Upper Seagry horse trainer gets ready to go in ring

This Is Wiltshire: Allun Sutherland is taking part in the Zero to Hero Challenge. Inset, Mr Sutherland trains with his son Harry who is a Chippenham rugby player Allun Sutherland is taking part in the Zero to Hero Challenge. Inset, Mr Sutherland trains with his son Harry who is a Chippenham rugby player

Horse trainer Allun Sutherland hasn’t let the small matter of a broken nose stop him training to become a boxer as part of a television challenge.

The 41-year-old from Upper Seagry is taking part in a 10-week programme run by Zero to Hero Boxing, which trains white collar workers to go toe-to-toe in the ring.

It is all leading up to a fight night in front of 2,500 people at The Hand centre in Clevedon, Bristol, on August 2, which will be televised by Sky Sport.

Mr Sutherland, who has competed in horse trials at Blenheim and Gatcombe Park, was roped in for the challenge by his 13-year-old son Harry and he is raising money for the JDRF charity for his 28-year-old stepson, who has type 1 diabetes.

He has not even been put off by breaking his nose last week. He said he feels great, has lost two inches from his waist and has overcome his fear of being smacked in the face, though it took him a while to get into it.

“I’d never thrown a punch before. I was the model child through school,” he said.

“I work with difficult, problem horses and my job is to diffuse the situation, not to react. When I first started I just stood there and took it. Now I’m learning to react and to move.

He said he took his first blow in the third week. “You knew it was going to happen but when you haven’t experienced it before, even with the headguard, it’s a shock.

“But you get conditioned, you start to learn that being punched isn’t as bad as you think. You get used to putting up resistance when you hold your hands by your face, as you feel a bit of a numpty punching yourself.

“After all those weeks of getting knocked about, I finally experienced what it was like to make contact with the other guy. I knocked him back into the ropes and it felt good – but when I came out the ring I felt guilty.”

He said his wife Kate, a midwife in Swindon, was happy for him to do the fight. “She upped my life insurance and told me to go for it,” he joked.

Mr Sutherland, who is 5ft 11in and weighs 80kg, is now training six nights a week.

He said: “I’ve never been pushed as hard as now. We’ve had people pass out and be sick and then you just carry on. I hadn’t realised it is quite an art. There’s a lot of technical skill and I totally underestimated the huge level of fitness needed.”

Donate to his cause at www. justgiving.com/Allun-Sutherland

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