In the run up to the biennial Boodles Boxing Ball taking place this month, Hamilton and Hare sat down with Joanne Salley. Joanne won’t be sitting down for long as she is one of the coveted fighters in the hotly anticipated line up in the ring this September. She will be taking on fellow boxer Danielle Raper. The former Miss Northern Ireland has previously trained in ballet for fifteen years, so has all the makings to ‘float like a butterfly’ but under the strict guidance of coaches Scott Poulton and Carlos Andrade, she is sure to ‘sting like a bee’.
Modelling, presenting and now boxing! How did it all come about?
It was actually in 2008 after a trip to Miami with a friend. On the plane journey there I watched Million Dollar Baby. We visited in January and the weather was particular bad that month. We were walking and I could hear the 'ring of the round' coming from a nearby boxing gym. The ring was familiar from the film I had just watched and it stuck with me. So I decided to walk in and was met by a six-foot something boxer who asked if I wanted to take part. I never considered boxing before but I thought I love sport and fitness- so why not! So after buying the gloves and wraps I was back there the next evening and we trained for a week. I did a mixture of boxing and Bikram Yoga. When I returned to London I was the fittest I had ever been. I decided to then join a boxing gym on Harrow Road and it was great. It's a sport which definitely pushes you the furthest with your fitness. It became a part of me, I even attended a boxing training camp in Barcelona which included 7 mile morning runs, followed by full days of training- it was incredible. Both experiences have taught me a lot about the sport that you can be at your best when training with bags but to be able to take punches and give punches presents a whole different challenge for your body, mentally and physically.
What is your training regime like?
So my training is split into two parts. The first being strength and conditioning training which is being sponsored by KX gym which I do 3 times a week. This is where I do all my general weight training, it’s important to have this training supervised to make sure I’m doing the correct weights and not causing myself any injury. Training with a team by my side also ensures my posture, position and routine is perfect. The second is the technical skills training at Fitzroy lodge which I have been doing everyday over the last three months in the run up to Boodles boxing.
How do you mentally prepare yourself for a fight? Any pre-rituals?
Everybody is different but for me faith plays a crucial role in my mental training. I am Christian and praying for peace and control of my emotions before any fight is important for me. An angry fighter is not a good fighter. Being relaxed and remembering, with God anything is possible. Surprising to many, there is very little warm up before a fight as you want to keep your heart rate as low as possible. So some light pad work and moving of the arms and maybe some light skipping at most. I always like to take a moment, have my headphones on, close my eyes and visually see myself winning in my mind, celebrating with my arms in the air and using that as motivation.
This is the first time taking part in Boodles Boxing, it’s an important event for many, raising money for cancer research. What does the event mean for you?
On a personal level the event presented a new challenge for me and I always like to step out of my comfort zone. More importantly the event is raising money for Neuroblastoma, a rare form of childhood cancer. I was first made aware of the disease when a boy from back home Oscar Knox fell victim to the disease and sadly passed away. So when the opportunity of Boodles came along I was immediately on board. My target is to raise £10,000 and I’m currently over half way there.
By Ami Gujral