Get Active: Reporter tries boxing and finds eye of tiger – and arms of jelly

Mark Shales gives boxing a go for our Get Active campaign

Mark Shales gives boxing a go for our Get Active campaign - Credit: Archant

From my first watch of Rocky to the moment Carl Froch’s right hand sent George Groves tumbling at Wembley, I’ve always seen boxing as a tough sport, and respected the fitness and bravery of anyone willing to step into the ring.

Mark Shales gives boxing a go for our Get Active campaign

Mark Shales gives boxing a go for our Get Active campaign - Credit: Archant

Secretly though, I’ve always wondered just how hard a single training class could be.

So when I was offered the chance for a one-to-one session with a top local trainer, I couldn’t say no.

Son to former Commonwealth champion Mo and brother to up-and-coming lightweight pro Eddie, Ty Hussein, 30, has never been far from a pair of gloves.

Currently coaching weekly sessions at his Dagenham gym, the former Robert Clack pupil put me through my paces. And then some.

“Shall we start in the ring?”

“Brilliant, bring it on.”

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Sixty seconds into the class, I was regretting my cocky ignorance.

Hooking and upper-cutting is not only more technical than it looks on the TV, it’s also much more draining.

And although my testosterone levels were probably higher than they’ve ever been, I’d never realised how long 30 seconds is until I found myself swinging at a rock-solid bag for half a minute.

“Twenty seconds to go.”

“Surely not,” I thought, my punches slowing to a snail’s pace with each jab even weaker than the last.

But after a few combos, a variety of bag sessions and a final punishing mat core session, I did feel fully deserving of larger-than-average tea that evening.

“Boxing’s a great stress reliever and fantastic for fitness,” Ty said afterwards, as my arms shook and hands struggled to grip a pen.

“It’s great for all-round confidence,” he added. “The release of endorphins you get through training and sparring really make you feel good too.”

Unfortunately my happy hormones were being kept at bay by the burning in my arms.

They say you can tell the quality of a workout by the level of pain you feel the next day.

With that in mind, my first taste of boxing must have one of the best exercise sessions I’ve ever had.

In hindsight, it was actually one of the most enjoyable too.

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