I first heard this saying from the late great Cus D’Amato and it didn’t really make sense to me at a young age. That was until I was hindered by one of my assets.
Those who have followed my career over the years are aware that I was known as a very big puncher but unfortunately this paid a price.
I have broken my hand four times in total and three of those were in consecutive fights. It was also the same bone that I broke every time.
It got to a stage where my trainer Steve and I thought that if it happens again I would probably have to hang up my gloves.
I’d first broken it back in late 2000 when I fought Wangchannoi but then just four months later I fought again and it was a real gruelling fight. To be honest I do think that if that fight wasn’t as hard there wouldn’t have been any issues.
I’d broken my hand again in the fourth round but continued on to the end; you can watch this fight here.
When I went to the hospital to get it checked out the first thing the doctor said after looking at the X-Ray was “You must punch extremely hard Mr Trainor. Usually if you break a bone for the second time the break will occur either just in front or just behind the original break as the bone will have mended much stronger where the injury first started.”
I was happy at his comment but p!ssed off at the same time as I was again held back a further few months from fighting.
I’d decided not to punch whatsoever until I fought again just to make sure it was 100% ready.
Six months later I was having my next fight; this time defending my European title against an old adversary from my Junior days, Craig Bithell.
However, this fight didn’t happen as Craig had to pull out and Steve was left with no other choice but to fly someone in from Holland to fight me.
An opponent was found called Metin Yakut but when he arrived and weighed in we were all shocked!
The fight was set at 58kg I was 57kg but Metin came in at a staggering 63kg and wasn’t prepared to lose any of it. We also found out that he was the Dutch shootboxing champion.
I decided to take the fight as Steve had already paid out a lot of money for the bout and I was there to fight after all; I wish I hadn’t.
The first punch I threw broke my hand instantly and this guy was huge!
I lasted till the end of the third and withdrew myself as fighting someone with a 6kg weight advantage and being one handed was just too much.
I had no idea where to go from here career wise as I was starting to wonder if that would keep happening every time I fought?
One of my biggest assets was my punching power but it was this that was crippling me and holding me back.
The doctor we always used at the shows was a guy called doctor Chaudhry. He was the leading doctor for boxing in the midlands and had seen a vast majority of my fights at this stage.
He often commented saying that I would have made a good boxer, my response was always that I didn’t fancy being punched in the face for 12 rounds!
After the fight he came up to me and gave me his number; telling me not to worry and to contact him on Monday.
When I called him he said that he would look after me by monitoring my hand every few weeks and that he would tell me when I would be ready to fight.
The hospital he worked at was miles away from where I lived, I didn’t drive so to get there for 9am I had to leave my house at 6.30am….I hate early mornings!
I used to have to go every three weeks for an X-Ray and every six weeks he’d do a bone density scan.
I explained to him that I hadn’t punched anything for six months prior to the match just so I’d be sure it had healed. Apparently that was the wrong thing to do.
The metaphor he gave was “if you want to make a solid brick you would put it into a kiln and the brick would get harder as it heated up. With your hand you have do something similar, you have to train your hand to be able to take impact again.”
He told me to start gently punching soft pads wearing big gloves and each week just to increase the power.
This would slowly strengthen my bone and condition it to be able to take impact.
We did this for close to five months until Dr Chaudhry said I was ready to fight again.
A fight was arranged and billed as ‘The Last Chance’; depending on the outcome I would decide if I was to continue fighting or not (I’ll write up about this on a later date).
I won the contest so my future was decided for me, a champion is someone who comes through adversity and I felt I had achieved this.
I’ve broken it once more since then, back in 2005, but thanks to Dr Chaudhry’s advice I knew how to deal with it and “touch wood” I haven’t done it since. I have had to taper my punching power down but every so often I let one fly and get the desired effect.
Thank you and RIP Dr Chaudhry.