My Diary – 3 Years Since Retirement

I started boxing at 11 years old. From that point onwards I was in the gym for a minimum of 2 hours a day, 6 days a week, 52 weeks of the year. I didn’t take time off for anything except holidays or sickness. Boxing was my life and it (and the people involved in my boxing career) helped to teach me a lot and shape me as an individual.

As an amateur boxer I fought at a national level, winning a national title and getting to various area finals. I spent my time in amateur boxing learning skills, technique and deciphering the biomechanics of boxing; what makes people good fighters and why. I love the sport of boxing for what it is, two individuals in an enclosed space using all of their skills and abilities to hurt, outclass and defeat their opponent. It’s brutal, but it’s incredibly entertaining.

I boxed as a professional for a short time having 7 professional fights, all of which I won, before suffering an injury to my eye which further complicated problems I had already gone through obtaining medical clearance to fight when first applying for my license. As a pro boxer I ran 6 days a week, 5 miles minimum a day, I trained for 1.5-2.5 hours a day working on boxing skills, technique, sparring and punch fitness, and I engaged in a rigorous strength and conditioning routine to improve my muscularity and fitness to fight. I loved every second of training.

All of my boxing knowledge, skills, fitness, technique and achievements fall at the feet of my trainer Trevor Francis (a prolific amateur, pro and coach in boxing) and my family who supported me through everything. Retirement was a sad day for everybody who followed my career, for my team at Basingstoke Boxing Club and for my friends and family who had been by my side from the beginning. For me, it was a huge change, but one I was forced to embrace and utilise for my own benefit.

That’s where the gym came in to things. My own gym, my own website and, thankfully, my own successful business have all stemmed from my boxing knowledge and my time in the sport at all levels. I qualified as a fitness instructor, then a personal trainer and began using my gym to train other people for fitness, boxing and weight loss.

I teach boxing from a technical basis. From my point of view, the fundamentals of boxing are essential. If the skills you learn look great, but you are not able to apply them in a relevant scenario (Eg. sparring or fighting) then those skills are pointless. I train children’s groups, women’s groups and men’s groups of all ages, skill levels and fitness levels. My aim is always to maximise each individual’s boxing skills in an enjoyable and encouraging atmosphere either on their own or in group sessions.

Boxing is an amazing sport. It does wonderful things for a person’s self confidence, self esteem and physicality. It’s great for losing weight, toning muscle, learning self-defence and battling with mental illness. It’s a huge endorphin releaser which lifts your mood and leaves you feeling positive and excited. Boxing has changed many people’s lives and it’s my absolute pleasure to be a trainer to a great group of people from all backgrounds. Boxing is a hugely inclusive sport and I really cannot suggest anything better to any of you out there reading this, if you want to take up a sport, try boxing.

I still regularly train with my men’s sessions, do resistance training 5 days a week (working with weights targeting different muscle groups), am heavily involved in regular calisthenics training and have started showing an interested in yoga for flexibility and mobility. I watch fighter’s that I consider to be the best and analyse them, break down their abilities and learn from them so I can train better, more skilful fighters in the future. You never know everything in boxing and the wonderful thing is that there’s always something or somebody who can teach you something new.

3 years since retirement, I have a wonderful gym and some amazing clients. I am busier than ever and making some real progress with some of my youngsters and a few of the adults who I would love to get fighting soon. In the next 12 months I’ll be looking at applying for my pro trainer’s license with the British Boxing Board of Control and starting some home courses in biomechanics, training vulnerable groups and working with pregnant ladies (and also post-natal).

I am working on a new YouTube channel which will include high quality fitness content as well as boxing content, technical lessons and much, much more. Please stay tunes, keep on the website and follow me on social media!

Thanks all,

Matt.