Michael « Boum Boum » Nguyen, Vanessa « Bagheera » Girardin, Octave « The Punisher » Donnini, Marc « maybeitcanwork » Mantelin, Karim « Marvelous » Douiri… We tell you right away : don’t look for their records in some boxing annals. They have none ! For one simple reason… All these brave warriors, 16 of them, will fight for their 1st time on a ring on June 2nd, in the “Cabaret Sauvage” in Paris.
They are between 19 and 39 years old. They practice Boxing merely for their daily wellness since 4 years maximum. Some only started boxing a few months ago. They never thought of fighting in a ring one day. But they dreamt it. Apollo did it !
Apollo was created by 2 brothers, Sebastien Bourne-Madelenat, 41 years old, and Stephane Madelenat, 35, and their cousin, Benjamin Benmoyal, 33 (10 years of Savate French national team). Their concept ? To provide small groups classes (maximum 8 people). This is the « Apollo Boxing Club », founded in 2010.
« As we did for the club, by creating it for ourselves first, we launched the Boxing Nights because we wanted, my brother and I, fight in the ring », says Stephane Madelenat. « It started with a joke and, then, we wondered why we couldn’t do it very seriously, in a professional way”. They did.
“At the moment, you feel really alone !”…
The 1st edition occured in 2014, in front of 650 spectators at « La Machine du Moulin Rouge”. A 2nd one took place in 2015 at the « Cabaret Sauvage ». « The idea is to show that fighting on a ring is, at the same time, ordinary and extraordinary. I lived this experience in 2014. With music, lights, a little short, half nude in front of your friends… At the moment, you feel really alone !”, he smiles. “You have to imagine the situation… All of them have never met this kind of emotions, like being exposed in front of a large audience. They live something very special, very unique. Last year, a guy came to us and told us : “don’t tell my wife but it was a stronger feeling than my wedding !”. There was also this girl who, just before jumping onto the ring, she started crying because of the stress. Afterwards, she fell into our arms and said she had lived an outstanding moment”.
« A party before being a competition”
This year, 30 candidates registered at the beginning of April. After 2 months of trials and training, 16 of them were chosen to live this great experience. “Requirements are numerous and various”, says Stephane Madelenat, « besides height and weight, we value experience, fighting spirit, technique, self control ability; and their social network, which is part of the game”.
Fights are scheduled in 3 rounds of 2 minutes and are refereeing by the scholar boxing rules (no strong strikes). “We don’t want any KO. There is no interest in seeing street fights between people whose technique is under construction. It’s a party before being a competition”.
To see a potential KO, people should wait for the 2 professional fights scheduled. « It’s very interesting to mix different environments. 90% of the people who will be in the assistance have never seen boxing fights in their life. Some can think they are Superman or King Kong. But, when you see a fight in live, it’s like a reality check ! It’s amazing : strikes, sweat splashing, noises, intensity, speed… TV cannot express this ! ». On June 2nd, i twill not be virtual…
By Ludovic Mauchien