Boxing for Type 1 Diabetes

Brawl for a Cause 2018 is a charity boxing event that takes place once a year, and this year it took place on the field of Mercedes Benz Stadium. The event consists of 30 first time brawlers, each one standing up and fighting for a cause close to their heart.  I heard about the event from some friends and after applying I was lucky enough to be accepted as a brawler in this event.  I stepped into the boxing ring on a mission to raise money and man what a journey it was.   

 

A few months before fight night, i found out that I had been selected, and then shortly after that, I found out that I was going to be fighting against an ex NFL defensive back who played multiple years in the league, and was an all pro player.  First instinct, hell yeah lets do this, then reality set in and I was like shit,  I gotta get my tail into boxing gear and need to get there quick.  

 

I was in no way shape or form a pro boxer, so first I had to learn all the basics.  My good buddy Adam Gil, who is also a personal trainer and boxing coach with us at our personal training studio, started training me two days per week.  He told me I also had to get signed up at a good boxing gym to start getting tons of reps in and eventually to get some hard sparring sessions in before the big day.  So sure enough, I ended up joining a boxing gym in Doraville, Ga, called Paul Murphy Boxing Club.  This was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made signing up at this place.  This is not a cardio/ kickboxing style gym… instead it is a gym full of guys training to become professional boxers.  Some of them already were pros, others were amateurs chasing their dreams.  Watching these guys put in the amount of work day in and day out is something that I admire and love to see.   It gave me a whole new amount of respect for boxing, it’s no joke, and these workouts that these guys do every single day is pretty dang nuts and inspiring!

 

We started by working basic pad work on the mitts, hitting the heavy bag and learning combinations, and then eventually sparring.  The adrenaline rush I would get everytime before sparring is something that I have become obsessed with, it’s a grind every single time.  There really is nothing like taking punches to the face and the body, sometimes to the point where you’re tasting your own blood and then digging deep and firing right back at your opponent.  The first few times I sparred I was really wild and completely gassed, but over time I started feeling better and better each day and learning how to box smarter.  

 

I can’t thank Bert Wells enough, aka Sugar Bert (owner of Paul Murphy club), this dude pushed me past my limits every single time I was in there training.  He grinded me mentally like my gears have never been pushed, there were times that I was getting my ass kicked so bad that I debated quitting.  But he would constantly say it’s better to fall on your face moving forward than to throw in the towel.  This is one of the biggest things that I am going to try to live my life after, fall forward rather than falling back on your ass.  Do something everyday to move in the direction that you want to go, don’t just hang out and be content, instead get up and go after your goals.  We all feel like we have nothing left in the tank when we hit a wall, or get our ass kicked, or when diabetes is literally kicking our ass… but Bert helped teach me that no matter what, you always have something left in the tank.. and when you are getting your ass kicked, you have to get back up and give it your all and fight for what you believe in.  Knowing that I was going to be stepping in the ring on the field of Mercedes Benz Stadium, in front of my friends and family and in front of celebrities such as Evander Holyfield and Roy Jones Jr, and representing Type 1 Diabetes, was enough motivation for me to keep pushing it day after day even when I was completely gassed at times and mentally tko’d.

 

Training for this event was one of the toughest things Ive ever done, and there’s no doubt it made me a much stronger person inside and out.  There were a few times that my blood sugar bottomed out and there were times that I was tasting my own blood after catching haymakers to the face.  I even broke two knuckles in my right hand about a week and a half before fight night, so physically and mentally I was toasted most days. I think overall the toughest part for me was having to get off of the diabetes sensor and having to go back to constantly pricking my finger over and over.  I feel like it would be so much easier rocking the sensor during the fight, but could you imagine getting punched in that thing?    So this was a struggle at first but eventually I got into the groove and figured out how to manage my sugars good enough for the training sessions.   

 

Fight night came and the event was a blast. I was so blessed to be able to raise a lot of money with the help of friends and family, we raised over $7500 for JDRF.  This meant the world to me, and I cannot thank everyone enough for all of the support. The fight night was 15 bouts consisting of 30 fighters, standing up and fighting for great causes.  My fight was one of the later ones, we weren’t scheduled to fight until 10pm.  Throughout the day and night I was anxious and nervous, stomach was going nuts pretty much all day to the point that I could hardly even stomach any food.   We duked it out for 2 1/2 rounds, and I was fortunate to get the win.  Ill be posting the fight link on here and you can check it out if you want to watch some fun amateur boxing.

 

I’ve fallen hard for the sport of boxing and am going to keep fighting… I’m on a mission to take this as far as I can and do a lot more fights in the near future and represent T1D.   I hope this inspires you to step out of your comfort zone and go after your goals whatever they may be.  Do not be afraid to go after something new.  The failures and the grind are what life is all about… if you learn from your mistakes and keep pushing and get better along the way, then you can go get whatever you want in this life!   

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Brawl on!

 

-Jonathan

 

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