Robbie Packman was left disappointed after a boxing match in aid of Cancer Research UK, having received a £600 sponsorship and working so hard, was called off due the ongoing coronavirus lockdown.
Supporters including his colleagues, friends and his 21-year-old daughter had even got their tickets for Robbie’s big night in the ring, to be held in March at the Peterborough Showground.
The 47-year-old is a former semi-professional footballer, who took up boxing after realising he had put on some weight and needed to get in shape.
But Robbie was furloughed from his job as an account manager with a recycling company and was left sat at home, unable to go to the gym to keep up his training.
Hence, he set up a gym at his house to get back to his exercise regimes.
However, his previous injuries due to football limit what he can do. Nevertheless, this hast stopped Robbie and he has got punching again.
Talking about his experience, Robbie said: “I’d originally signed up to take part a couple of years ago but my knee had popped out playing football and when I began training for the boxing I couldn’t twist or turn so had to pull out.
“What inspired me to take part again was when was when I went out for my mum’s 70th birthday. I had a tuxedo on, I looked in the mirror and I didn’t like what I saw.
“I knew I had to get into shape so I signed up for Ultra White Collar Boxing again.”
The second time round Robbie, whose football career included stints with Hitchin Town and St Albans City, lost a stone and felt he was in “great shape” to take part but the lockdown was imposed.
He said: “I fully understand why my event didn’t go ahead but I must admit I felt totally gutted.
“Like everyone else I knew I was going to be spending weeks at home so I decided the only thing to do was set up a gym in my living room.
“The knee injury I suffered as a footballer meant running on the road wasn’t an option so I went online and got everything I’d need to keep up my training.”
Robbie invested in resistance bands, a bench an attack punch bag and some weights.
He added: “I wanted stuff I could pack away as I didn’t want to be surrounded by it 24 hours a day.”
Robbie also revealed that sprinting up and down the stairs of his home has become a central part of his training to improve his cardio.
He has also entered a Facebook challenge along with others from the boxing training gorup, UWCB training group, to complete 5km in one go on their stairs but so far he admits he’s come “nowhere near it.”
While videos he’s posted of his training online have proved so popular with his friends that some have asked if he can be their personal trainer.
He joked: “I never thought it would come to that – maybe I should think about an alternative career. If it goes on much longer, I might be fit enough to take on Anthony Joshua.
“I always aim to do at least an hour every day on my own, mainly mid morning, but i also do 30 mins with others online and close to two hours on Saturday.”
Participants taking part in UWCB shows are asked to sell tickets for the event and raise at least £50 for Cancer Research UK.
So far Ultra Events, which runs UWCB, has raised almost £22 million for Cancer Research UK but because of Covid-19 they were forced to put all their boxing shows on hold.
Now Robbie, of Hillary Close, is waiting for a green light from organisers to see when his event will go ahead.
He added: “I’m still as determined as ever to take part and as soon as I get a new date I’ll be ready to go again.”
And he’s already selected his ring walk music for the big night – the DMX track “X Gon’ Give It To Ya.”
Jon Leonard, who runs Ultra Events, said: “What a great effort by Robbie to keep up his training in difficult circumstances.
“We are ready to go and as soon as the government guidance says we can stage events safely we are looking forward to seeing Robbie in the ring.
“I’m sure with all his hard work he is going to give a good account of himself when he finally gets the chance to take part.”
Anyone interested in taking part in the Peterborough event can find out more here: https://www.ultrawhitecollarboxing.co.uk/locations/peterborough/