When I got to thinking about what to write about my time in Taiwan this year I thought I could probably sum it up as a bit of happiness and a bit of sorrow (and everything in between). This was my first time back in the ring after a one and a half year lay off so I was absolutely crawling out of my skin rearing to go. I was also a bit nervous because I was the only one representing Australia – I had no support crew, no coach – it was just myself and Paul Oliver – the film maker.
The opening scene is one of me on our hotel roof top. It was humid and raining and there was something mistical about the mood. Thats when Paul pulled out the camera. The roof top was littered with plants and buddhist paraphenalia. I had the best time shadow boxing in the rain, getting my head and heart ready to punch on!
The live drummers were incredible. I didn’t realize my mouth was wide open throughout the whole performance, it was heart stopping, with everyone playing in sync.
The shot cuts to me standing behind the Australia placard next to the other teams of up to 22 people in their crew. I had no team member because Boxing Australia decided not to send anyone to this competition so my gym (Stockade) sent me nonetheless. Luckily I had my own volunteer, Gina Lu who was my soul sister. She was so good to me, made sure I had everything and made sure I was taken care of. I forced her to stand behind me in all the ceremonies so that I didn’t look like such an idiot standing there all alone. Gina made sure I was watered and fed, treated me like a VIP. Fanned me before fights, she was an absolute gem; Taiwan hospitality.
I enter the ring with Team Singapore because, I had no coach! I was lucky to have met Arvind and Bala during lunch one day and they happily agreed to corner me while I fought. They were gentlemen in the way they treated me, such an openness to share information and make sure I was looked after. They believed in my abilities and they pushed me to find my strengths in each fight.
First bout: Macau
Easy walk over really; the fight gets stopped in the third round because I had knocked her down three times in the fight. The last time I knock her down the ref steps in to call it off. Victory!
Bout two: Mongolia
Man that was one of the toughest opponents I have ever fought. This woman wanted to take my head off. I knew it as soon as we touched gloves and I saw her eyes full of intent. After the first round I knew she wanted to kill me but I also knew that I was fitter than her. I could hear her panting loudly when we fought in close and I knew I could out work her. So I did…
Again Victory (by the skin of the teeth), I jump around like a lunatic when they announce it – I’m in the semis now, I have the opportunity to medal.
I’m beaming about this fight – I am pure professional with my attitude and with my preparation – I will get victory no matter what, I know that I can make it to the finals. I have got this far and I can do it, I truly believe in myself. I knew the fight was mine because for one second when we touched gloves in the center, for one split second I see fear in her eyes. There was nothing but victory in my mind. And then there it was – WINNER. The finals the next day.
I fight the hugest woman I have ever fought. She is North Korean and a giant. This is OK except she is also a south pro, something I am not too confident with and something I have not prepared myself for. She is tall and she is lanky. I lose and I cry. I am gutted that I got so close yet lost in the finals. I know I should be grateful but losing hurts.
I hang around for the closing ceremony and medal presentation and I think actually, I am stoked. I got so far. My coach in Canberra is proud and I am happy with myself. I made friends and it has put me on the journey again to the Commonwealth Games. Losing has made me a hungrier fighter and I am grateful.
When I look back at the footage now, it really was a secret garden that is hard to put down into words. Since going to Taiwan there has been a snow ball of events. One, is that I approached THR1VE to support me. I sat down with the owner – Josh Sparks. We had a frank conversation about what it is that I am aiming to achieve. He and THR1VE and I are on the same page with what it is I am about, in the goals that I am setting myself: healthy eating, self development and in aiming big. Healthy living and healthy eating is at the center of my universe and THR1VE are in my corner helping me along the way through the happiness, the sorrow and everything in between.
– Bam Bam