Preparing for Dayton Fight Night

One of our writers prepares to step into the ring tonight

Editor’s note: The writer of this article, Richard Wilson, is a staff writer who covers Greene County news. He will be boxing on Saturday at Dayton History Fight Night.

Richard Wilson, pictured here at the Brown Institute of Martial Arts in Centerville with Muhammad Ali's favorite title belt, which will be on display at Memorial Hall for Dayton Fight Night this Saturday Feb. 24, 2018.

You cannot prepare enough for a fight, especially when you spend 40 hours a week sitting in an office writing stories.

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For myself and 19 others who will be stepping into the ring this Saturday at Dayton Fight Night, we’ve had about three months to learn to box and elevate our cardio fitness.

Three months may be enough time to learn whether your stock portfolio is performing well or to make sure your life insurance premiums are paid up, but it’s not nearly enough time to learn the subtleties of the pull counter, or even how to keep breathing when someone is trying to punch your lights out.

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“It’s so different than just picking up and running,” said Toya Webb, one of the fighters who is self-employed.

Consider legendary boxing trainer Freddie Roach’s comments when Conor McGregor was gunning for Floyd Mayweather Jr.

“I’d have to train him for at least three years to get him ready for Mayweather,” Roach said of McGregor, a champion in two UFC weight divisions.

There’s plenty to learn about boxing, but when your full-time job doesn’t involve hurting people, one of the toughest obstacles to overcome in preparing for a fight is simply hitting someone and getting hit back.

There seems to be a moral revulsion built into the psyche to the act of punching someone in the face. Perhaps it’s a survival mechanism in the human brain — for when you hit someone, the odds of you getting hit back rises faster than Mike Tyson disposed of heavyweights in the early 1990s.

In preparing for her bout, research consultant Kristin Delgado said being OK with hitting another person has been a challenge. 

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“It’s kind of weird when you’ve never done it. You’re like, ‘Oh I’m sorry the first time,” Delgado said. “Nobody really wants to hurt anyone else, but when you get bopped upside the head a few times, you get over that.”

With her face flush from a sparring session at the Brown Institute of Martial Arts in Centerville, nuclear medicine technician Rachael Spitsnaugle said getting in the ring is an “intense” experience.

“I think the hardest, hardest thing was when people started punching me in the face. That was a little intense,” Spitsnaugle said. “But getting over that, being nervous and worked up because that’s coming at you, that’s probably been the hardest, but (also) definitely the biggest gains.”

My opponent, Chris Walker of LexisNexis, shared some of his thoughts on the matter. Walker said he’s “a complete beginner,” with no previous experience in any combative arts.

I’m not sure his stinging right cross got that memo.

“It is a definite experience,” he said. “I mean you come in, you’re doing training and you’re feeling good, you’re feeling confident, and then all your plans kind of go out the window that first time you’re in a ring and someone’s actually trying to hit you back.”

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Beginner or not, I’m not looking forward to avoiding Walker’s right cross and left hook. And while I’m excited to be participating in the charity event and supporting the Dayton History non-profit organization, I’m looking forward to returning to my desk with my teeth and moral aptitude intact.

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