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Boxing Changed My Life.

I always was a sporty person. I took part in every sport I could in junior school.

Being the tallest person in our school, I had an advantage.

Boxing, however was not on the school sports schedule and it was only in my 30's that I discovered just what Boxing was all about.

In 2007 I qualified as a Personal Trainer with the Reebok College. I began my journey as a Personal Trainer at the most prestigious gym in South Africa at the time, the Melrose Arch Virgin Active Classic. Working at 'The Arch' was very competitive as there were 36 trainers at the time, all competing to have the most clients.

I, being extremely competitive, was always looking for ways to improve my coaching and my own training regime. I would make time everyday to have a good workout, usually including some running or cycling and then intense weight training, in fact I would usually workout twice a day.

After about 4 to 5 months of working as a PT at 'The Arch', a colleague of mine was debuting at his first professional boxing match at Emperor's Palace in Kempton Park and a group of us, including some friends and clients, went to watch the match.

The event was exciting, like nothing I had seen before and it was like a light bulb switched on in my brain and I knew I needed to start boxing ASAP.

The very next day I went to join a boxing gym. It was the first of it's kind, a personal training boxing gym with all the coaches being professional boxers. I signed up for 3 lessons per week. I wanted to be a fighter.

I was assigned a trainer who was a 5 time World Champion, Cassius 'The Hitman' Baloyi.

Cassius was a humble guy, shy even, so we didn't talk a lot in the beginning about much else than boxing. Over time Cassius and I became friends and he taught me from his own experience how to box the correct way, he was a perfectionist and I would put everything into our sessions. After about 6 weeks of intense 1 on 1 pad work, Cassius noticed that I had been losing body fat but retaining my muscle and was so intrigued that he asked how I was able to do this. I explained that athletes should not only practice their chosen sport, but should also partake in sports specific exercise including strength training. He then mentioned that he had used some weight training in preparation for a fight but that it had caused him to become slower.

I explained to him that heavy weights are not necessarily the correct way to maintain muscle, but rather more specific exercises with light to medium weights would benefit an endurance athlete. Of course I also brought it to his attention that protein intake and branch chain amino acids were crucial to maintain muscle mass, so I recommended that he begin using protein supplements.

The next thing was that I offered to show him and train him for sports conditioning, at 'The Arch', and he agreed that this was something he would like to do.

So it was from this time that I became Cassius 'The Hitman' Baloyi's conditioning coach.

Cassius went on to win his 6th World Title against Mzonke Fana in Mafikeng on the 12th of April 2008. I attended the match.

To say I was emotional, would be accurate, I was in tears watching the match. It was probably the most intense, nail-biting experience I had ever had. Cassius was not just my Coach and I his Conditioning Trainer, he was by now one of my dearest friends who I looked up to like a personal hero, and to watch him giving out and taking a beating, was quite something. I will never forget that day.

My life changed once I started boxing training.

I became a lot more confident. Confidence hadn't come easy to me in my past. Being 195cm, taller than most people and definitely taller than any girl I'd ever met, I was actually kind of shy, but boxing changed that. I started standing up for myself better. Also, along with the running, weights and boxing I was getting busier and better as a Personal Trainer. I had begun holding pads for my own clients, taking what I was learning from Cassius and applying it to my own clients. Training/learning like this is priceless. No college or institution can teach you quite like learning from a professional boxer, on top of his game. I felt like I was finally on a path that was meant for me.

Fast forward to 2010.

Cassius and I opened the Cassius Baloyi Boxing Academy.

We trained amateur and professional fighters as well as clients for fitness.

The club still operates today with Cassius at the helm.

As for me, I got married to a Greek guy that I met on Facebook in 2007 called Kostas and now we live in Athens, Greece. Tomorrow I am signing the lease for my own boxing studio which will open in the beginning of November 2023.

Cassius Baloyi
2008 Lil and Cassius at Emporers Palace

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1 commentaire

29 sept. 2023

Such an amazing, talented, beautiful lady! ♡♡♡

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