Jarrod Fletcher shares a hug with Richard Harvey at the end of their bout at the Hervey Bay PCYC on Thursday night.
Jarrod Fletcher shares a hug with Richard Harvey at the end of their bout at the Hervey Bay PCYC on Thursday night. Valerie Horton

Fletch and Harvey battle a hit

BOXING: I am not normally nervous before a sporting event, but this time it was different.

I was about to go three rounds with a national boxing champion and a world champion in the making.

Throwing up the lunchtime pasta was a big clue on that score and the big charity fight with Jarrod Fletcher was still six hours away.

You could say that I was feeling the tension of stepping into a boxing ring at the Hervey Bay PCYC against the lean, mean, fighting machine that Fletcher is for the Make A Wish Foundation.

I decided food was a no go at this stage – I didn’t want to throw up in the ring, so I thought I’d get to the venue early and mentally prepare myself for the showdown with the current Pan Asian Boxing Association middleweight champion, Olympian and Commonwealth Games gold medallist.

A spot of chilling to some tunes on my iPod seemed the go as I sat in the dressing room.

Somehow, and it was spooky if you ask me, Cat Stevens singing The First Cut is the Deepest wasn’t quite what I had in mind.

The signs were not looking good and that’s when Cass arrived.

My mate and champion physio Mark Cassidy had agreed to be in my corner for the night and he saw how nervous I was.

Cass got straight down to work.

“Take your top off,” he barked.

Hmmm.

“OK Cass,” I replied as he started to work his magic with his hands.

The massage really relaxed me.

When I came round my coach Craig Glover had finally turned up … he was late.

“At least you smell like a boxer,” he laughed as the oil Cass had used on my body smelt the room out.

“Now let’s get you ready, eh?”

With that he taped my hands (so I wouldn’t hit Fletch too hard, I presumed) and they felt great.

Someone had told me earlier in the week to “toughen up princess” after I had complained about how tough training had been.

Now I lifted the challenge – I felt real tough.

That was until Fletch glided past the door and winked at me.

Suddenly I was starting to feel nervous again and I needed to make a quick dash to the men’s to relieve myself, something I discovered wasn’t easy with gloves on.

I felt better after that and my date with Fletch in the Dungeon of Doom was almost upon me … and then it was.

I heard my entrance song, the Final Countdown, and it was showtime.

I marched into the cauldron with the Union Jack flying high in front of me and I stepped into the ring.

I gazed across at Fletch and winked.

He just smiled and I froze.

His first punch soon thawed me out and my struggle for survival had begun.

“Float like a butterfly sting like a bee,” that was Fletch.

Just when I thought I could clip him with a punch he was gone – once he even ended up behind me.

I appreciated that he wasn’t out to really hurt me, but he did give me a taste of what a real punch was like on a few occasions.

He said they were flicks – I say they were thunder punches.

In round two when he hit me with a good combination and I thought my head was going to fall off so I did what I had to do.

I grabbed hold of him and stayed there while my legs struggled to stop trembling – they finally did much to my delight but it was soon back on again.

The final two minute round was the longest 120 seconds of my life, I was totally exhausted, but I remained standing until the bell.

Fletch gave me a big hug and even bigger well done at the end of it.

He also gave me a black eye, sore jaw, cracked rib and an impressive-looking nose.

“Wounds heal and the glory lasts forever,” Fletch said to me.

“The chicks also love scars.”

Well, there’s a thought.

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