The saying goes that there is no barrier to entry in boxing. This may be true but anyone wanting to partake needs to be fully committed and hold a certain degree of self belief. For most of us there is no chance of forging a career in the ring but for those who are willing, regardless of age or length of involvement, the sport does present an opportunity to get a taste of what it is like to step through the ropes.
This was the case for Luke “El Chappo” Chapman, who made his debut in the ring last Friday in his home city of Sydney, Australia. Fighting under the Corporate Fighter umbrella, Luke was able to combine his love of boxing training for fitness and his fandom of the sweet science into a full training program and a three round bout – with the added bonus of raising some money for charity.
Having been in touch with Luke on Twitter for a while (@cha97081834) as well as meeting the man in person last year I can vouch for his boxing knowledge. I was therefore very pleased when he agreed to answer some questions on his recent experiences and share his thoughts on the current ups and downs in boxing.
CM: Hi Luke. Can you introduce yourself and talk about how you became a fan of boxing, leading to your participation in a well organised fight card?
LC: I'm a 40-year-old bookmaker, bachelor now fledgling amateur boxer. I've been interested in boxing since seeing Jeff Fenech on the nightly news winning a world title against Shingaki when I was 8-years-old. I did boxing for fitness and a bit of self-defence when I was 15 and have only recently taken it up again, leading to my first fight last weekend.
CM: Let's hear about the fight first of all then. How was it being in there competing? Did you place any importance on the result or did you regard it as a win just getting in there? Tell us about all aspects of the bout you can remember.
LC: Fighting was an amazing experience. The biggest rush that I've ever had. I fought on a Corporate Fighter card and they're really tailored to a bucket list experience and they do it so well.
The fight is not a total blur but it did pass very quickly. I remember thinking at the 10 second warning of the first round that I was getting beat in front of my family and friends. I also remember feeling every time that I did something wrong that I could work on that in the next round. Some things I corrected, some I did not.
Going into the fight I really did want the win but by the time the final bell rang I felt that I had achieved plenty in there, win, lose or draw. I lost by decision, it was a fair decision though and congratulations to my opponent.
CM: So working back now, I'm interested in the preparation for fight night. How demanding was the training that was set out for you? Did you manage to stick to the routine? Were there any injuries or obstacles in the form of food or drink temptations to overcome?
LC: The training itself was as physically demanding as I expected but the hardest part was doing it all on top of a normal working day. I soon learned that I could not cut any corners when it came to nutrition/recovery. I was training at night mostly so I had to adjust my eating patterns to suit. I adapted an intermittent fasting model that had me skipping dinner – although I'll admit there were couple of times over the twelve week prep where I stopped for some McNuggets on my way home!
On the injury front, I was pretty lucky, other than a rib issue that kept me from sparring for a week late in the prep I got through it all pretty unscathed.
CM: So after going through the whole process is it now safe to assume you now appreciate and respect fighters who do this for a living even more? Do you have any plans at the moment to go again? Is “El Chappo” coming back?
LC: I've always had a healthy respect for any fighter that jumped in the ring, but even more so now. For the elite pros that could want for nothing in camp right through to the pro and amateur fighters that also work for a living and are grafting a boxing career on the side. Boxing can be an extremely mentally challenging sport at all levels and very lonely at times.
I think I'll be back in the ring soon. I'm going to enjoy a holiday now but will get to work on it when I return. I have to get a win, right?
CM: I'd say anyone making it through the preparation phase and having a fight is a winner and you are doing your bit for a worthwhile cause. So on that note what is the Black Dog Institute – the charity which benefited from the event? Also how can readers donate to your page if they feel inclined to do so?
LC: They raise money to reduce mental illness, the stigma around it and to actively reduce suicide rates. They do an outstanding job and Corporate Fighter..
..raised over $60,000 across two nights of boxing to go to this great cause.
Donations can still be made at : https://corporatefighter2018.
CM: So we know each other, firstly from Twitter and then we actually met up at SuperFly in California last year. Do you have plans for any boxing related travel this year, and what are your thoughts in general on boxing in 2018 so far?
LC: We do, mate! I was lucky enough to meet your good self, Johnny, Abe, Tom and all of that great crew at SuperFly. As we speak I'm trying to organise a trip for the debacle that Cinco De Mayo weekend has become but I'm just about to drop it and head to Lomachenko vs. Linares at Madison Square Garden the following week instead.
After the May trip I'll be back in the States for a non-boxing related trip in September but as it turns out I'll be in Vegas for Mexican Independence weekend, hint hint!
I thought 2018 was shaping up to be as good as 2017 was for boxing but all of these recent cancellations, date changes and the like have been disappointing. Still a long way to go though so not all is lost.
CM: Finally, what is the current boxing scene like in Australia. Are there any fighters from there coming through that we should consider paying attention to?
LC: Boxing has always been a big part of the sporting culture in Australia but the public has a love/hate relationship with it. Anthony Mundine single-handedly lifted it off the canvas but being such a polarising character he has also turned people off the sport at times.
But boxing is doing well here at the moment off the back of Jeff Horn's win over Manny and Australia has some great prospects. WBO rated lightweights Kye Mackenzie and George Kambosos are two that instantly come to mind. I'd love to see Valentine Borg work his way back into the rankings picture because I know the guy and have seen what he is capable of. Tim Tszyu is also flying through the early stages of his career with great success. I'm also keeping an eye on Nathaniel May.