The last thing that crossed her mind was giving up after losing her first competitive fight, says boxer, Gabriella Drewery, 24, a former pupil at Plumstead High School.
Introduced to the sport at a young age, Drewery is among a number of promising fighters who call Vibrant Sports Boxing Club, in Ottery, their boxing home.
She wasted no time in taking advantage of the training opportunity allowed under the relaxed lockdown regulations.
It’s all about staying focused, staying in shape and making sure she’s ready to fight once competition opens up, she said.
“You’re probably wondering how did I begin fighting,” she said, during a short break from training.
“I think I was about 10 or 11 when my dad introduced me to Thai boxing.
“He spoke to the coach, Anthony Kettle, at Panthers in Table View. He basically introduced me to the sport,” she said.
Although passionate about the sport, she’s quick to point out that it wasn’t a case of love at first sight, the first time she stepped into the ring.
“I wasn’t used to the training. All I wanted to do was play outside,” she said.
“But gradually after a while, I just started training, sparring and I did not know I was going to be put in my first fight,” she said.
Unfortunately, the dreadlocked fighter said, she was a bit overwhelmed and things did not go her way. She lost.
“It was intense. What happened, there was a weigh-in, everything was done, I didn’t know what was happening, I was nervous and, unfortunately, I lost,” she said.
A baptism of fire was just what the doctor ordered to spark a flame that still burns brightly in the young fighter’s mind.
A psychology major at the University of the Western Cape, Drewery said she learnt early on to deal with disappointment in the ring.
With the right mindset,” she said, one can overcome obstacles.
“I don’t think I gave up after I lost that first fight. The only thing I needed to do was just relax and continue training. I got into the next fight and I grew that tenacity as I developed inside the ring.
“As a child, you tend to forget about everything that is happening in the world. I guess that is the best time to develop your talent and technique.
“Of course, you can also do that at a later stage but you just need to not worry about the world so much,” she said.
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