I’ll start off straight away, the Pink Collar Boxing isn’t about me – it’s about the amazing women who take part and for the charities that benefit from the money raised. It takes real guts to step into that ring and take punches. So now I’ve cleared that up – here’s my view on Pink Collar Boxing, why I enjoy helping with the coaching so much, and why Pink Collar Boxing can frustrate the hell out of me.

What Is Pink Collar Boxing?

Pink Collar BoxingFor those of you that don’t know, Pink Collar Boxing is about women getting eight weeks training in boxing (2 sessions per week) and then having a fight at the end of it, with friends, family and work colleagues coming to support them. They do this while learning a new skill (boxing), getting fitter, meeting new friends, pushing themselves out of their comfort zone all whilst raising money for their chosen charity.

Who Can Take Part in Pink Collar Boxing?

Anyone over the age of 16. We get a range of women, differing in age, weight, fitness, ability and boxing/martial arts experience. The task is to get each and everyone of them prepared for the fight – each learning and improving at a different rate.

My Involvement in Pink Collar Boxing

My involvement comes in the training, assisting Nicky over the eight weeks. Nicky is the head coach, her experience in Martial Arts and in particular Kickboxing is second to none. But her caring side comes out as well, everything she can do to help, physically, mentally and skill wise is important to her.

What Do I Get Out Of Helping?

What Do You Get Out Of Helping Pink Collar Boxing

Quite simply – a great satisfaction in helping people challenge themselves, improve themselves, watching them begin to believe that they do have the skills to box. I (and Nicky) do this on a voluntary basis – as we do with any of the teaching we do at Doncaster Martial Arts Centre. Nicky is happy to pass on her knowledge as am I – I’ve taught people before and do so on a daily basis with my clients, but mainly in a business scenario – so it’s great that I can pass on any sporting and physiological tips that I have.

It also makes us beam with joy when we get some of the women come up to us and thank us – thank us for giving them an amazing experience, for getting them fit, boosting their confidence. And when they say that they will continue in some form or other – either signing up for the Pink Collar Boxing again – or starting Martial Arts – this makes it all worth it.

So What is the Pain Part of it all?

So after all the great and positive parts to my involvement to Pink Collar boxing, here’s the downside to it all.

Nicky’s Health

Nicky’s health takes a battering when she does the PCB training. She gives everything to the coaching, despite the pain she has in her knee after a recent knee replacement and her epilepsy. The number of times we’ve finished a training session and she’s waited until all the women leave before she almost collapses with the pain. Quite often this leads to a fit – but she doesn’t let this deter her – the priority is to get the women prepared for fight day, her own health is secondary. So this pains me, that the woman I love ends up suffering as a result of something she enjoys so much.

Cocky Fighters

There is nothing worse for me than somebody who just thinks they are cock of the world. Generally they have done some form of Boxing or Martial Arts before and believe they know everything and that the Pink Collar Boxing is just a platform to make themselves look good. If you really are that good, you shouldn’t be fighting in a PCB event – you should be going pro or at least semi pro. If you aren’t, then maybe you aren’t quite as good as you thought you were.

There is a difference between cocky and confident however. No problem with confidence, I’m a very confident person myself – but I don’t go around spouting that I know everything about computers or websites. The Pink Collar Boxing is about challenging yourself, not just an ego boost – train hard, fight hard, stay humble – and please, if you win your fight, don’t go rubbing it in your opponents face – it’s just downright disrespectful and you make yourself look very stupid.

Sore Losers

It happens, not always, not every time, but we do get it. It might not be the fighter themselves, but quite often their family and friends. We hear that the match up was wrong, the other girl was too big, too experienced, too fit – anything but the fighter themselves. What people don’t understand is how we do the match ups (and PCB if we need outside fighters) and this is the part that frustrates me the most – so here is the lengthy explanation of how we match people up.

Weighing up pros and cons

Around week 4, we start to get an insight into how things are panning out – don’t forget, it’s about week 3/4 that we start to get the women sparring. So here are some of the things we take into account before matching the women up for their fight :

  • Height
  • Weight
  • Previous Experience
  • Fitness
  • Sparring Style
  • If they train elsewhere in any form of Martial Arts
  • Amount of times they’ve attending training sessions
  • If they’ve attended extra classes with us (outside the normal 2 sessions per week PCB training)

Now in an ideal world, we would have every woman being equal on all of the above. However, it doesn’t work like that – not with a relatively small pool of women, over a small period of time. So, we have to make allowances on each of the criteria. Somebody might be taller, or heavier, but we see in their sparring that they cope well withe that type of person. They may be fitter, quicker on their feet, maybe had previous boxing experience.

But in every match up we see something in everyone that could give them an advantage. The other two people that help – Sadie and Brian also give their input. They spar with the women and again get an insight into their strong and weak points. Four different people, giving their honest and unbiased opinions about all of the women.

Armed with all of this, Nicky and I will independently write down who we think should fight each other. Quite often there are a lot of the same match ups – for those that we don’t have the same, we’ll talk about them, see if there is anything in our reasoning that the other has missed, maybe shuffle some of the fighters around – but eventually we get a provisional match up list. This list can change though, as I said, we start about week 4 of the Pink Collar Boxing – but only give our final match ups at week 7. A lot can happen in these three weeks – and often does. People progress at different rates and we sometimes see something develop that we hadn’t seen before. But at the end of it all, both Nicky and I can always justify each match up.

What people don't see about Pink Collar Boxing Match upsSo what the sore losers don’t see, and to be fair to them they couldn’t see – is any of the above. They don’t see that some women put their heart and soul into the training, red faced and all sweaty after an hours training. Some women don’t, they look as fresh at the end as they did when they started – turning up late, missing warm ups, or just not taking things as seriously as they should as they have “done it all before”. Nicky and I give a trophy out on match up day for the most improved boxer – not necessarily the best boxer, but the one that has come on most in the 8 weeks – and it is no surprise that EVERY one of them has won their fight on fight day! Boxing is hard, getting into a ring for 3 x 2 minute rounds is hard and it’s made even harder if the hard work in training isn’t put in. There is a well known saying in the Martial Arts world – “Train Hard, Fight Easy” – and this certainly applies to Pink Collar Boxing!

Two other things that can have an influence to the Pink Collar Boxing fight are the referee and nerves. Unfortunately, neither of these are within our control. There are a few results that we have a different view on things to the ref – but I can give you most sports where this happens (think football, rugby, cricket etc). Refs are human, they do their best and for the majority of times, they’ve seen something that we couldn’t from our seats. He’s in the ring, closer than anyone – so we have to accept his decision whether we like it or not. When it comes to nerves, they affect people in different ways. For all the help we give women, trying to get them in the right frame of mind, sometimes it just gets the better of them. This is another thing that upsets me, as I know that that particular woman had more in her than she could give on the day – I feel terrible for the woman involved – and no amount of consoling her afterwards will help.

So people need to ask themselves, did the boxer put everything into their Pink Collar Boxing training? Did they attend most lessons? Did they listen to what we’ve told them (like keeping their guard up)? If they can answer yes to all of those – understand and analyse all of the other criteria, then please come and speak to us directly and we will be happy to admit that we got it wrong.

Sorry that bit was a bit long, but I thought it needed a proper explanation as it is one of the things that pains me to see – people taking away two boxers achievements, two brave women who have done what most people will never do – get into a boxing ring and trade punches.

Take Pink Collar Boxing for what it is – a fantastic experience, raising money for fantastic causes, while women from all walks of life get fitter, more confident, lighter and meet new friends. If you haven’t tried it, maybe you should – after all, around week 4 you get to punch me – incentive enough for a lot of people 🙂

All of the above opinions are my own and not of Doncaster Martial Arts Centre, Nickys or that of the Pink Collar Boxing Company. Whilst this article has been published around the time of our 4th PCB, it is a reflection on all 4 PCB’s and not any set of ladies in particular and has been part written for several months now.