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Prelude to a punch up - By Rebecca Wicks

A friend of mine is, in a matter of weeks, participating in the upcoming White Collar Boxing Fight Night at the Habtoor Grand. The premise of this highly anticipated event is to take a bunch of corporate bods who've probably never thrown a punch in their lives, and train them up with professional boxers and sportsmen until they're rock solid, foaming at the mouths and ready to let rip like Mike Tyson - only without the ear-biting incidents, we hope.

My friend is, quite understandably, terrified. He's also very, very strong now. Six weeks in and I wouldn't cross him in a dark alleyway, or any other part of Satwa for that matter. It's all very noble though - my friend and his equally tortured teammates are all taking part for charity.
He told me last weekend that he'd been given a bag of protein shakes and tablets to consume instead of meals, in the weeks left until the fight. I'm sure this makes sense - but how drinking girly flavoured milkshakes instead of iron-laden steaks and lashings and lashings of mashed potato prior to a punch up can be beneficial, is beyond me. But then, my idea of bulking up is putting on a cardy before sitting on my butt in the cinema for two hours.

The team went to get their photos taken a few days ago, in 'a home of royalty' no less. Apparently, on walking into the house to meet the photographer, they were approached by a beautiful, strong looking white Labrador. It took a few moments to realize that the creature bounding towards them was actually a lion. Yup. A lion. There were three of them, so I'm told. This is how fighters spend their days in the Middle East you know - mingling with jungle beasts and drinking milkshakes.

On the night, we all get to go and eat three courses of five-star food and guzzle all the wine we can handle, while our heroes get smacked about the heads by the opposition. Sounds fabulous doesn't it! Can you imagine cheering on your pal as you wave a roasted chicken about on a fork, accidentally dropping a wing in the cleavage of your tablemate, who might be dressed in her poshest frock but doesn't even notice because she's too busy dodging the blood splatters heading towards her from the ring? It's inevitable, I'm afraid.

The fighters even get to choose their boxing names. I won't disclose my friend's, although it's sure to cause a 'stir'.

Each are fighting someone of equal size and weight, to make it fair. I'm told that at the last event, the ring was cleaned (of blood?) after the matches and everyone climbed in to dance the rest of the night away. Personally, I'm looking forward to this more than I've looked forward to anything in a long time. I do wish they'd include the lions a bit more though. It would probably make world headlines if an impromptu fight with a wild cat was included in the price.

Knowing Dubai though, it wouldn't surprise me if they added one at the last minute.

Posted: 22 May 2008

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