Editor-at-large Alexi Duggins is at your mercy. So you sent him into a punch up.
They say that it’s not the size of the man in the fight that counts but the size of the fight in the man. Admittedly, I’m unsure who ‘they’ are. But given that I have biceps like a string of sausages, it’s the only hope I have. So as I prepare to visit Boxit 2 the Beat – a boxing exercise class in a nightclub with a DJ spinning house music – I’m hoping it’s not the same ‘they’ who say things like ‘the pen is mightier than the sword’. Because I’m guessing their advice leads to people getting their arses kicked.
As I set foot in Brixton’s 414 nightclub, I take in the flickering, coloured lights. I note the sparkling disco balls and I glare terrifyingly at opponents who are humungously masculine… Oh. Actually, it’s mainly women. ‘Don’t worry,’ offers Boxit founder Danni Davis, ‘the first couple of numbers are basically choreography but it gets more macho after that.’ For two songs, we jump up and down on the spot, doing punch combos while Danni stands in front of us, shouting directions into a headset. Then we divide into pairs, break out boxing gloves and pads, and it’s time to punch. Obviously I claim that testosterone-fuelled punchicuffs are me all over. Because I am like a preshaken can of whoop-ass. And I am primed for a creamy explosion in another man’s face. Though Lord knows why this statement draws sniggers. Certainly my male partner isn’t amused.
As we pull off a mix of uppercuts and hooks, Calvin Harris’s ‘Bounce’ bloops away in the background. Then, as we see how much non-stop punching we can do in a minute, Eric Prydz instructs us to call on him. ‘Strong!’ yells my partner as I pummel the pads on his hands. ‘Very strong!’ Never mind beating someone to a punch – I’ve got what it takes to punch someone to a beat. It’s not a million miles away from a standard boxercise class, but it’s lots of fun. And better still, things are going well. Very well.
Until it all goes very wrong. Danni tells us to do squat thrusts and pain ravages my hamstring. I freeze in the crouching position like a sweaty gargoyle. ‘Come on, Time Out! You’re holding everyone up!’ yells one woman, as I hobble through an exercise where we punch pads while running in a circuit. ‘Hit it like you mean it!’ yells another. Then, after a warm-down, Danni delivers her verdict on my performance: ‘Erm, practice makes perfect.’
Injury aside, boxing to a live DJ is great exercise. But you know what? Given my ropey legs, I take back what I said earlier. It’s not the size of the man in the fight. Nor is it the size of the fight in the man. It’s the thighs of the man in the fight.