Training for the ‘Clash of the Codes’, the boxing match that has Coleraine sports fans buzzing, is getting more intense in the run up to the big night on 9 April.
The fundraising event is a joint venture between Eoghan Rua GAC and Coleraine Rugby Club and will see members of both sporting clubs do battle to decide which club is ‘King of the Ring’.
There are twelve male and four female boxing matches on the night, but as yet none of the fighters know who they will face when they step into the ring at the rugby club.
Boxers from each club have been training hard, Eoghan Rua at Skerries ABC, Portrush and Coleraine at Coleraine ABC at the Showgrounds.
Boxing coaches from both boxing clubs have been putting the fighters through their paces, teaching them how to give and take a punch and making sure they have the stamina to last the contest.
The event, sponsored by Shenanigans, Portstewart, is already a massive success and the few remaining tickets are like gold dust - but there are still a few available.
Sponsors, organisers and supporters have been working with the boxers for two months and all that preparation is going to make it a night to remember for both clubs.
To get an insight into the preparation, two of the key fighters, one from each club, have been giving their thoughts on talking part in the event.
Mikey Poskitt, 22, is rugby captain for Coleraine RFC this year and Barry McGoldrick, 30, a Derry senior player and former county captain, gave some very candid observations about their venture into the ring.
Why did you volunteer to take part in Clash of the Codes?
Barry: I wanted to learn new skills in boxing. Always been interested in it and I wanted to see if I could take a punch!
Mikey: To be honest I wasn’t going to volunteer because of the earful I knew I would get from my mum and girlfriend about any damage to my face. However, I decided to bite the bullet as it’s always something I’ve wanted to try!
What did you think when you first got punched in the face?
Barry: I thought to myself, “I’ve totally underestimated Joe Diamond”.
Mikey: Well my defence is pretty much perfect so I will get back to you when it happens – Haha. No, I thought it would be a lot worse in fairness, it’s really not as bad as you’d think.
What you have liked about training?
Barry: Learning how to throw a punch....there’s a lot more skill than I thought. I’ve a lot more respect for boxers and their fitness.
Mikey: The only thing I like about training is when I’m told the session is over. Ryan, Dean and Adam (trainers) really break us down every single time we are in the gym.
What is your aim on the night?
Barry: To keep all my teeth
Mikey: My aim for the night is the exact same as everyone else who will be stepping into the ring.... First punch knockout! In the unlikely event that that doesn’t happen, I suppose I’d be happy with the win.
Who is the best boxer on your squad?
Barry: Niall Holly and Joe Diamond.... Big hitters.
Mikey: I’m presuming I can’t say myself for this question so I’m going to have to go for Steven Dickie. It will be tough for anyone forced to step into the ring against him on the night.
If you were a pro boxer who would you be?
Barry: Joe Frazer
Mikey: Floyd Mayweather without a doubt. His antics out of the ring cause a bit of controversy but once he steps into that ring there is no arguing that he is one of the all times greats! His record speaks for itself, 49-0.
Do you think you’ll continue boxing after the Clash of the Codes is over?
Barry: Yes, I’d like to keep the training going....something different and helps freshen training up.
Mikey: I really think I will. I love everything about Coleraine ABC, the trainers, the laughs and the fitness side of things, so I will keep training and if another fight comes up I’d be happy to step in the ring again.
The event will see twelve men and four women going head to head in a boxing match in a bid to be crowned King of the Ring.
The event, the first of its kind in the area, will take place on Saturday April 9, in a specially constructed marquee at Coleraine Rugby Club.
It promises to be an thrilling evening as the amateur boxers try out their skills in the ring.
None of the fighters have prior boxing experience, and as they start training this month they will be learning the basics of one of the oldest sports in the world.
The bouts has been some months in the planning, and both clubs have thrown their organisational abilities into the event, the proceeds of which will be split equally between the clubs.
On the night things special guest commentators will be on hand to keep everyone entertained during the contests.
Tickets for the event are on sale at both Eoghan Rua and Coleraine Rugby Clubs and from members of the Clubs who are taking part in the event.
They are also available from Portstewart Family Practice, Portstewart Clothing Company, Springhill Bar, Portrush and Chill Foodhall, Coleraine. Price £15.
As expected tickets have been selling very fast for this much-anticipated event so please don’t leave it too long to purchase one if you are interested in coming along on what is going to be a great sporting occasion.
Sponsorship opportunities are still available for any business that wants to support the event.
For now the 32 brave fighters are getting into their gruelling training regime, getting boxing fit, learning how to defend themselves and working out how to score those important winning points.
‘Clash of the Codes’ is shaping up to be the biggest sporting occasion Coleraine has seen in many years, as sportsmen and women from Coleraine Rugby Club and Eoghan Rua battle it out in a boxing ring!
For further information about the event, contact either club or check the Facebook page: Clash of the Codes.