The 13th October was yet another fantastic night of boxing for the Queensbury Boxing League Challenger Series ‘Fight Nights’ held at the Effingham Park hotel. Once again I was delighted to be given the opportunity to take part in my capacity as Sports Masseur giving both pre-and post sports massage to boxers. On this occasion I was particularly pleased as I had the opportunity to meet many boxers new to the Queensbury scene which gave me the chance to promote the importance of regular massage treatment particularly during the 8 week training period leading up to competition.
There were a few pleasant surprises on the night with familiar faces such as Daniel Soares whom I have treated previously. The atmosphere in the changing room was friendly and very welcoming although the mood was a mixture of excitement and pre-fight nerves especially for those fighters about to make their debut appearance – I’m sure in their position I would feel the same. I was particularly touched to see many people whom I’d never met come up and say hello to me and it made me realise that I am recognised as a small part of the mechanism that drives the big Queensbury machine that gives people the opportunity to participate in or support those who enter the boxing ring.
Arriving 1.40pm, unfortunately missing part of the weigh-in, I found myself instantly very busy treating boxers prior to the start of the show at 7pm. After a brief interlude to give the door/ticket ladies a well deserved shoulder and neck rub I discovered that by the time I’d finished the boxers were already lying down for more massage. No rest for the wicked 😀
First on my couch was Artur Gorka, a Polish boxer who asked me to work on his legs to improve his legwork during the fight. In order to improve legwork the legs have to be flexible. Artur explained that during training he was running 3 miles a day which would undoubtedly contribute to tight calves, hamstrings and buttocks which in turn affect the hips and the lower back. Luckily his hips were in line but there was a fair degree of tension in the hamstrings, buttocks and calf muscles.
In my experience I tend to find that it is fairly commonplace for boxers to experience tightness in the ITB (Illiotibial Band) and TFL (Tensor Fascia Latae) which affects the legs – especially the knees. Artur – like many boxers – also presented with weak inside leg/groin muscle tone. It would be good if it could be implemented into a boxers training whereby attention was paid to working on both the lateral (inside) and medial (outside) of the leg not solely on the Quads and Hamstring muscle groups.
The next boxer onto the couch was Sean Henneberry who had similar problems to Artur with tight leg muscles but required treatment also to his right shoulder. Then followed David Cove who required work mainly to the elbow area on his arm particularly the flexors and extendors. Locating his triceps it was noticeable that his right tricep (striking arm) was slightly hyper extended – a very common cause of elbow problems with boxers. Proper treatment would be required before the situation became worse. A hyper extended elbow is caused by fast and repeated movements such as is typically found in boxing. Unfortunately in David’s case it was not the elbow causing problems during the fight, more the cuts on his face causing severe bleeding ultimately making his fight more challenging.
I also had the opportunity to treat Daniel Soares again, having first met him at the Queensbury Boxing League’s September show ‘Quest For Glory’. Here Daniel was keen to obtain treatment for his back, shoulders and arm in readiness for his fight against fellow heavyweight Ian Garwood.
Daniel explained to me that his arms felt heavy and that he would like to have them loosened up before going into the ring. Compared to his last treatment with me it was good to see that his back and shoulders were in much better condition this time and I relayed this information back to him. He then informed me that he had taken my advice and carried out the recommended stretching exercises which is always nice for a sports masseur to hear. I loosened up his lower back and his shoulders. His forearm muscles were slightly tight especially the extendors but nevertheless Daniel went on to win his fight in a brilliant manner.
Then it was the turn of Juggernauts boxer Andy Duffy to land on my couch. With his pre- fight massage having been performed by another masseur. It was interesting to see how other therapists work by giving gentle massage for boxers before they enter the ring. Whilst I do not wish to criticise other professionals, I don’t necessarily agree with this because this kind of massage makes the boxers sleepy and it can affect their performance, although having said that Andy won his fight and it was a pleasure to offer him the post sports massage. I managed to loosen out his lower back and his legs and worked on his glutes, hamstrings and calf muscles. These areas were very tense but he kept smiling whilst I worked on him and I hope I will have a chance to work on him again.
Boxer Chris Brill also requested a pre-fight sports massage. His back was tight and again the lower back was tense. It was a quick massage because his fight was imminent. His trainer requested only a light massage. I think some of the trainers have to educate themselves if you give light massage to the boxer instead of heavy massage they tend to fall asleep during the fight. Chris was unfortunately defeated although the general consensus of opinion was that he was the better fighter on the night.
The final fighter on my couch was Jason Pile Gray – a main event contender fighting for the super middleweight title against Tom Dolan. I massaged his back, legs, shoulders and arms with particular attention paid to his legs and pectoralis major muscles. His shoulders were slightly tight but nothing major was found. His legs especially his hamstrings and the calf muscles were slightly tense. When he entered the ring it didn’t take long to realise that his punches were strong and fast and he wasted no time in executing a technical knockout against his opponent in the first round. It was a pleasure to work on him and I sincerely hope to have chance to work on him again at the future events.