As if juggling 10 businesses and five children wasn’t enough of a challenge, a Manawatu woman is also taking care of business in the boxing ring.
Suzie Johnson, the woman behind the Oosh clothing and jewellery stores, is donning boxing gloves for next weekend’s Battle of the Belts boxing event.
The 43-year-old began boxing last year, and in the past six months has dropped from 93 kilograms to 77kg.
The fight aims to raise awareness for obesity and diabetes, while the money raised will go towards teaching children from low decile schools healthy eating.
* Small-town style with big goals
* Thursday night lights for Battle of the Belts boxing event
* Boxing club’s popularity means they need a new gym
* Tararua boxers to be on show when Pahiatua hosts fight night for Lance Bryant
“It’s teaching from the ground level up – grab fruit and a drink or water rather than fizzy drink and a pie,” Johnson said.
Johnson said her father-in-law is a diabetic and before the challenge, she and her husband Kiwi Johnson were slightly overweight.
She decided to take part in the challenge not just to help the cause, but to get fitter, stronger and healthier.
Johnson began by walking and running in November, and by January was sparing, blocking, working on her footwork, and racing through circuits.
One of the biggest changes she made was in how she used her spare time, she said. Instead of watching television, she would instead head out for a walk.
Kiwi had also changed his habits, losing 8kg through a healthy diet and doing outdoor jobs rather than spending time behind a screen, she said.
Johnson said boxing was completely out of her comfort zone – she’d only ever even watched a match once before embarking on her boxing challenge.
“This has to be hands down the hardest thing I have done in my whole life.”
Boxing was also a mental game, she said. There were days she’d come home with a black eye and a sore nose, but the trick was to get back up and keep going.
“It is terrifying getting into the ring, but actually, you end up feeling really great.”
Johnson said she felt fit and strong and was well supported by her trainers and family.
The exercise had lifted her mood, given her more energy and a sense of pride in what she had achieved.
Organiser Frankie Bryant told Stuff he was hoping the Battle of the Belts would be the biggest boxing fight night in Palmerston North this year.
Johnson is on trainer Filipo Saua’s red team and will face off against Billy Meehan’s blue team on May 5 at the Central Energy Trust Arena.
The main event will be Pahiatua man Lance Bryant, defending his New Zealand NBF cruiserweight title against Isileli Fa.