Monday, 24 November 2014

Boxiana Vol. 1 preview: Diary of a Fight Novice

Boxiana: Volume 1 is available NOW through Troubador PublishingAmazon in the UKAmazon in the USA and all good traditional and online booksellers.

Over the past couple of months, this blog has been featuring a series of exclusive previews of content from Boxiana: Volume 1, which will hopefully whet your appetite and persuade you to buy the full volume, which is available NOW as a paperback book (RRP £9.99) or ebook (RRP £3.99).

Today I'm presenting an extract by Mario Mungia, a promising young boxing writer and broadcaster. Mario's article, in the best traditions of 'participant' journalism, is a revealing diary of his own efforts training in a boxing gym. It's a highly original article which I found both amusing and revealing. I'm sure you'll enjoy it!

Boxiana: Volume 1 preview

Round 9

When long-time boxing fan Mario Mungia decided to lace up the gloves he got more than he bargained for …
I’ve found that boxing fans share one major similarity above all else, namely a fondness for their majestic introduction to the sport. I think we all have those associations as fans because boxing is so transcendent and eternal compared to other spectator sports. It’s easy to buy in to a fighter’s story and get caught up in the poetic nature of his journey. A fighter can become immortalized by an entire group of people and the passion shared gets passed down to sons, daughters, grandkids, etc. It’s the same kind of thing that happens with religion or political affiliations - the influence becomes as powerful as the bond it creates.

My background is no different, you see; my father was a proud Hispanic man and he made sure that the culture wasn’t lost on his sons. The problem was my brother and I were professional wrestling fans and we preferred the talents of Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart to those of Aaron Pryor and Alexis Argüello. But before we watched wrestling on Sundays and Mondays we had to watch boxing on Saturdays. My dad wanted us to learn the value of something real before we were subjected to the theatrics of wrestling.

And it worked. After some resentment early on, I learned to appreciate boxing, specifically the fighters. I fell in love with the poetic nature of the sport and the complexities that surround it. I was fascinated by how something could be so violent and brutal while simultaneously so methodical and beautiful. Over the years though, I’ve learned that my philosophies on boxing aren’t generally reciprocated by those who’ve actually participated in the sport. Most practitioners take offense when I describe the sport as a “majestic manifestation of man’s basic instincts,” and liken the brutal onslaught suffered by each fighter to the “upsetting but necessary laws of nature where the law of survival of the fittest predominates”.

I won’t say that I’ve never winced at the sight of a large haematoma or grimaced during the replay of a devastating knockdown, but I know that those two men wouldn’t have wanted it any other way, right? They are gladiators and a knockdown is a rite of passage, a reincarnation of nature’s most primal impulses, nostalgia at the highest level and, dare I say, a badge of honor.

I grew up with friends who began boxing at an early age and they gave everything they had to the sport, I respected them on a different level in comparison to my other peers. But it was an unrequited respect and they were often offended by my take on the sport. For example, we usually differed over fighters like Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Pernell Whitaker because I preferred the all-action style of fights while they had more respect for the craftsmen of the sport. They were also very defensive about my criticism towards fighters that failed to make weight. My attitude towards it was that it was inexcusable and unprofessional, while they argued that making weight is a task that can’t be fully condemned unless it’s fully understood.

As the years have passed I’ve immersed myself in specific literature and particular authors who have allowed me to further articulate my own feelings on boxing and better romanticize my viewpoints. I’ve used my education as a means of authenticity because the one thing I share with fighters is the competitive factor. Indeed, one could make the argument that in outlook and personality I’m a down right ‘know-it-all’.

Therefore, after years of pent-up curiosity and upon the suggestion of a colleague - a fellow boxing scribe - I recently decided to adopt the method used by some of the greatest writers in history and enroll myself in the subject itself, become my own comparison. So, for the last two months - 64 days to be exact - I’ve committed myself to training and learning the sweet science. I’ve documented my experiences and analyzed my findings to better comprehend the root of my discretions as they relate to the sport of boxing and its competitors, while simultaneously testing the average person’s threshold. I’m not an athlete, not in the slightest, and I felt it was imperative to go through the rigors of at least a modest training camp because I think we sometimes forget that as talented as these athletes are they are still human.

Day 1:
I walked into the gym that day as nervous as I've ever been for anything in my life; I had no idea what to expect and I was worried that my modest physical shape wouldn't suffice...


Boxiana: Volume 1 is available NOW through Troubador PublishingAmazon in the UKAmazon in the USA and all good traditional and online booksellers.

MARIO MUNGIA is a sweet science enthusiast with a passion for literature. A writer from Texas, Mario is currently working on his Liberal Arts degree in English. He began covering boxing in 2012, writing for Shortly after, he was picked up by, where he is a contributor and co-host of a very popular live internet show. Since 2012, he has contributed to over 12 publications and is a regular freelancer for another five, including Corpus Christi Caller Times,, and Primer Round Magazine, where Mario is currently a staff writer. As a proud Hispanic, Mario’s cultural background has fuelled his love for the sport of boxing since he began following it as a young child, while his respect and dedication to the literary arts has been the driving force behind his involvement with tutoring young Hispanic children since 2008.

An anthology of new boxing writing Boxiana: Volume 1 is available in both paperback book and eBook formats. Boxiana editor Luke G. Williams said: “In a world dominated by 140 character limits and the 24-hour news cycle, brevity and superficiality have become de rigueur. Boxiana takes a different approach; by using long-form journalism to take an in-depth look at boxing’s past, present and future, we are hoping that Boxiana will become a vital new voice in sports writing.”

In Volume 1:
Trevor Von Eeden, author of graphic novel The Original Johnson, analyses the significance of Jack Johnson; Mario Mungia tries his hand at amateur boxing; Ben Williams uncovers his grandfather’s bare-knuckle career; James Hernandez catches up with Jon Thaxton; Matthew Ogborn ponders boxers and retirement; rising light heavyweight Chris Hobbs recounts his life in the military and the ring; Rowland Stone recalls a heady night in 1992; Corey Quincy attempts to solve the Wladimir Klitschko conundrum and Luke G. Williams examines the meteoric rise of Deontay Wilder and the under-rated career of Chris Byrd.

Enquiries / review copies: +44 7958 319765 /

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