I think the answer there is another yes, it just takes over your life for ten weeks, it is undoubtedly one of the best experiences of my life.”
- Hear what the contenders think of the Victory Boxing experience in their own words here https://youtu.be/lLy3__aRH5c
- Read about all the action in Victory Boxing series 6