First of all, what a cracking day at Seconds Out gym in Ferryhill. I had been told that numbers had been capped so that each of the boxers training would receive some time with the guest of honour. Even so, the gym was buzzing with potential pugilists of all ages and abilities. Everywhere I looked there were groups of people Boxing. Some working the pads, smashing bags, sparring in the ring and generally enjoying the experience.
For one day only, British, Commonwealth and European champion Esham Pickering was here offering his expertise. And the regulars were lapping it up.
Esham was more than happy to work with everyone individually, as well as running the whole training session. The regular coaches at Seconds Out were helping out too and quite possibly enjoyed it more than most of the children! It was great to see them again, as ever and I can’t wait for their home show on 4th November. It’s not hard to see why the mood was so good yesterday though. The opportunity to train alongside a former world title challenger, gave everyone a lift. Pickering had losses, eleven in total, but achieved more than most of yesterday’s protégés probably ever will. These sorts of characters are often unheralded in boxing but should be an inspiration.
The queue for autographs proved just how positive an effect Pickering had on those present. For his part, he also looked like he enjoyed the event. Happy to sign items, pose for pictures and offer his advice.
I’m genuinely struggling a bit here to put exactly into words the feeling I experienced yesterday. Without reverting to clichés anyway. It was one of those rare occasions within the sport that everyone present was just enjoy it for what it was. To me, this was boxing in its simplest form. All the ego, glamour and show business side had been stripped away and it just worked. Any stereotypical young boxer you can imagine were there giving their all. Children so young they could barely walk (but could punch), girls and boys, a young lad who was bullied because of his weight with Derry Mathews and those who had fallen foul of the law. Seeing these in real life working side by side to improve their craft was beautiful.
Speaking with the regulars at the gym, everyone was keen for similar events to happen again and become a more regular feature. Let’s hope it happens!