Fundraisers step up fight training
SANDWICH supplier Dan Voaden is hoping to make his opponents toast when he steps through the ropes at the next White Collar Boxing night.
The Funky Pump Fitness charity fundraisers are a regular fixture at Swansea's Oceana now, pitting pharmacist against postie and student against brickie in aid of good causes.
Dan will lace on the gloves for the first time tomorrow
and his newfound passion is all thanks to a midlife crisis, he says.
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"I had a bit of a light bulb moment — a midlife crisis probably.
"I have always wanted to do white collar boxing and I had always said that when I retire I would do more for charity.
"Then I decided why wait until I retire?"
The 43-yuear-old runs a sandwich business, Brombys, which distributes throughout South Wales, and he has even put his money where your mouth is, so to speak, with 150 shops stocked with his sandwiches which sport a text donation code.
Dan says training has been 12 weeks of hard slog, dedication and great fun.
"I am quite a committed person but I wasn't prepared for just how demanding it would be. But the trainers have been fantastic.
"They received a motley bunch of characters and they have turned us into people who can step into a ring and can put on a performance.
"It has been incredible to see how people have come on.
"I know I got to a point about halfway through the training where I realised I needed to really give this everything because if I didn't I was going to lose and I was going to regret not giving it my best shot. It is a once in a lifetime chance, which I am really going for."
The night will see around 15 bouts, with the fighters donning protective gear and oversized gloves — so don't expect any shattering KOs.
The cash raised by the blue team will go to Ty Hafan, while the red team will support Francesca's Footsteps, a charity which wants to raise £45k to send a little girl to America for surgery.
One of the Funky Pump trainers, Jason Hole, from Northampton Lane's the Warehouse, says while you might not suspect your average nine-to-fiver has a hankering to go toe-to-toe with a complete stranger in front of a baying crowd, many do.
"It isn't hard to find people to take part.
"Some drop out during the training, but most don't and some have taken up amateur boxing afterwards.
"I think the appeal is that someone can get out of their comfort zone completely with boxing.
"You can do five-a-side football or you can play rugby at the weekend, but when you are in the ring it is just you and your opponent, so you have to rely on yourself and your skills, rather than a team."
It awakens inner reserves in some they didn't know they had, he adds.
"You see it change people.
"We have had the quietest people who have gone through training and it has transformed them into these confident men, because they have been outside of their comfort zone."
If you want to donate to the teams' charities go to: www.justgiving.com/dan-voad