Bliksem! How to box your way to the top of the acting pile
Soapie star Nicole Bessick on fighting and fitness
She’s an industry force to be reckoned with but an even bigger force when she takes to the boxing ring. Actress Nicole Bessick has made it all the way to the top, winning the #BullyProof Celebrity Boxing Championship.
What first got you interested in boxing?
I’ve always used the fight art to keep fit.
What do you enjoy most about boxing?
Getting into the ring is a lot like anything in life. You have to fight and fight hard because you can’t count on anyone else fighting for you. And you have to fight for people who can’t fight for themselves. To get anything of real value in life you have to fight for it.
Mid-2017, I was crowned as the female #BullyProof Celebrity Boxing Champion. The event is headline-sponsored by the Jag Foundation, an organisation that uses sport as a catalyst for social change. Being a victim of bullying myself, I felt I had to get involved.My road to the belt was a tough one. After accepting the challenge to fight (mind you, I’d never stepped into a ring before and was fighting an opponent far more seasoned and experienced than I), I trained like a professional boxer. I trained for about three hours, six days a week, and lost 15kg in a month and a half to be able to qualify for the fight.
After a gruelling three rounds, my hand was raised and I was crowned as the #BullyProof Celebrity Boxing Champion.
Preparing for the fight stirred up a lot of emotions that I'd never really dealt with while in school. I was bullied every day for 12 years and, at the end of the day, when preparing for a fight, you go through similar things: the drama, the smack talk, the naysayers. All of it hits hard, all of it hits home.
I’ve always prided myself on never stepping down from a challenge, and I suppose in some way I used my journey to the belt to overcome what I went through in school. It wasn’t easy. You have to keep doing things that set your soul on fire.
Why is boxing the perfect workout for you?
Boxing training helps to relieve stress and anxiety. It provides a rush of endorphins and all those feel-good things we want to experience when working out. I really want to enjoy my workouts. I very rarely engage in any sort of physical activity that causes strain or doesn’t make me feel good.How have you implemented what you’ve learnt as a boxer into your acting career?
Winning fights shows you what hard work can do, and losing fights builds character. Those are the most important traits of the sport that I try to implement in my profession. When you prepare to go to war, you have to know yourself through and through: how you attack and how you respond. Who are you when you are alone with no one watching? Who are you when the odds are stacked against you? It teaches you how to lose with grace.
As a female, do you think it’s important to be able to defend yourself?
Unfortunately, in the world we live in, being able to defend yourself is essential as a woman. My first piece of advice in the event that you’re attacked is to strike hard but most importantly to get out of the situation. It’s all good and well to have lightning-speed hands and a hard punch, but those mean nothing when facing an attacker with a gun or a knife. In these instances, you have a window of opportunity to strike and strike hard. In order to know how to do some serious ass-kicking, I’d recommend Brazilian jiu jitsu. Broken arms and choke-outs are the call of the day in this sport.
Where would you recommend trying out boxing?
If you’re in Johannesburg, PHiT is your best bet. They’re the one-stop for martial art forms and have both UFC and EFC professional fighters on their coaching staff. They do everything from Brazilian jiu jitsu to boxing to muay thai … you’ll be Lara Croft in no time!As a beginner, what equipment do we need?
A pair of really good gloves, some wraps and a mouthguard.
What's your pre-workout snack of choice?
Everyone differs, and there’s no right or wrong answer here, but I do a half a bowl of oats.
Catch Nicole Bessick, actress, celebrity boxing champion and Marie Claire Top 12 Future Shaper, on ‘Broken Vows’ on eTV every day of the week at 6.30pm. With repeats at 12.30pm each day and the omnibus at 11.20am every Saturday.