Kellie Harrington's fascinating insight on how boxers feel the moment their hand is raised
Kellie Harrington knows the feeling well.
But she has no qualms in saying that it's not everything it's cracked up to be. Maybe when the gloves are hung up and her days in the ring are behind her, she'll look back on those winning days, those winning feelings with pride and appreciation, but while she's still in the mix and while her crown is there to be taken from her, there's still work to do and that's what she'll be focused on for the time being.
The 29-year-old St Mary's Tallaght boxer became the lightweight champion of the world in November when she defeated her Thai opponent Supaporn Srisondee on a points decision and though that victory was one of her biggest goals setting out, relief, rather than elation was the overriding emotion the moment her hand was raised to signal victory.
When you put so much into it and when winning becomes a must, the freedom of getting it over and done with is the main thing.
"Some people say the fear of losing is greater than the joy of winning...That's a very true saying," she said in a brilliant sit down interview with Dion Fanning on JOE's Ireland Unfiltered.
"There's been times before in my career where, going into a fight, I've been thinking, 'what if I lose, this is going to happen, that's going to happen...You don't think of, 'what if I win like, what's going to happen then?'
Boxers, like all sports people, are such competitive beasts that they at times struggle to live for and indeed enjoy the moment. That's because there's always something else, like a training session for example, to do in the next one.
"Sometimes the fear can overtake it. So, when you get to a final of a world championship, and your hand is raised, it's just like (deep exhale of breath), oh genie mack it's just like what a relief, it's like no feeling in the world. It's like when someone says to you, 'do you have a weight on your shoulders?' You do and it's the relief of it, it's over...It's weird because you're kind of like 'Thank God it's over..'
It's often a game of survival, not a game of jubilation.
"People say, 'I'm living for this,'...you get that as well but you're also like, 'oh my God I'm so nervous...I kind of thrive on the nerves at the same time...I like it because i turn it into energy...
"People ask me how does it feel...It's not like 'yes! I'm a world champion...It's more relief, I'm a world champion for now, we'll take a break and we'll get ready to go through it all again for the next one..."
And that's competitive sport.
You can watch the full interview with Kellie right here. Enjoy...
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