LEWIS VAN POETSCH is hanging up his battle-worn gloves as British boxing’s best loser after the cost of winning became too much.
The brave 32-year-old Bristol journeyman has served the hardest sport for a decade, after boxing as a boy and as a proud member of the Rifles regiment that fought for us in Afghanistan.
Journeyman boxer Lewis Van Poetsch is hanging up his gloves
The former military man (left) has won just 13 of his 170 fights
The fearless showman has always been the away fighter, never had any fans, juggled a full-time job and taken fights without a moment’s notice – sometimes with a hangover!
But bout 170 on March 25 in his hometown – with his current record standing at 13-152-4 – will be his last after the racking up of too many injuries and victories finally counted him out.
Thanks to promoter Frank Warren generously providing Poochi with a press pass for Anthony Yarde’s heroic defeat against Artur Beterbiev, he sat down with SunSport to explain why now is the time to bow out.
“I’ve done my 10 years and this was always going to be my last year,” he said while expertly running the rule over the undercard.
“I’ve got all my faculties intact and I am ready. I am starting to feel my aches and pains more. It’s a young man’s sport and I was always able to hold my own and I don’t want to lose that.
“I have been doing this at the top level for a long time and I make things hard for these lads – most of the time – and as soon as I stop doing that, what’s the point?
“When I decided this would be my last year I decided I wanted to show people what I could really do in a few fights. I had played the game for so long and I wanted some rewards.
“So I won three fights, two inside the distance, got robbed for a draw and a very dodgy decision loss. In my eyes I have won five of my last seven fights.
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“It wasn’t a ‘f*** you’ to the industry but I wanted to leave a little mark on the sport.
“After winning my last fight the phone was silent for about six weeks and then I had to fight a brilliant prospect who absolutely peppered me!
“When you start winning, that phone goes quiet, it must be the only job in the world where improvement and success get punished! So that element I will not miss.”
To a non-boxing fan the role of the journeyman is a tough one to explain.
They are some of the most talented defensive fighters in the game but are perpetual losers.
They have some of the highest integrity in the bleeding business but are not supposed to triumph.
From the outside they look like cannon fodder. But inside the industry and the ropes, they are some of the sharpest minds, bravest hearts and most decent fellas.
The former soldier, barber, lift engineer and now trainee referee said: “I think the job of a journeyman will always be a mystery. If you’re in the industry you understand it fully but from the outside, to the layman, it’s so hard.
“When I tell a casual fan what my record is they think I’m a liar, or a nutter, or an idiot, or all three!
“People think you’re a human punchbag or you’re taking dives for money. But you have to be extremely good, whack very hard, or have one of the best nights of your career to stop me.
“I see it, when these hot young prospects can’t hurt or stop me, that it p***es them off and I love that, I take it as a sign of respect.
“I have always taken great pride in taking these young knockout kings the distance and showing them a bit of boxing.
The brave 32-year-old Bristol journeyman has served the hardest sport for a decade
“I have never been knocked out and I will proudly take that accolade to the grave. I have been stopped on my feet but never waved off or counted out on the ground.”
The risks courageous men of Poetsch’s dying ilk are willing to take – to keep struggling shows on and help nurture young prospects – is staggering.
They get paid, thank God, but it’s clear from one overdue evening in Poochi’s brilliant company that the money means almost nothing.
“I took a dangerous fight on 10 hours notice against John Docherty in Newcastle,” he remembers of the 2019 bout with the 2018 Commonwealth Games bronze winner.
“I was on my way to Liverpool for a different fight when that got cancelled, so I had a Burger King and was heading for the pub.
“The call came just before I could get a round in and off I went, lasted all six rounds too.
“I went to the Ally Pally as a fan for a show before Christmas, I even did a bit of commentary for Sky.
“But Lerrone Richards had to pull out of his fight with Zak Chelli and the idea of me stepping in was floated.
“It didn’t happen in the end but I was ready and willing and that’s an example of the sort of notice you get, as a journeyman.
“Every journeyman has one or more stories like that. I know it sounds mad but that’s what we do.
“I have probably only lived a proper dedicated boxer’s life for 10 per cent of my career.
“I’ve always loved the pub, I might have had the odd fight hungover, I maybe could have won a few more than I did. But I’ve always known my role and I hope I’ve done it pretty well. I have held up my side of the bargain. I feel like I earned my stripes in this sport.”
SunSport salutes you Poochi. Tickets for Poochi’s last dance at The Galleries in Bristol on March 25 can be bought from the hero himself @poochi_17.
Frequently Asked Questions
How can I improve my punching form?
Boxing is all in the form of punching. To be a good boxer, you need to master the art of punching. Here are some tips for improving your punching ability.
- Keep your head up. You should keep your head high when throwing punches.
- Punch from the shoulder. You should aim your punch at the shoulder rather than the chin.
- Focus on your feet. Keep your feet still when you are punching.
- Use short punches that are quick. Your body will be tired faster if you are throwing longer punches.
- Don’t forget about defense! Always remember to block incoming punches.
- Use your elbows. Elbows are an effective way to defend yourself.
- You can learn to use your legs. Your legs can save you from getting knocked over if you know how to use them properly.
- Always practice. You will feel tired when you finish training. Keep going. It takes practice to get good at anything.
- Have fun Enjoy what you are doing.
- Breathe. Correct breathing will help you feel stronger and more energetic.
- Relax. Don’t be too concerned about making mistakes. Be focused on learning new techniques.
- Be patient. Boxing can be difficult. It takes time to perfect your skills.
- Never stop learning. There will always be improvement.
- Listen to music. You can relax and focus during training by listening to music.
- Check out these videos featuring professional boxers. The fights can inspire you and motivate you to work harder.
- Read books. Reading is a great way to learn about boxing.
- You need to take breaks. Sometimes, it is helpful to take a break from boxing. Go outside to play soccer or basketball.
- Look for a coach. A coach who is an expert in boxing can help you get better faster.
- Do push-ups. Push-ups can be a great way to increase strength and endurance.
How many punches is a human capable of taking?
A punch is “a blow delivered from the fist”. Only one punch can be sustained by a human. If someone punches your face in the face, it’s a punch. You cannot hit someone’s back. It would be impossible to hit him/her back with two punches.
What are the health benefits of boxing
There are many benefits to boxing. For one, boxing can help build strong bones and muscles. It enhances your coordination as well as reflexes. It also strengthens the heart and lungs. Boxing doesn’t need any special equipment. You can use any item you have at home.
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- It is just like normal sparring with a partner, but you want to throw punches at 75% of your normal speed. (wikihow.com)
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How to set up a Boxing Gym in my House
Anyone who wants to open a business is often asked how to set-up a boxing studio. Many people ask how much money they should spend on equipment, what kind of space is needed, how many employees do you think you need etc. There are many factors that can affect the cost of starting your business. These include where you are located, how many employees you have, the marketing budget and competition. One thing most people overlook is the importance and value of good equipment. You cannot begin if you don’t own the right equipment. So if you really want to start a boxing gym in your home, here are some tips to help you out.
- You need to have somewhere you can train. You can use your garage, basement, spare bedroom, or living room to train. Only thing is that the equipment must have enough space.
- A punching bag is essential. This is vital because you won’t have the ability to practice punches without it. It can be anything, from a lightweight plastic bag to an expensive leather bag. It should be big enough that you can comfortably carry it. You should also ensure it is durable and strong so it can last many years.
- You need a mat. Matting is used to protect floors and walls when practicing kicks. It is usually made out of foam rubber. You can buy them online and offline.
- You will need a bench. Bench is used to support your body while doing pushups. These benches can be bought online and in physical stores. However, make sure that you choose the right size for you.
- A speedbag is necessary. Speedbags help you develop quick hand movements. You can buy them from either online or offline shops. Be sure to buy quality products that last.
- A headgear is essential. The headgear protects your head during sparring sessions. You can purchase it online or in stores. Make sure you get something that fits and protects your face.
- Gloves are essential. Gloves are necessary to protect your hands when sparring. These gloves are available online and in offline shops. You can choose the pair that best suits you and your style.
- A mouthpiece is required. Mouthpieces are used for protecting your teeth during sparring sessions. These are available online and in offline shops. Again, choose a pair that suits your style and needs.
- You will need a ring. Rings are used to simulate real fights. You can purchase them either online or offline. Make sure that it has padding on both sides so that you aren’t injured during sparring sessions.
- You will need a towel. Towels are used to wipe sweat off after each workout session. You can find them at your local sporting goods shop or online. Be sure they are soft, absorbent, and comfortable.