Every fighter will eventually have to face the transition from training to actual combat. This can be more intimidating for a fighter than the fights themselves. While they train hard for their fitness, strength and technical abilities, adequate preparation to deal with the weigh-ins, crowds and media can be almost non-existent aside from a few words of rushed advice. It's not uncommon to see a fighter perform badly or gas out not due to fitness, but from the sheer nervous energy. Even for fighters familiar with a show, they still need to new sparring partners from who they can learn from.
The fighter and coach know that they need to minimise every single weakness which could cost them victory. Pre-event nerves is no different. Firewalker Olympic Boxing Club reached out to the Royal Irish 1st Battalion Boxing Squad based at Clive Barracks in Ternhill, Shropshire. Both squads have fighters ready for battle and it was quickly recognised how valuable this experience would be for everyone involved. The aim was to try to recreate an actual fight event as closely as possible including weigh ins and crowds. Boxers from both teams were matched to weight and experience as much as possible.
The Royal Irish Squad is currently preparing for the infamous Fox Cup Competition which dates back to the Irish Rangers and tests the competitors' skills off of the battlefield. The Fox Competition is a week of intense sports rivalry between the Companies and focuses solely on sporting prowess. Each Ranger, trains every day to close in and engage their enemy and to defend their country. They have all deployed on overseas missions.
The Royal Irish Regiment is the only Regiment to have been awarded a collective Conspicuous Gallantry Cross; awarded by Her Majesty The Queen on 6th October 2006 in recognition of the bravery, sacrifice and service of The Ulster Defence Regiment and the Home Service Battalions of The Royal Irish Regiment.
The 1st Battalion has recently changed role from air assault infantry and is now at the forefront of developing the Foxhound vehicle as the Army’s first Light Mechanized Battalion. Based in Tern Hill, Shropshire, they have deployed globally since re-rolling. The 1st Battalion has a strong history of recent deployments including Iraq, Afghanistan, Mali and numerous other overseas deployments and exercises. The Royal Irish Regiment is an agile fighting force, the spear point of the British armed forces.
A Battalion is used to describe Infantry, Royal Electrical & Mechanical Engineers and Intelligence corps only. Any units outside of these are know as Regiments. A Battalion/Regiment is comprised of 5-7 Companies. Each Company is around 100 personnel and comprises of 3 Platoons. Each Platoon is divided into 3 Sections and the Platoon size is around 28 soldiers. A Section has eight soldiers and split into two Fireteams. A Fireteam is the smallest unit in the British Army comprising of 4 soldiers.
Fireteam => Section => Platoon => Company => Battalion/Regiment.
Corporal Alex Shepherd lead the Royal Irish boxing squad on the day and along with two other coaches (not present) train the Battalion's boxing team. They take it in turns performing this duty in their spare time and when they are not on duty. Cpl Shepherd used to box in the Army's Development Squad which competes in the England Boxing Development Championships. All of the competing boxers have under 20 bouts and will progress to the Elite Squad once they complete their 20th fight. Unfortunately after his sixteenth fight, an injury affected his vision stopped his progress and he turned his talents to coaching instead.
Firewalker Olympic Boxing Club, based in Wolverhampton has a large talent pool to draw upon. Many members of the Fitness and Martial Arts club already train in boxing for recreational and self-defence purposes. FWOBC was born to divert and nurture talent to focus on Olympic Boxing and ultimately to develop a strong roster of 15-20 Senior Boxers (aged 18+)
Head Coach Joby Clayton leads the Team and is supported by Assistant Coaches Kevin Blower and Paul Warrilow. Joby Clayton has 26 years experience in coaching amateur and professional boxers. Kevin Blower was a top ranked amateur middleweight boxer in the 1990s and has battled Carl Froch (33-2) in a close fight at the 1999 ABA National Finals in Coventry. Paul Warrilow has followed boxing closely all his life and is one of the first members to join Firewalker Fitness and Martial Arts.
Soloman Dacres made a guest appearance to help out with the heavy weights. Soloman fights out of Warley Amateur Boxing Club and was able to lend his considerable experience to the FWOB and Army heavyweights. Solomon was the 2015 Super Heavyweight National Novice Champion and the 2016 ABA Elite Semi-Finalist. He has recently been invited into the England Boxing Squad and is now a confirmed member.
Making a special appearance was Fierce Edge All Star, Ben Whittaker who had just finished training with Team Great Britain in Sheffield where he was training with the Podium Potential Squad for the Tokyo Olympics 2020. Ben didn't fight on the day but came down to watch the exciting rounds.
Royal Irish 1st Battalion
Firewalker Olympic Boxing Club
|Rgr Rob Doyle||94.4||Solomon Dacres (Warley ABA)||101||2|
|Hosea Stewart||120||Solomon Dacres (Warley ABA)||101||3|
|Rgr Sammy||66.5||Bikram Singh Brainch||70.4||3|
|Rgr Colagan||Franklin Smith||62.3||3|
|Rgr Reidy||72.5||Bradley Townley||77.1||3|
|Charlton?||71.6||Ian Vee Reid||71.2||3|
|Lcpls McMichael||69||Ram Mondhaer||58.9||3|
|Rgr Haynes||69||Harpeet Kang||71.8||3|
|Rgr Bobby Whelan||74||Dan Ball||76.9||3|
|Rgr Colagan||66.9||Josh Pearson||61.7||3|
|Rgr Reidy||72.5||Ricky Ram||74.6||3|
|Rgr Rob Doyle||94.4||Hosea Stewart||120||3|
Every fighter could walk away proud of their performance and no doubt learned some valuable lessons. Coaches were able to assess areas which areas needed to be developed and improved on. For the Royal Irish boxing squad, it's worth mentioning their grit for coming into another fighter's 'backyard' and having to fight in front of a home crowd no matter how respectful they were of the fighters.
Do you have a favourite fight? Did any fighter stand out for you? Let us know what you think about the event!
Firewalker Olympic Boxing Club is located at 1 Salisbury Street, Wolverhampton, West Midlands, WV3 0BG.
Follow the The Royal Irish Battalion with #royalirishwarrior and the British Army #britisharmyboxing
Firewalker Olympic Boxing Club is sponsored by Fenax Limited.
Catering on the day was provided by ECC Sports and Social Club.
Follow the Fierce Edge ALL ACCESS VLOG Series. In Season 1 we follow amateur boxer, Ben Whittaker as he starts his journey to Olympic Gold in 2020.