I saw ‘Boxing for Grannies’ and I thought, why not?
At age 77, retirement and life coach Marianne Heron took up boxing. Now, not only can she deliver a mean uppercut, but she gets a full-body workout, keeps her mind on its toes, and is having so much fun doing it
‘Boxing Grannies!” ran the headline on an article about Johannesburg “Gogos” aged between 60 to 80 who box weekly at a gym there. ‘Boxing for grannies? Why not, why let age stop you?’ I thought. I had fantasised about trying boxing ever since I interviewed Barry McGuigan years ago. Before I had time to have second thoughts, I arranged training sessions with former national boxing champion Neil Bowman at his Blackrock gym.
“Boxing is like dancing, but with more edge,” Neil tells me as he steps left then slides his right foot. That’s the footwork but the rest of the routine is hardly waltzing. Right cross, left jab, right hook, double jab left, right uppercut as boxing gloves connect bam, bam, bam with the hand pads Neil holds at shoulder height. I can hardly believe the hands bound with 8-foot-long protective hand wraps inside those gloves are mine. Just a few minutes into my first boxing training session it feels incredibly satisfying to throw combination punches and make impact against Neil’s pads. The “what have I let myself in for” apprehension I felt when I arrived at the gym has melted away.