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.
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.
For further information about the event