BOXERS Isaak O’Rourke and Gabrielle Brown are facing contrasting battles as they prepare to represent Victoria at the national amateur championships in Adelaide.
While 17-year-old O’Rourke is watching his weight closely, 22-year-old Brown is desperately trying to add a couple of kilograms before Sunday’s weigh-in for the titles in Adelaide.
Brown, who was crowned state champion in December, is fighting in the 75-kilogram women’s division.
But since ramping up her training to two sessions a day, she has found herself below 70kg on the scales.
“I need to add a bit extra to pack a bit more of a punch,” Brown said. “I’m eating so much food. I’m eating protein shakes.”
She said the tough training sessions she had been doing hadn’t stopped her from eating her mother Mary’s renowned nightly desserts, but even they weren’t helping in the quest to add weight.
The university student said she had muscled up since her state title win and was keen to do well at her first national championships.
“This year is going to be experience for me,” she said.
“I have no idea what I’m going to expect over there. It’s all so new. I want to get the experience and take what I can (from it).”
She has at least three rivals in her division, a number she said was lower than usual.
Her division is an Olympic category and the best performers last year, being an Olympic year, won selection to London.
But several fighters were taking time out this year after heavy schedules in 2012.
“It’s a great opportunity for someone like myself who is new to it,” Brown said.
O’Rourke, who will take time out from his year 12 studies at Emmanuel College, is representing Victoria in the youth 60kg division. After drawing in the state youth 64kg title in December and losing it on a countback, he feared his dreams of representing the state at the national level had slipped from his grasp.
But he won a fight to claim the 60kg division and carry the state’s hopes into the national titles.
“I was speechless. I didn’t know what to say,” O’Rourke said of achieveing his 12-month goal.
He has shed 2.5kg since fighting in the 64kg division and sits right on the lighter class mark.
“I can get below 60 doing all the right things, maintaining how much I eat and what I eat,” he said.
“Because I don’t fight until next Wednesday, I can train Sunday morning before I weigh in. Not that I will have to drop much. I would only have to lose 300 grams at the most.
“I feel better at this weight. I feel stronger, despite losing 2.5kg.”
The Warrnambool boxers will be accompanied by coach Rod Ryan, who said their selections underlined a resurgence in the sport in the region.
He said with fighters from his gym, Lyndon Edney’s at Koroit and Ray McIntosh’s Mocka’s in Coleraine all enjoying success at the state titles, boxing was popular.
“It’s an indication boxing in the area and amateur boxing has really taken off,” he said.