Dom Joly: Baying for blood as 'credit punch' hits

Weird World of Sport: I think a primeval bloodlust within me was hoping for an illegal bare-knuckle fight

Share
Related Topics

My birthday seems to come around every year. I never get a break. This week, I awoke to my 27th in so many years with some trepidation. There were rumours in the house of some "great" surprise present. I hate surprise presents. The later I get into my twenties, the more I realise that I need to control the choice of present as they more than often disappoint. I went downstairs for breakfast to find a huge parcel, the size of a person, standing in the living room. Had my wife finally cracked and kidnapped somebody for my delectation? I hoped she had chosen well. I ripped open the wrapping paper to find... a punching bag and a pair of boxing gloves. It was a superb present but, for some reason, the manufacturers had forgotten to put a photograph of Louis Walsh on it so I had to do a makeshift one from the newspaper.

Weirdly, there'd been a lot of boxing chat around the house recently. A friend of mine in London, a slightly poncey, male-model type, announced that he had joined a fight club. It was a white-collar fight club, in which City boys fought each other for charity. I was intrigued.

He was training for up to five hours a day and I could see a slight bulking up in his usually willow-like frame. He asked me whether I wanted to come along and watch his fight. I most certainly did and three days later I was off to watch the event. It took place in a hall in the East End and it all seemed to be disappointingly above board. There was a proper ring, medics, and a baying crowd of co-workers. I have to admit to being a little disappointed. I think that, deep down, some primeval bloodlust within me was rather hoping for an illegal, bare-knuckle fight.

Back in the Cotswolds, I'd got chatting to somebody in a pub who told me about a local fight club circuit that was much more along illegal lines. Apparently, workers from different construction firms took each other on in illegal fights that are staged in containers and on which large amounts of money change hands. I tried in vain to get an invite to one but it was a closed shop. Back in London, there was plenty of "respect" and a little too much head protection for my liking. I realised that my disappointment came from a deep-seated desire to see a couple of financiers take a beating as a way of making us all feel a bit better about the credit crunch. Most of the aggression came from the crowd, made up of curious co-workers and friends.

They howled their appreciation of every punch and I found myself swept up by the atmosphere and screaming with the best of them. Unexpectedly, my friend turned out to be quite tasty and beat a slightly porky investment banker. They hugged each other in mutual, sweaty "respect" and everybody headed off to an expensive dinner on expenses.

Back home, the birthday breakfast was over and my punchbag had been hung up in the gym. I put on my gloves, a pair of boxer shorts and a vest and headed off for training session number one. It felt good, I was like Rocky, I was going to get fit and violent at the same time. I took a tip from a friend and put The Who's Greatest Hits on to the gym stereo. Forget "Eye of the Tiger" – The Who is the band of choice for serious boxers. The idea is that you put them on at full blast and pummel away at the bag for a whole song. This simulates a round. On went "My Generation" and off I went. I hooked, upper-cutted, jabbed – all the while dancing like a rather large and ungainly bee.

Halfway through the song I wondered whether I might die before the end of it, let alone before I got old. I managed to keep moving, however, until the very end of the song but only just.

I turned off the music and staggered back to the house. That was probably enough for the first day. Like Rocky, I needed to build up a routine slowly. Unlike Rocky, I awoke the following morning to find that I was totally unable to get out of my bed as every muscle in my back had frozen up. I spent my first day as a 27-year-old professional boxer laid up in bed... Bet this never happened to Marciano...

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager

£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This full service social media ...

Recruitment Genius: Data Analyst - Online Marketing

£24000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are 'Changemakers in retail'...

Austen Lloyd: Senior Residential Conveyancer

Very Competitive: Austen Lloyd: Senior Conveyancer - South West We are see...

Austen Lloyd: Residential / Commercial Property Solicitor

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: DORSET MARKET TOWN - SENIOR PROPERTY SOLICITOR...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Tony Abbott: A man most Australian women would like to pat on the back...iron in hand

Caroline Garnar
Australian rapper Iggy Azalea performs in California  

Hip hop is both racial and political, and for Iggy Azalea to suggest otherwise is insulting

Yomi Adegoke
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there