I was really looking forward to providing my services to the boxers and trainers once again, just as I did this time last year. Most of the boxers I know very well, so it is like seeing members of my family again for the final time before the new year commences. I have worked with them all for more than a year now and am pleased that they finally realise the benefits of my sports massage. When I first started working with them I remember having to chase them to get them to lie down and let my hands do their work. Now a year later, I hardly have any chance to rest in between boxers and their requests for massage :D.
I arrived at the boxing event for the weigh-in before the main show kicked off at 7pm, although for me there was plenty to do other than just socialise. The room was full of people with the boxers, trainers and their supporting friends who came to see if their boxer had managed to come in on their weight and if not then it meant sweating it out. Most of the boxers were on weight and some ended up in the sauna. It was nice to see that a few of the boxers and trainers who recognised me took time to come over and have a little chat and a handshake which was a nice warm welcome for me..
All Queensbury boxing events have a weigh-in followed by a medical for the boxers, to ensure that the boxers are medically fit for the event. They are asked a few relevant questions regarding any recent any injuries or operations and whether or not they have any allergies. Checks such as blood pressure are carried out.
I am immediately approached by some boxers as soon as their medical is over as they are keen to book their pre-fight sports massage. I set up my table in one of the changing rooms and start working on some of the boxers like ‘Rockin’ Robin Deakin who tells me he has just come back from filming – his day finishing at 3am that morning. He needed a little loosening up session on his back and legs because they were slightly tense. I worked on him nearer his fight time to get his leg mobility back.
I also worked on Leroy Manhertz as he was suffering from an old injury to his right knee making his right leg unbalanced, tight and not very flexible. Around his right knee I found some scar tissue. This scar tissue made his hamstring tight as well so I worked on it, doing some kneading and stretching to try to get this knee and leg back in balance.
His glute was also slightly tense so it was important to work on it to get his hip balance correct reducing pressure on his lower back. By working on these muscle groups I managed to stabilise his right knee. After his fight I asked him how it was? He happily informed me it was brilliant and recognised that he would have to have regular treatment to keep this up and get it sorted.
I was also very pleased to see professional photographer Samantha Wordie on my massage table. Sam takes the pictures at all the Queensbury events consisting generally of the boxers in action and victory as well as pictures of the event itself and its guests and staff. Her pictures are of fantastic quality and are available for purchase after the event, giving a lifetime memory for all concerned. She also regularly takes pictures of me when I’m working on the boxers or trainers, which only raises my profile in an even more professional manner. Sam came to see me before the show because her lower back had been killing her for the past 2 weeks. Like me, she needed it to be sorted before the long night ahead and she needed it to be in good condition so she could do her job in as enjoyable a manner as possible. I did a little lumbar spine release, skin rolling and a few lower back stretches and she was done and ready to roll for the night. She is also one of my regular clients who can handle the pain like a real man 😀
Downstairs I could hear the show getting ready to roll as I was busy upstairs with my boxers or their trainers. The O’Neil Boxing Club was particularly interested in my method as they watched me work on one of their boxers Sam Holloway – a regular of mine in the past few weeks after a long injury problem with his lower back. He went on to win his fight convincingly. I managed to fix his problem in just 2 visits which other medical people couldn’t do in 8 months. O’Neills are now keen to lie down under my hands and experience it for themselves.
The first of their team on my table was Anthony Hill who complained about his tight shoulder and his right side of serratus anterior and intercostal muscles between the rib. These were causing him discomfort whilst breathing when his ribcage moved upwards or twisted. In his shoulders I used my signature technique of “just the thumb”, combined with MET (Muscle Energy Technique), STR (Soft Tissue Technique) and PNF (Proprioceptive, Neuromuscular Filtration stretching) On his serratus anterior muscle I did skin rolling in the lie down position and kneading, although the main technique I used was STR. I worked on this area until all the necessary boxing movements were painless. I was very impressed to see his fight where he won the gold medal – well done Anthony.
Sam Holloway, as I said before came to me with lower back injury problems that conventional medical help could not rectify. I asked him how he felt after the treatment and he said ‘great mate’ so I just quickly checked out any tender areas which thanks to the regular treatment did not require any deep work. I did a quick warm up of his main muscle groups, checked his pelvis and it was still in line. I did a warm up massage on his legs, arms and shoulders, before he started his own warm up routine with his trainers. I was pleased and proud of him and very pleased with the work I did on him because he managed to defend his Middleweight Title. Seeing this encouraged me more and made me realise that what I do is worth doing and yes I love every minute of it.
After this, the rest of the O’Neill Boxing Club members came to me for a little taster. Some of them had a few problems, but nothing I couldn’t fix.
Later on I popped into the other changing room to see Nathan Mizon whose trainer told me that he had pain in his right arm during a practice strike which radiated up his right shoulder. There was no time to move my massage table so I started to treat him in a sitting position on the chair working on his upper arm, elbow, wrist flexors and extendors. I discovered that he had a bad pull on the brachiaradialis muscles for the last 2 weeks, which affected his training to the extent that he was starting to compensate with other muscle groups in his arm. The rhomboids and the upper fibre of the trapezius was tender. I managed to loosen them up using some kneading techniques. Also I found that the lateral side of the deltoids also had some functional difficulties and felt tender as well. But the main problem was his brachiaradialis insertion which was causing him some pain. I explained to him the importance of breathing and the breathing technique which made it slightly more bearable but it was still painful for him. I asked him to do some tests on it after working on it for 10 minutes. We kept working on it until most of the pain was released. Unfortunately there was still not enough time to fix his problem 100 percent but he was pleased with the result and I explained to him that next time he should not leave it and just get in touch with a therapist, to get it fixed before it gets worse again.
The rest of the night I worked with the Juggernauts Boxing Gym boxers. They were already lining up for their warm up session with me. First was Gareth Gardner who is the proud owner of both Super Middleweight and Middleweight titles. This time he was defending his Middleweight title. He came to see me a few weeks ago and regularly sees me to maintain top condition for training days and of course for this fight. I hoped I’d managed to prepare him for the challenge because I wanted to see him bring the belt back again. He was in good shape thanks to the previous treatment. No major area of tenderness was found. A quick warm up and he was off for his own warm up to prepare mentally for his fight. He had a brilliant fight and managed to defend his Middleweight title and remain the Queensbury Boxing League British Middleweight Champion.
Lee Cannon also visited me a few weeks back because his back and shoulders were a problem but this time he did not need any warm up massage as he felt great which showed in his brilliant fight against Tom Knight – the defending champion who was defeated by Lee in the fight for the Novice Welterweight title. After his shower he lay down on my table to have his well deserved post fight sports massage done.
Next in line was Roo Abbott who also asked for some muscle relaxation using deep heat oil and for me to check his shoulders and back to see if anything needed fixing before he stepped into the ring for his first title fight. His shoulder was a little tense and the rhomboids needed a little work. I managed to work out the issues and he went on to have a brilliant fight, coming back to the changing room with a big smile on his face with his first title belt win.
I finished with Kevin Sheridan who kept telling me that he’d wanted to come and see me but always had to cancel for some reason. This time there was no escape for him. The rest of the Juggernauts boys had waited for this for a long time, wanting to enjoy every minute to see how good the boss was at taking his own advice :D. He was brave as he started to take the deep thumb and elbow pressure on his back and his shoulders. Every technique was causing him pain so much so that even the door ladies could hear who was on the massage table now. It was an enjoyable treatment and everyone liked it. I’m sure Kevin did as well even if he was shouting ‘help’ in between each breath. 😀
Overall this day was a very special day in my life where all my “boys” that I have treated both throughout their training periods and before their fights had either defended or won their title belt. It was nice to see that what I do has a real effect on their boxing performances, as it was nice to see their faces light up, proud of their victories, making me feel proud to be part of it and proud of them all.
I want to say a very big thank you the Queensbury Boxing League and to all the staff for being invited to be part of their team of 2012. I am sure there will be many years to come, where the shows go from strength to strength producing some of the best quality boxing ever in the UK and worldwide.
I also want to say a special thank you to Samantha Wordie for the lovely pictures that she has taken of me throughout the year at these boxing events, making my write ups brighter and more enjoyable whilst making my profile more prominent.
Finally, I wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year which for the boxers means a good rest. See you boys in 2013. 😀
Edited by Jacquie Russell. www.jacquierussell.com