AN OFFICE worker has taken on a 10-week challenge which will end in him contesting his first boxing match.
James ‘The Bear’ Gill, who plays for Pinner Rugby Club, will fight a white collar boxing match on August 2 to raise funds for Broadway Homeless Charity.
He has never boxed before and is following a strict diet and training regime in the run-up to the event at the London Irish Centre in Camden.
“I’m living like a professional boxer for 10 weeks,” said the 31-year-old. “It’s all regulated and official and safe and we will have head guards, although my mum is still refusing to come.”
At 6ft 3in and weighing 110kg, James will fight in the super-heavyweight division.
“I’ve just found out I’ll be fighting a 40-year-old fireman who I imagine will be quite fit, so I’ve lots more training to do,” he said.
Mr Gill is training six days a week and has been pounding the streets near his Northwood home to build up his stamina. He also travels across London once a week to spar.
Despite having no previous boxing experience and admitting there is a chance he could get injured, he has not let nerves get the better of him.
“My wife is more nervous about it that me,” he said. “I’m not too worried, I just want to make sure I’m in good shape and put on a good show.
“We will use extra-padded gloves so the punches won’t be so hard, but I could still end up with a black eye or broken nose, but the most important thing is that I make lots of money for Broadway.”
Broadway is a London-based charity that supports homeless and vulnerably housed people across the capital, and offers mental, physical and social support to help people get a roof over their heads.
Mr Gill, an international transport co-ordinator at Brookfield Construction in Chiswick, said: “Broadway does more than just soup kitchens. They put a lot of emphasis on making sure these people get a good night’s sleep which is so important if they are to get up and have a productive day. They also run courses and offer learning opportunities.”
Broadway’s fundraising manager for individuals and communities, Kirsty Telford, said: “James is our modern day Rocky Balboa and we wish him all the luck in the world for his challenge match.”
Mr Gill has previously taken part in a rugby tournament for Marie Curie Cancer Care and run a half marathon for Cancer Research.
n Tickets cost £25 and £40 and are available by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or you can donate at uk.virginmoneygiving.com/thebearboxes.