Professional boxer and musician
I’ve been a professional boxer for four years, and boxing for around ten years in total. At the start, I didn’t know how to eat healthily so I started experimenting. I realised that cutting out meat and dairy helped me to maintain my weight and keep my strength.
I lost my first professional boxing fight a couple of years ago and it hit me quite hard. I started looking into mindfulness, and from there I was introduced to veganism and the importance of eating well. My girlfriend had been vegan before, and she is also into boxing, so we went vegan together.
When I went vegan my coach noticed that my performance improved. I stopped my next three opponents in a row – achieving Knock Out or Total Knock Out – and that had only happened once before. The lads at the gym noticed that I’m performing at a higher level too.
After being vegan for a while I noticed that I found it much easier to make the right weight. I can eat bigger portions and not have to worry. My stamina also improved. Boxing rounds are long, so you need to keep stamina up through the fights. I feel stronger morally too – now I feel like I have more of a purpose in life.
I’ve had surgery on my knee in the past because I tore my meniscus bucket handle a few years ago. It used to get inflamed and swell up and hurt every now and then, but since going vegan that has reduced. I can run on the road for much longer and I find that the next day it’s not so bad.
To be a good boxer, you need dedication and commitment to keep going and keep practicing even when it’s hard. It’s not an easy sport – you get knocks like injuries and you get mental knocks too. You need to be strong mentally as well as physically.
Before lockdown I was scheduled to fight for the English title, and I’m waiting patiently for that to be rescheduled. For a big event I start cranking up the training two or three months before, and during those weeks I train twice a day, sometimes three times. I box with my coach in the morning, and that’s when we do skipping and shadow boxing, sparring and other conditioning. Then I do a run later at night, and sometimes a swimming session or a weights session too.
To fuel my workouts, I have to eat well. I like to batch cook a couple of different dishes with my girlfriend on Sundays. We’ll make something Carribbean like ackee and chickpeas with veg and rice, and then another meal like noodles with veg and tofu or spaghetti Bolognese with soy mince.
We always make sure we’ve got protein in our meals, so whether that’s chickpeas or lentils or tofu, and then a carb like rice or pasta, and plenty of veg too. Protein shakes come in handy for training as well – it’s great that there are so many vegan ones now.
I’ve been experimenting with music ever since I was young. I’ve got a musical background from my father. At the moment I’m making music which reflects what I’m thinking about – I released my song ‘Go Vegan’ in April. I wanted to promote being vegan and put out something positive. I wrote the lyrics and produced the beat – the sound is reggae-influenced. I was surprised by the feedback – it’s been the fastest-growing song I’ve made so far.
Has going vegan helped you to thrive? If you have a story to share, please get in touch.