Angus Dunn but not out

Angus Dunn but not out

Down but not out, Angus Dunn. Photo: Supplied.

Angus Dunn had been training hard for his third conditioning fight in the Muay Thai boxing ring.

A week before his third fight, Dunn (26) lost control of his motorbike in loose gravel. He knew he was going to be injured, “I still wanted to fight until I was in the back of the ambulance and was told I had a dislocated and broken left shoulder.”

The pain was immense, Dunn’s shoulder had to be scanned before they could pop the joint back, “A nurse sat on my chest while the doctor leaned all his weight on my arm as it went back in.”

Dunn had thrown himself into a demanding 10-week training regime as the fight was scheduled for late February 2019, “I was feeling better than ever, training more than I had before.” Knowing this fight would be the decider on whether he continued with competitive boxing.

Angus Dunn contemplates return to ring. Photo: Mazz Scannell.

Dunn’s planned his rigorous training schedule at the Muay Thai Institute, Wellington around his university studies: 10 plus gym sessions a week, working on his techniques with the punching bag, body pads, sparring, fight drills and general conditioning, “You do so much, and you eat so much, yet you are still hungry all the time.”

He consumed 3000 calories a day, starting with a large breakfast, three full-sized protein-rich meals plus a heavy carbohydrate snack in the middle of the day.

Dunn had a point to prove. The first two fights had not gone to plan, he had faltered in the ring and he, “Felt that this was his chance to prove to himself that he could make it.”

Mark Hampton, trainer and owner of the Institute said fight training was one of the hardest types of training, “You have your skills tested in the arena in front of hundreds of people. Individual scrutiny adds a lot of pressure to a fighter. When you are playing rugby, you have a team of 15 people. In the ring, you are on your own.”


Mark Hamilton stands proud at the Muay Thai Institute. Photo Mazz Scannell

Hamilton has been in the business for over 20 years, he has observed young fighters who think they have trained, ‘more than enough’ for their first fight. However, after the second or third fight he knew they will train even harder because fighters come out of those early fights saying, “I wish I was fitter, I didn’t realise the pressure until I stepped into the ring.”

Dunn joined the KO promotional fighting group in 2016 and his first conditioning fight was against Andrew Irvine from the Blenheim Thai Boxing Club later that year.

When Dunn stepped through the ropes to fight Irvine, he was in good form mentally and physically. He felt very energised, he felt he could do anything, “You get kicked and you have to make sure you can fight back.”

The fight went well and although Dunn lost on points, he gained fight confidence and experience in the ring, hearing what your opposition is saying about you, concentrating on “not letting people getting inside your head.”

Dunn’s next fight in 2017 was in Palmerston North against Leslie Taylor from Scorpion Thai boxing, and although Dunn had a taste of ring experience he didn’t feel he was in a good space mentally, “I felt very superficial, I had a lot going on and was quite distracted, I was not mentally prepared.”

The fight was uneven and Dunn spent most of the time defending himself from a rain of blows landed by Taylor over the five-minute round.

The motorbike accident came at a bad time, Dunn was feeling good. He was, “fitter and more focused than before, I wanted to prove to myself that I could handle the mental pressure of the ring.”

The damaged shoulder has taken Dunn out of fighting contention, he still has months of strength and fitness recuperation to undertake before he can consider competing again.

However, his membership at the institute is current and he still thinks about the ring and fighting.

For now, e is concentrating on finishing his performing arts and French degree at Victoria University and plans to teach in France later this year.

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