Burnley boxer's epic nine-hour charity event raises £1,100

A young Burnley boxer has raised over £1,100 for Pendleside Hospice after completing an energy-sapping endurance challenge in memory of his late grandfather.

Thursday, 26th October 2017, 10:27 am
Updated Tuesday, 12th December 2017, 5:55 am
Henry Watkins during his epic challenge.

Setting himself the target of boxing 150 consecutive three-minute rounds on a 35kg punch bag, Henry Watkins (21) started his challenge at 8am and landed his final jab some nine and a half hours later at around 5.30pm on October 21st at Lifestyle Fitness.

With just a minute’s rest in between rounds, Henry - whose grandfather, Michael Awty, died at Pendleside last year - had prepared for the event by training wearing just wraps, by soaking his knuckles in salt water to toughen up his skin, and by sparring wearing a 10kg weighted vest.

“It went pretty smoothly overall, but it was really hard,” Henry said. "Having a good start is usually the main thing: if you wear yourself out early on then you can do yourself in during the later rounds.

"I got nice and warm early on, taking it easy," he added. "I still had to figure out my pacing a little bit, but it was fine; I got loose and cracked on.

"[Soaking my knuckles] paid off, because last time all the skin came off, but this time, it only happened to one knuckle," Henry explained. "It was a lot better. It wasn't until the last 30 or 40 rounds that I started to feel it in my arms - the training really paid off."

Keen to close out the challenge in style, Henry - a former jujitsu fighter who claimed a bronze medal in Mixed Adult Fighting at the 2015 British Championships - even cut down his rest time in between each round to just 30 seconds for the final 40 rounds in an effort to finish early.

"I was confident all the way thorough," Henry said. "You can have cynical feelings that you're not going to finish, and while the last 20 were the hardest rounds, I was never going to let myself give up because I'd come this far. It would've been 130 rounds wasted.

"I wouldn't have been happy taking the sponsorship money if I hadn't have finished it, because that's what people sponsored me to do," he added, after raising around £1,100 for the hospice, including offline donations. "I'm really pleased. That amount of money is something to be proud of."

While Henry admitted to being "pretty sore" the day after the challenge, he said he felt fine now, and even treated himself to a post-event McDonald's in celebration.

"I won't be doing it again!" he said with a chuckle. "I'll do another challenge, but I think I'll try something different, something outside the box."