I really would love to tell you as much as I remember from the fight, but I don’t think it’ll be easy. I will do my best. Please bear in mind that this particular post is dedicated to those who didn’t experienced White Collar Challenge – as yet. This is a reflection of my own experience and does not necessarily matches other White Collar boxer’s opinions.
…The match starts long time before the challenge – in the changing room, where you still have time to meet other contestants – including your opponent. This is the moment of truth. I haven not seen the guy I will be fighting at all – upon my own request. When William asked me if it would be all right to see each other on Saturday, two weeks before the fight in the gym I said – sure, but there would be no element of surprise if we’ll do so. I think the outcome of email exchange was to avoid any contact until the fighting day. I think it was very healthy approach. For the fighters it is better to not imagine – unimaginable. Instead you remain focused on your own performance without bothering what the other guy is up to – worked for me. Of course you cannot avoid this tiny but almighty element of “wonder” – what if? – but eventually it disappeared in the gym. Each time I hit the boxing bag I felt confident. Far away from my wits and wonders.
…Before the fight you could warm up or plug yourself into the ‘ZEN‘ mode with the set of your own music tracks. Exercising punches with specially assigned boxing attendant was an option. The guy is completely prepared to stand in your corner during the fight. Fully trained WCB personnel so no worries – your’re in good hands. Some contestants had their own coach taking care of their routines. If you have one – use him, my humble advise. But not every boxer needed attendant’s care before the fight. I saw few great individuals who did well without having such special care. At the time – for me having such attendant was disturbing. With full respect to what these guys do – it took me away from my own routine – I was in my own zone and I really didn’t want anyone to interfere. I tried to isolate myself as much as situation allowed. But hey, everything was new to me so I agreed to most of that to happen.
…The gear – head protection, gloves, shirt and shorts are given to you first thing. Remember, color don’t matter – this is just a game not some mortal challenge.
RED isn’t the color of Gladiators and unless you’ll take it literally – you remain super cool, not super-superstitious. Well, guess what? I didn’t got it by every letter.
I wrote my own battle scenario and it wasn’t black and white. Somehow I imagined red will bring me luck as it always have. I am very attached to the color of blood.
…All boxers names are being displayed on the board upon arrival so you know what time is your fight. The perfect timing is 20:00 where the venue is full of people. By that time the temperature inside the ring is probably the highest possible. The mercury hits the room badly and sweat appears minutes before the game starts. Floor inside the ring is wet, sweat and bloody. Few fights just ended and boxing fans starve for more action. You hear the crowd, audience roars, music lowers the ceiling so shouts can reach you quicker. You feel thunder under your skin, its your music – it is your time to shine. – Artur! It’s you now! You’re ready?! Let’s GO!
…– You gotta be fucking kidding me. – yes, these were my words in my head when making my way to the ringside. Bright lights from all around hits you blind, people crowded the path to the ringside, can’t see much – I pushed some guy aside trying to make my way through this mess. – I didn’t know it’ll be like that, it is too loud! But I love it! – I thought. I recognized my track from speakers: “Immortal“. Strong, steady, complete. – Is it the right track for this moment? It suppose to calm me down and I feel like the last guy relaxed right now. My thought tangled. Minutes ago I felt hungry to compete now I feel like a pot filled with wonders.
I reached the steps, climbed into the ring. So many things I haven’t seen in my whole life – These ropes, fuck their tight. Am I going to trip or make through at all?
…Managed to reach my corner – it is red. – It is fucking awesome. Did you see the Gladiator movie? You must remember the scene when Gladiators for the first time made their way to the arena in Rome? Fully geared, armored with spears in their hands – all looking up and around they never imagined to see – witness to be in such situation, as for them everything was larger than life itself. I had almost exactly the same thoughts about my bout. Nothing could be further from truth – nothing is to be expected from now on. And no, I don’t feel confident. The atmosphere grabs you and now you’re completely relying on instinct. I couldn’t wait to see how am I going to manage – unmanageable, as from now on I watched my own back. From now there would be no tries, no waits, no stopping nor 50 or 60%.
…It’s 100% real, full power at full speed. Is this fight something? Somehow I wanted this moment to last. This fight? For me this bout meant absolutely everything.