The Story of Boxing and I — Avril mathie (2024)

“Aren’t you scared of being punched in the face?” Is almost always the response when people ask about me boxing competitively. And I guess it is an odd combination given my international pageant titles (Las Vegas International Model Search2016 and Miss Swimsuit USA International2014) and sideline modelling career haha, but to be honest its not really something I am concerned about. I mean, no one enjoys being punched in the face haha, but you don’t get into the ring just to be a punching bag; the aim of the game is to punch without getting punched, to master the art of movement. So I guess you could say that the likely possibility of getting punched in the face is just extra motivation to train hard, be smart and untouchable 😉

For me, boxing is like a cross between a game of chess, poker and the ultimate fitness test.It crosses tactics, trickery, mental and physical strength in a way that no other sport does. Not only do you have to work your opponent out and come up with a constantly changing game plan in just milliseconds, you have to be able to have the physical ability to carry it out, on your own. I remember years ago watching combat sports thinking, “come on, just scoot around and hit him there with that punch” or whatever, and its not until you’re in the ring yourself and realise that the fighter probably knew that, his trainer knew it too and was screaming it at him from the corner, but he just couldn’t physically do it haha.

The training you put in to prepare for a fight forces you to learn a lot about who you are as a person. As not just a boxer but a trainer also, I can bear witness to the fact that the way people train is generally how we live every other part of our lives too. To actually step into the ring and fight takes guts and commitment, which gives you the opportunity to strengthen your character and be the person you want to be (whoever that may be) and have that attitude transpire into all other aspects of your life.

People often ask me, “why boxing? Why not muay thai? Or MMA?”and the fact is I actually started off doing Muay Thai when I was 16. A guy grabbed my butt at a party so I turned around and punched him on the chin, incorrectly of course, and almost broke my thumb. Haha, but my unrestrained hostility was apparent enough for his friend to come up to me afterward and suggest that I join his Muay Thai class the next week, so I did. I trained in Muay Thai on and off for years, and from when I was about 22 I even started to take regular trips to Thailand to train there. Though late in 2012 I broke my foot in training, which was just one of a number of constant training injuries. At the time I was training with a coach that had a strong background in boxing and so as a way to stay fit until I could kick again, he started to teach me not just technique but also the tactical side of boxing.

Until then, I never realised how different the 2 sports were and how much more you need to think in boxing. Muay Thai is literally just 2 people standing in front of each other and a test of who is tougher can react faster. In boxing you have only your hands, so you need to be a lot smarter and fitter to manoeuvre your whole body around the ring. I always laugh when girls tell me they’d rather do kickboxing over boxing because they want to work their legs… I’m like, “girl, you have clearly never boxed properly” haha.I have never had more compliments on my butt and legs than since I started boxing. And no, I don’t “squat” (outside of rolling under punches) … well rarely, and not more than like 15kg anyway haha.

Learning the art and science behind boxing was what made me interested in actually fighting for the for the first time.I mean, how else to put my new knowledge to the test? Sparring is fun, but the adrenaline, the learning process, and the ultimate challengereallycomes when you are in that pressure situation of an actual fight. After the first time I was addicted, so it was only natural to have 10 more, and I don’t plan to stop there. So far I’m up to 11 fights, with 8 wins including 1 TKO.

I’ve been lucky enough to have trained with some of the best in my time, starting with Chris Carden from Platinum Boxing Club on the Gold Coast (Australia),Mayweather Boxing Gym, UNLV and Top Rank in Vegas, and for the past month I’ve been training at the World Famous 5th St Boxing Gymin Miami (Florida), which has been amazing to say the least. Everyone has their own different style; there is no one way to box. So training with guys at the top of their game is not only super motivating, but if you keep your eyes, ears and mind open you can always learn something from everyone that you can incorporate into your own style. That never-ending learning process keeps me hooked.

The second question is usually “so does it hurt getting punched in the head?”At the time, no. Well, not for me anyway. There is so much adrenaline pumping in a fight the only thing I feel is if I can still see and breathe or not. I tend to be so focussed on the job at hand that all other pain senses switch off, until the next day or hours after the fight at least haha. I have had many a black eye, generally from sparring more than actual fights, but nothing a bit of make up can’t cover up and a couple of paracetamol can take away the pain. Give me minor black eyes any day over the deeply bruised shins, knee, hip and ankle injuries, broken toes, limps and tennis elbows I’ve had from Muay Thai and would no doubt endure from MMA! 😉

The Story of Boxing and I — Avril mathie (2024)
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