Here’s the latest Icelandic dispatch from Daniel Heimpel
?Oh his cherry was popped,? says Fabio from the corner of the ring. Blood sputters from my nose and my head is ringing. Fabio has been successful in teaching me an important lesson – you better move your feet, otherwise you?re gonna get wrecked.
The day before, I had been talking with Fabio about Ari, the other trainer at Reykjavik?s boxing gym. In one of Iceland?s first fights, after almost 50 years of being banned, Ari caught eight rabbit punches to the back of his head. His brain started bleeding and he was hospitalized for 3 weeks and pumped with morphine four times a day.
?A catastrophic injury, and that?s what happened to Ari, is very rare in amateur boxing,? Fabio said in his English accent. He was in Ari?s corner the night of the bludgeoning. ?What you have to worry about is attrition, getting punched in the head 100 times a day for 10-15 years. Well then you?ll have problems.?
In the gym the warm up starts how it always does when Fabio is running it. All 15 of us jump rope, and then run with weights in our hands. Run up some wood stairs with Fabio screaming and slapping on the wood railing. Punch the heavy bag. ?You messed up!? he yells ?Do 10 press ups!? Hold out weights at your sides and watch your sweat spatter the floor. Mock sparring. Parry. Slip. Feint.
?You two,? he says to the other American, 40-something with strong veiny arms, and me. ?Let?s do some sparring.?
I wrap my hands and put on the gloves. I put the mouthpiece in my mouth and wait.