You’ve heard who they are and why they’re fighting. But now that we’re over the halfway mark until the big night on October 9th, things have started to pick up a bit. Training is getting more intense. They’ve been punched in the face. Most have had a bloody nose here or there, their diets have changed, and boxing is becoming an everyday part of their lives. So we figured it was about time to check back in and see how things have been going. Nikki Joyal has been putting in work at Lucky Punch Boxing and below you’ll hear about her first time sparring and more about his experience with Haymakers thus far.

We’re halfway to fight night, how is your training coming along?
Training is good. It’s so much harder than I thought it would be but I feel like I’m progressing! It’s so mentally and physically challenging.... I had no idea how much it takes! When I signed up I thought I can do anything for 6mins. I thought I was physically in good shape.... I soon found out that it’s a big difference to be in fighter shape! That boxing for 6mins feels like hours. It’s definitely a humbling experience for me and I’m enjoying the push. I want to be better and I like working on my weaknesses. I’m finding a whole new me through the experience.

What is your weekly routine?
I pretty much spend my days sweaty and smelly! Hahaha I teach hot yoga. So it’s teaching and training as much as possible. Then I toss in caring for my two kids, the dog, and running a business with my husband. I start my days early and I end them late. It’s a lot but it’s been manageable so far.

How has your diet changed since training began?
I’m actually so much hungrier! I wasn’t changing much in what I was eating but I was eating more. Trying to keep up with all the workouts. That didn’t seem to be working since the weight starting creeping on, so I’m switching it up going forward! I’ve also started drinking a lot more water.

Tell us about your first-time sparring, different than expected?
I had never boxed before this all started so sparring was/is eye-opening for me. I definitely have a lot of work to do... it’s harder than expected but less scary than I expected.

What has been the most challenging part of sticking to the routine and training so far?
Just missing out on time with my family and friends. Training takes up a lot of time... even on off days. I know how important it is to really push myself but that can be hard to do with so much else going on. Trying to balance it all is a little crazy.

What does your family think of your participation?
They think I’m crazy. They are so proud and supportive but they don’t fully get it. They don’t understand why I have to do this. Why I can’t raise money without getting hit in the face!

It’s amazing how many people’s lives have been touched by cancer in some way - has there been anyone that has surprised you by their story?
Unfortunately I’m never surprised by stories. A lot of us never think about cancer until a loved one or ourselves is diagnosed. Even then it’s not always talked about. I’m always sad to hear about people dealing with cancer in their lives. That’s part of the reason I’m doing this. So hopefully someday I’ll hear less stories.

Has your initial inspiration changed since the start of your training?
No. I went into this to help raise awareness and funding for much needed research that will always drive me.

Donate to Rachel or purchase a ticket to Belles of the Brawl on October 9th here!