Category Archives: Sport

Fighters #2 | 2013 | Digital

This series of images is an extension of the Fighters #1 series. The difference this time is that they were photographed immediately after sparring in the boxing ring. Each fighter was asked what it was they thought about before they went into the ring to fight. The answers reveal to the viewer the individual’s identity, their emotions and self-motivation.

All images copyright ©2013 Tony Blood Photography

No copying without the photographer’s permission.

Adam Earnshaw, Fighter, 2013

Adam Earnshaw, Fighter, 2013
“I think about my preparation for the fight, the team behind me and try to keep my mind focused on performing well and staying confident.”

Benjamin Whittaker, Fighter, 2013

Benjamin Whittaker, Fighter, 2013
“What I think before a fight is all the hard work I have put in and all the times I’ve woke up early to train. Then I pray to God.”

Bradley Townley, Fighter, 2013

Bradley Townley, Fighter, 2013
“When thinking that my first fight is soon approaching I feel a mixture of nervousness and excitement. I am not nervous about whom my opponent will be or how good they are, I am nervous about not performing to my abilities in front of the many people who have come to support me and expect me to do my best. I am also excited, as this is what I love to do. It is what I enjoy and I want to put my skills to the test and see what type of level I am at in the sport.”

Dre Groce, Fighter, 2013

Dre Groce, Fighter, 2013
“Before I go in I’m petrified. For the first five minutes before I actually get in the ring I’m wetting myself basically. And then as I see my opponent or I step in the ring I just get that confidence boost knowing that Joby’s there looking at the people in the corner, I just get that boost man, I just feel ready and I feel like I’m unbeatable.”

Kerrith Bhella, Fighter, 2013

Kerrith Bhella, Fighter, 2013
“There’s a whole lot of nerves, a lot of different feelings. You want to get in the ring. You’ll get butterflies in your stomach. You’re thinking ‘this guy’s trained just as hard as you and he’s gonna try and hurt ya.’ But it’s a funny feeling, I can’t explain it, you feel a certain emotion because there’s so many different emotions going through your mind at one time; you feel good, you feel bad, then you start doubting yourself and start thinking ‘no, come on!’ And it’s just a whole whirl of different emotions, I can’t explain it. When you get in there you feel confident, you just go and you’re in survival mode and you know what you’ve got to do and you just do the job.”

Pavan Aujla, Fighter, 2013

Pavan Aujla, Fighter, 2013
“Well just before when you’ve got a few hours, staying relaxed, being calm, obviously you’re gonna be nervous and scared but as it gets closer and closer to the fight, let’s say 20 minutes in, 10 minutes in you’re thinking about the game plan. And then you’re kind of like psyching yourself up, talking to yourself, kind of like ‘ok, I’ve got to do this, come on let’s do this.’ You really have to talk to yourself until the point you just got to flip the switch and say ‘look let’s just do it, this is what I do, just fight, let’s do it.’ Sometimes you wish you’d have trained harder, like you wished you hadn’t have missed that training session but I think at that point I just try to listen to what Joby tries to tell me, which is the game plan and try to stick to that as much as possible, using combinations, keeping it quality, keeping it strong, keeping it fast and just try to impress the judges and win the fight even knock them out if I can, that’s the way I like to go.”

Ricky Ram, Fighter, 2013

Ricky Ram, Fighter, 2013
“Before a fight I think ‘will my training pay off?’ To be fair right before a fight my nerves are really kicking off, so all I can say is before I go in to fight I just think to go right back to basics, I think of my stance, I think of my guard, I think about my straight punches, I think about my back leg roundhouse. And I think if I can execute my basics right in the first round then that’s a good sign, which gives me confidence to carry on fighting throughout the other rounds as well.”

Suki Singh, Fighter, 2013

Suki Singh, Fighter, 2013

Tommy Wilis, Fighter, 2013

Tommy Willis, Fighter, 2013
“Coming up to my first fight I feel nervous about having a crowd watching. I’m worried about the nerves ruining my performance. The fight itself or getting hurt doesn’t scare me, I just don’t like the idea of all eyes on me, I’m like that with other things; public speaking for example.”

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Fighters #1 | 2013 | Film

Photographed within the studio the series focuses on a group of professional fighters from ‘Firewalker Health Club’, a martial arts gym in Wolverhampton. Stepping inside the ring to engage in combat is one of the hardest things a fighter can do, it shows spirit, courage and determination. Each fighter was asked what it was they thought about before they went into the ring to fight. The answers reveal to the viewer the individual’s identity, their emotions and self-motivation. Within this extreme sport the images also explore the diversity of ethnicity, age and gender.

All images copyright ©2013 Tony Blood Photography

No copying without the photographer’s permission.

Dre Groce, Fighter, 2013 “Before I go in I’m petrified. For the first five minutes before I actually get in the ring I’m wetting myself basically. And then as I see my opponent or I step in the ring I just get that confidence boost knowing that Joby’s there looking at the people in the corner, I just get that boost man, I just feel ready and I feel like I’m unbeatable.”

Dre Groce, Fighter, 2013
“Before I go in I’m petrified. For the first five minutes before I actually get in the ring I’m wetting myself basically. And then as I see my opponent or I step in the ring I just get that confidence boost knowing that Joby’s there looking at the people in the corner, I just get that boost man, I just feel ready and I feel like I’m unbeatable.”

Joby Clayton, Coach, 2013 “I am looking to control my own nerves by being very professional and being their strength as well because they get very nervous. So I need to show them that we are a professional outfit and we keep going over the tactics that we’re going to employ in the fight and normally I just give them 2 different things that I want them to do, for instance I might say to them, ‘take the centre of the ring and be first.’ And that is what I’ll drum into them because while they’re thinking ‘oh my dear, what’s gonna happen, is this person gonna kick me hard, is he gonna punch me hard?’ I’ll take that thought away and put that thought in. The more experienced guys I see a confidence come about and they do a lot of positive self-talk and I just reinforce that. Obviously from my point of view as well I’m also thinking about what I might be saying in between rounds because I’ve only got about 30 seconds. How I’m gonna say it as well is very important, for instance, if somebody is dropping their guard there’s no sense in me saying to them ‘you’re dropping your guard’, I need to put it to them ‘keep your guard up’. So how you talk in the corner is very important and I might be rehearsing that just like the fighter is rehearsing what they’re gonna do in the ring, I’ll be rehearsing what I’m saying before the fight and in between rounds because those can be crucial moments for the fighter to win or lose the fight.”

Joby Clayton, Coach, 2013
“I am looking to control my own nerves by being very professional and being their strength as well because they get very nervous. So I need to show them that we are a professional outfit and we keep going over the tactics that we’re going to employ in the fight and normally I just give them 2 different things that I want them to do, for instance I might say to them, ‘take the centre of the ring and be first.’ And that is what I’ll drum into them because while they’re thinking ‘oh my dear, what’s gonna happen, is this person gonna kick me hard, is he gonna punch me hard?’ I’ll take that thought away and put that thought in. The more experienced guys I see a confidence come about and they do a lot of positive self-talk and I just reinforce that. Obviously from my point of view as well I’m also thinking about what I might be saying in between rounds because I’ve only got about 30 seconds. How I’m gonna say it as well is very important, for instance, if somebody is dropping their guard there’s no sense in me saying to them ‘you’re dropping your guard’, I need to put it to them ‘keep your guard up’. So how you talk in the corner is very important and I might be rehearsing that just like the fighter is rehearsing what they’re gonna do in the ring, I’ll be rehearsing what I’m saying before the fight and in between rounds because those can be crucial moments for the fighter to win or lose the fight.”

Kerrith Bhella, Fighter, 2013 “There’s a whole lot of nerves, a lot of different feelings. You want to get in the ring. You’ll get butterflies in your stomach. You’re thinking ‘this guy’s trained just as hard as you and he’s gonna try and hurt ya.’ But it’s a funny feeling, I can’t explain it, you feel a certain emotion because there’s so many different emotions going through your mind at one time; you feel good, you feel bad, then you start doubting yourself and start thinking ‘no, come on!’ And it’s just a whole whirl of different emotions, I can’t explain it. When you get in there you feel confident, you just go and you’re in survival mode and you know what you’ve got to do and you just do the job.”

Kerrith Bhella, Fighter, 2013
“There’s a whole lot of nerves, a lot of different feelings. You want to get in the ring. You’ll get butterflies in your stomach. You’re thinking ‘this guy’s trained just as hard as you and he’s gonna try and hurt ya.’ But it’s a funny feeling, I can’t explain it, you feel a certain emotion because there’s so many different emotions going through your mind at one time; you feel good, you feel bad, then you start doubting yourself and start thinking ‘no, come on!’ And it’s just a whole whirl of different emotions, I can’t explain it. When you get in there you feel confident, you just go and you’re in survival mode and you know what you’ve got to do and you just do the job.”

Ricky Ram, Fighter, 2013 “Before a fight I think ‘will my training pay off?’ To be fair right before a fight my nerves are really kicking off, so all I can say is before I go in to fight I just think to go right back to basics, I think of my stance, I think of my guard, I think about my straight punches, I think about my back leg roundhouse. And I think if I can execute my basics right in the first round then that’s a good sign, which gives me confidence to carry on fighting throughout the other rounds as well.”

Ricky Ram, Fighter, 2013
“Before a fight I think ‘will my training pay off?’ To be fair right before a fight my nerves are really kicking off, so all I can say is before I go in to fight I just think to go right back to basics, I think of my stance, I think of my guard, I think about my straight punches, I think about my back leg roundhouse. And I think if I can execute my basics right in the first round then that’s a good sign, which gives me confidence to carry on fighting throughout the other rounds as well.”

Pavan Aujla, Fighter, 2013 “Well just before when you’ve got a few hours, staying relaxed, being calm, obviously you’re gonna be nervous and scared but as it gets closer and closer to the fight, let’s say 20 minutes in, 10 minutes in you’re thinking about the game plan. And then you’re kind of like psyching yourself up, talking to yourself, kind of like ‘ok, I’ve got to do this, come on let’s do this.’ You really have to talk to yourself until the point you just got to flip the switch and say ‘look let’s just do it, this is what I do, just fight, let’s do it.’ Sometimes you wish you’d have trained harder, like you wished you hadn’t have missed that training session but I think at that point I just try to listen to what Joby tries to tell me, which is the game plan and try to stick to that as much as possible, using combinations, keeping it quality, keeping it strong, keeping it fast and just try to impress the judges and win the fight even knock them out if I can, that’s the way I like to go.”

Pavan Aujla, Fighter, 2013
“Well just before when you’ve got a few hours, staying relaxed, being calm, obviously you’re gonna be nervous and scared but as it gets closer and closer to the fight, let’s say 20 minutes in, 10 minutes in you’re thinking about the game plan. And then you’re kind of like psyching yourself up, talking to yourself, kind of like ‘ok, I’ve got to do this, come on let’s do this.’ You really have to talk to yourself until the point you just got to flip the switch and say ‘look let’s just do it, this is what I do, just fight, let’s do it.’ Sometimes you wish you’d have trained harder, like you wished you hadn’t have missed that training session but I think at that point I just try to listen to what Joby tries to tell me, which is the game plan and try to stick to that as much as possible, using combinations, keeping it quality, keeping it strong, keeping it fast and just try to impress the judges and win the fight even knock them out if I can, that’s the way I like to go.”

Mindaugs Tarvids, Fighter, 2013 “The main thing is you’ve done your training. You’ve been probably preparing for 3, 4 maybe more months and all you’re thinking of is ‘that’s it, it’s now, there’s no way back, even if you’re gonna win or lose, no matter what, you’re just gonna do your best and prove yourself that you can do it.’ Just do the best you can at the moment, that’s it because your friends and everybody around are watching and at that moment you’re not scared anymore. You were a bit worried before but right before the fight you think, ‘lets do it, it’s my job.”

Mindaugs Tarvids, Fighter, 2013
“The main thing is you’ve done your training. You’ve been probably preparing for 3, 4 maybe more months and all you’re thinking of is ‘that’s it, it’s now, there’s no way back, even if you’re gonna win or lose, no matter what, you’re just gonna do your best and prove yourself that you can do it.’ Just do the best you can at the moment, that’s it because your friends and everybody around are watching and at that moment you’re not scared anymore. You were a bit worried before but right before the fight you think, ‘lets do it, it’s my job.”

Michelle Clayton, Fighter, 2013 “I’m thinking how hard I’ve trained, how hard my opponent has trained, not letting my family down, knowing how much I want to win a fight. Obviously all of the things Joby’s taught me, all those things will come into my head of keeping my guard up, keep my chin down, all the strength work we’ve done, all the training with the guys; all that comes into it. It’s quite emotional, you’re nervous and a little bit scared but you want to go in the ring and you want to fight and you want to win but everything that Joby’s taught you, stays. It goes and then it comes right back into your head again. As soon as you step into the ring, you’re ready to go.”

Michelle Clayton, Fighter, 2013
“I’m thinking how hard I’ve trained, how hard my opponent has trained, not letting my family down, knowing how much I want to win a fight. Obviously all of the things Joby’s taught me, all those things will come into my head of keeping my guard up, keep my chin down, all the strength work we’ve done, all the training with the guys; all that comes into it. It’s quite emotional, you’re nervous and a little bit scared but you want to go in the ring and you want to fight and you want to win but everything that Joby’s taught you, stays. It goes and then it comes right back into your head again. As soon as you step into the ring, you’re ready to go.”

Lorayne Brown, Fighter, 2013 “First, for instance I’m very nervous, thinking about what the opponent is like. I then move on to positive things like winning and performing well, staying focused and giving 110%. I try not to think negative or I’ve lost the fight before I’ve started. Everyone gets nervous, but sometimes too many nerves can take you off focus. I believe in being confident with yourself, not too confident because sometimes it can work against you. I always remember that your opponent is nervous as well as yourself and my theory to life is when people participate in any kind of sports, whether its competitive or not, it’s not all about winning it’s about taking part. But for me personally, because I’m quite competitive and do variations of sports, I personally aim to win.”

Lorayne Brown, Fighter, 2013
“First, for instance I’m very nervous, thinking about what the opponent is like. I then move on to positive things like winning and performing well, staying focused and giving 110%. I try not to think negative or I’ve lost the fight before I’ve started. Everyone gets nervous, but sometimes too many nerves can take you off focus. I believe in being confident with yourself, not too confident because sometimes it can work against you. I always remember that your opponent is nervous as well as yourself and my theory to life is when people participate in any kind of sports, whether its competitive or not, it’s not all about winning it’s about taking part. But for me personally, because I’m quite competitive and do variations of sports, I personally aim to win.”