I was around 17/18 at the time and had just finished another international contest with Dutch fighter Remco Wattenberg.

Remco was in his mid 20’s and was one ugly looking man! I actually remember a few years later I was sat with the Dutch team having a meal the evening before I fought on Bill Judd’s event (Kieran Keddle was fighting Chahbari from Mike’s gym). They had asked if i’d ever fought any Dutch fighters; I reeled off a few names I’d fought then when I mentioned Remco, Mike turned and looked at me and said “He is one ugly man!”

Anyway back to subject; the fight was awarded a draw but to be honest I had felt I’d lost on the night.

I was sat in the changing room thinking about the p!ss poor performance I had just given. I didn’t have a mark on me, no aches or pains in fact I could have probably done another five rounds.

As we left the venue I saw Remco lying down on a table, he kept moaning in agony about his legs, his shins were pretty messed up to be fair and he could barely stand. I took some satisfaction in what I saw.

A couple of days later in the gym Steve handed me a book.

It was an Autobiography by Wayne Gretzky who was a very famous Ice hockey player.

Steve opened it to a certain page and asked me to read it.

On the page Gretzky recalls the night his team the Oilers lost the 1983 Stanley Cup Finals to the Islanders.

After losing the final game he and teammate Kevin Lowe walked out of the arena but they had to pass the Islanders locker room. What they learned that night helped them to become a Championship team:

“We both knew we were going to have to walk by the Islander locker room, and we were dreading it: having to see all the happy faces, the champagne shampoos, the girlfriends’ kisses, the whole scene we wanted so much. 

But as we walked by, we didn’t see any of that. The girlfriends and the coaches and the staff people were living it up, but the players weren’t.

Trottier was icing what looked like a painful knee. Potvin was getting stuff rubbed on his shoulder. Guys were limping around with black eyes and bloody mouths. It looked more like a morgue than a champion’s locker room. 

And here we were perfectly fine and healthy. That’s why they won and we lost. They took more punishment than we did. They dove into more boards, stuck their faces in front of more pucks, threw their bodies into more pileups. They sacrificed everything they had. 

And that’s when Kevin said something I’ll never forget He said, ‘That’s how you win championships'”

As I read the paragraph it started to make sense the point Steve was trying to make.

Remco was probably in that state because he wanted the win more, he put everything into that performance. I on the other hand had nothing wrong with me not even a scratch.

The point I’m trying to make isn’t that you should take a lot of punishment but if you want to succeed you have to give it your all. A champion is someone who will go that extra mile and if need be will leave his heart in the ring.

Again I’m using the fight game as an example as it’s what I’ve done most of my life but all these traits that I have gained from my chosen profession all stand strong in the other areas of my life.

What ever you want to achieve you have to put your heart and soul into it to make it a reality.

This is how I believe I have won some of my most important fights but I am intrigued to know about other qualities you may feel are important in competing