In From Professional To Amateur, Jodie Frain speaks to Dongguan’s latest fighter in the White Collar Boxing night, Steven Dejager, and his training regime at Complete Fitness.
Since its inception in New York, in the late 1980s, White Collar Boxing has unfolded nicely as a niche boxing competition between total amateurs. White collar professionals step in the ring to face this physical challenge, after undergoing three months of intense training in preparation for the battle ahead.
Following success in the U.S., this competitive sport quickly became widely established in Asia, including the likes of Shanghai, Singapore and Hong Kong. Recently, Shenzhen jumped on the bandwagon as last year Project 0/1 White Collar Boxing Fight Night was hosted on the rooftop garden at the Hilton Shenzhen Shekou Nanhai on December 17, delivering an electric atmosphere throughout the night.
Events are held in chic establishments offering premium catering with a black tie dress code for guests. A judge and jury are present for the occasion, adding a daunting yet exciting element to the whole experience.
HubHao caught up with Steven Dejager, a Chocolate Brand Manager for Nestle from Belgium who has recently decided to bravely take up this challenge, which will result in the final fight for his pride. Attending the gym Complete Fitness at Dynatown in Dongcheng, Steven is already well into his demanding training programme.
Jodie: So, Steven, tell us a bit about signing up to fight in the white collar boxing.
Steven: Well I will be boxing against an English teacher from the UK. We both have more or less the same height and have never boxed before. The event supports a charity run by a fellow Belgian which is also always nice to support. We are joining the event in Shenzhen. As far as I know it is currently being organized twice a year and venues and organization are really up to high standards.
Jodie: When did you first get involved with the boxing? What inspired you to do so?
Steven: Six weeks ago when I started training! I went to see the last event in Shenzhen where our own Dongguan’s fighter, Alan Harper, fought and won. When I saw the boxing I thought to myself ‘Yeah, this should be doable.’ It was a perfect challenge: unknown ground and physically intense, which I always like. So I contacted the organization to sign up for the event and got in touch with my current trainer to get a training schedule fixed.
Jodie: What kind of challenges will you face in such rigorous training and in such a competitive sport?
Steven: Well the first trainings were horrendous. I am used to running and I hadn’t set foot in a gym in over three years. Push-ups were quite horrific initially, mildly put! However this improved quickly. Training alongside my job is really the biggest challenge. I have been in 13 different cities and taken a trip abroad since I started training. More than once, I trained in cramped hotel rooms or sneaked into gyms.
Jodie: How intense is the training programme?
Steven: My coach Anthony Cappabianca helped me to set up all of this. Also in terms of equipment and diet I received a lot of support. I try to train four times a week except for when I am not around, which happens a lot. This includes one boxing session and three power sessions (cross fit style exercises). Also when I have time I try to do small trainings at home or do a bit of shadowboxing.
Jodie: Are you worried about having your first match?
Steven: Not really. I like the unknown and I’ll prepare for it in the best possible way and we’ll see what will happen.
Jodie: What do you think you will gain from taking part in this opportunity?
Steven: Eternal Glory!? I’m just joking. Again it’s a challenge to push myself to my limits. I can get as fit as possible and get to know myself better; and of course it’s going to be a ton of fun.
A remarkable journey to follow, HubHao will be tracking and documenting Steven’s story as time goes on, so watch out for more updates!