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This week the pod is joined by Ruth “Insanitea” Slattery and Richard “Berserker” Evans-Lacey. Originally Ruth’s ring name was going to be “Ruth, the whole Ruth and nothing but the Ruth” but it was deemed to be too much of a mouthful.
We learn how other combat sports have a ring girl but in chessboxing we have a ring piece, the Berserker! Ancient chess sets like the Lewis chessmen used to have a berserker in the position of the rook today. A berserker was a type of crack viking warrior that uses to charge into battle wearing nothing than animal firs. They would work themselves into a frenzy by consuming magic mushrooms before battle. That’s wear the word berserk comes from.
Chessboxing is a lot more intense when you are in the moment. Although it looks relatively straightforward from the outside but is a totally different experience in first person. Ruth managed to get a standing 8 count until Jack, Ruth’s coach told her to “F*$ing hit her!” Ruth was thinking about the boxing whilst playing chess which broke down her concentration. It took a while her muscle memory to kick in.
Richard was fighting Andrew “The Pawn Slayer” Smith who was a much better chess player. Andrew gives chess lessons in the training session which give an idea of the gap in ability. Richard opened with the London System in an attempt to make the chess game as boring as possible. However, Andrew managed to off-foot him with his first move.
Ruth suggested that the chess commentators should have to do a round of chessboxing so that they perhaps aren’t so damming in their comments. Although the commentators were not impressed with Richard’s chess, importantly he didn’t mess up and was able to play through to lose on time. He managed two and a half rounds of chess and two rounds of boxing which he was very pleased with. Where was Richard’s speciality hook flurry? Apparently Andrew simply moved out of the way before it could be deployed.
The pod discussed the optics of the first fight, what a great way to start the show. It is agreed that Matthew “The Minotaur” Coldwell is a total legend and loved the event, he can’t wait to fight again. His opponent Dashiell “Demontime” Shaw was nervous before the fight but clearly enjoyed himself. Richard talks candidly about his facing up to the challenge of a physical fight, something he has carried with him for several years. Richard was able to prove to himself that he can fight.
Richard and Andrew rehearsed their WWE style contretemps to set up the fight in the minds of the audience. Andrew had stolen the Berserker’s mushrooms and then provokes the fight by pouring the mushrooms on the floor.
Richard points out that Maarten “Machine” Kamerling was carrying a lot of hotness advantage – “Bloody hell, did you see his muscles!” It looks like Richard will have to get in the man-crush line behind Matt “Crazy Arms” Read. The worst thing about Maarten is that he’s not only talented and good looking but an incredibly nice guy.
The pod discusses what the different weight categories mean in terms of punching power and the dangers of boxing.
Congratulations to Andre “Glenzman” Glenzer, the new WCBA European Middleweight Champion. Commiserations to Shayan “Shah” Zarein Dolab who had the edge in the ring but wasn’t able to defend Andre’s king-side attack successfully in the chess. Andre flew to London in March 2020 only to contract covid meaning he was unable to fight. His previous fight was won in the first round of chess so it was fantastic to see him finally take to the ring. The pod also discussed a new rule change meaning that there will always be at least one round of boxing in any bout.
Will they get in the ring again? Find out at the end of the pod what the Berserker and Ruth though of the replacement berserker (Gavin). This October we will have an Olympic gold medalist fighting on the show – get your tickets!
Shout out to Kate Gilbert.
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