x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Amateur fighters ready to rumble after weeks of training

Two women's bouts are on a seven-card fight for the White Collar Fight Night charity event.

:Lise Knudsen, whose fighting name is the Killer Bunny, trains with Hassan Okine at the KO Gym in Dubai.
:Lise Knudsen, whose fighting name is the Killer Bunny, trains with Hassan Okine at the KO Gym in Dubai.

DUBAI // Lise Knudsen - or Killer Bunny as she is known - will be running the moves through her head all day before she enters the ring tonight.

Under the bright lights, she hopes her straight-hook-straight-punch sequence will be followed by a quick succession of four straight-out punches to her opponent's face.

It is an often-used boxing combination and the fighter hopes it will be enough to beat her opponent, Tory 'The Tornado' De Silva, in the White Collar Fight Night at the Habtoor Grand Resort and Spa.

However, the odds are stacked against Knudsen. She has suffered some injuries during training, while De Silva won her previous fight last week with a knockout. Yet Knudsen, 30, is optimistic, and hopes her years of experience can help her to victory.

The client relationship manager from Norway will contend one of eight fights at the black tie charity event. The money raised will go to Christel House, which provides education to underprivileged children in India.

Participants in so-called white collar boxing must be amateurs and usually come from a corporate background. Each fight consists of three, three-minute rounds.

For the past eight weeks, Knudsen and 15 others - some of whom had never boxed before - have endured a gruelling training schedule in preparation for the event.

Three days a week they arrive at the boxing gym at Dubai Marina at 6am. After a five-minute warm-up run around the gym the fighters move on to a 45-minute cardio workout, which varies each session. It can include any combination of weights, squats, punching and leg braces. Sometimes, medicine balls are used to toughen things up.

Then it is on to a second 45-minute session which consists of practising their punches and combinations. .

"I have been training every day, mornings and evenings, getting up at 5am, which is torture," Knudsen said. "It's never going to happen ever again."

By 9am, she is sitting behind her desk in Jumeirah Lake Towers, ready for her day job.

A second training session begins at 6.30pm, where the boxers go through it all again.

Despite the heavy workload, Knudsen manages to find time for yoga, running and personal training sessions at the gym. She is also able to squeeze in some studying for a master's degree in international business and volunteering for Feline Friends Dubai.

Knudsen has had her fair share of injuries recently. In the past three months, she has had shoulder problems, injured her hand and had a concussion after being thrown from a horse. "I have not trained as hard as I would have liked because of my injuries but I feel mentally as hard," she said.

She is not the only one to have been hurt. All the other boxers have suffered bloody noses and sore ribs over the course of training, while Chirag 'The Tank' Rami had to pull out completely because of a hairline fracture in his wrist. His injury means there will be seven fights - two of which are women's bouts - rather than the eight originally planned. Competitors will be organised into two teams.

Other match-ups on the card are: John 'The Destroyer' Davy vs Keith 'Kia Kaha' England; Gemma 'The Dilemma' Pointon vs Llham 'The Black Widow' Aabid; Lee 'Lord of the Ring' Fellowes vs Farzad 'The Journey Man' Mohebali; Robbie 'The Cathaoir' Grey vs Mark "Lightening' Porter; Chris 'The Swift' Stevenson vs Nick 'Smoking Barrels' Farmer; and Daniel 'The Axe' Wood vs Adam 'The Chaos' Kechil.

eharnan@thenational.ae