Former middleweight champion of the world Hassan N’Dam wanted to repay the French hospital that cared for his father-in-law through his battle with COVID-19.
Perhaps with Champagne? Or chocolates?
“These are things that won’t last. I wanted to leave something quite memorable,” N’Dam said.
It occurred to him that he held the answer in his own hands — or rather, in his fists.
He would give the medical workers at Villeneuve-Saint-Georges hospital boxing lessons, to help them relieve the tension of long shifts during the coronavirus pandemic — “letting off steam, getting rid of all one’s emotions.”
“They have seen so many [difficult] things that they came here looking for something,” said N’Dam, who wore a blue mask as he spoke at the hospital. “Sometimes they came to laugh, to let off steam. Others came to discover something, others to learn, improve.”
The 36-year-old, who represented Cameroon at the 2016 Olympic Games, has won 37 of 41 professional fights — 21 by knockout.
His 30-minute training sessions have been immensely popular with the staff.
As a nurse in the intensive care unit (ICU), 27-year-old Marina de Carli, has been on the front line of the pandemic since it hit France.
“In the ICU we see things that are not easy,” she said. “So it feels good to let the pressure drop a bit.”
Wearing camouflage-pattern shorts and a mask, she threw punches into the burly boxer’s hands during her fifth and final class.
“Advance, advance, advance, go back, go back, go back,” N’Dam calmly advised her.
Operating theater nurses Kenza Benour and Nassima Guermat warmed up for their training by skipping rope — awkwardly, because their shoes were covered with blue plastic protective shields.
Guermat’s strong left-right hook combinations pounded N’Dam’s hand pads, as his wife looked on.
The hospital boxing bouts also gave N’Dam valuable time to see his father-in-law, Jean-Claude Valero, as he recovered from COVID-19.
Valero on Wednesday was well enough to sit and watch N’Dam in action.
Philippe Wodecke, 55, who had a hand in treating Valero, was keen to learn from the former world champion.
Dressed in crimson red tracksuit pants and wearing a T-shirt from the 2012 London Games, the orthopedic surgeon’s pugilism belied his age.
Light on his toes, the stocky surgeon unleashed a quick four-punch combination that seemed to surprise, perhaps even impress, N’Dam.
Wodecke’s boxing career is unlikely to take off, but the workouts have been an invaluable help for him and his weary colleagues.
“A moment of escape, a moment of relaxation amid the torment,” Wodecke said. “He’s done us a lot of good.”
Hong Kong media reported that police briefly detained a man in a Liverpool team jersey who shouted “long live Liverpool” during anti-government protests on Wednesday, over suspicion that he was inciting independence. In-Media reported that the man was across the street from police officers who were conducting stop-and-searches on a group of protesters, when he shouted: “Long live Liverpool.” Others reportedly cheered and joined in the chant, before officers detained him. The man told In-Media that police had accused him of inciting Hong Kong independence, which now is a punishable crime. He said that he has been a fan of the English soccer
WOLFSBURG BEATEN: Bayern striker Robert Lewandowski scored from a penalty, his 34th league goal this season, finishing as the top Bundesliga scorer for the fifth time Werder Bremen gave themselves hope of avoiding relegation from the Bundesliga by thrashing Cologne 6-1 to grab a playoff place on the last day of the season, while champions Bayern Munich routed VfL Wolfsburg before lifting the trophy on Saturday. Japan striker Yuya Osako scored twice as Bremen stole the lifeline of the relegation/promotion playoff place from Fortuna Duesseldorf, who lost 3-0 against Union Berlin and were relegated with SC Paderborn, finishing one point behind Bremen. “We put in a great performance under pressure, but we are aware that we haven’t achieved anything — in the relegation playoff, the emotions will be
Dustin Poirier won a thrilling unanimous decision over Dan Hooker on Saturday, surviving a brutal second round and persevering to finish a well-rounded performance in the main event at the UFC’s corporate gym. Mike Perry also ended his two-fight skid with a one-sided unanimous decision over Mickey Gall in the penultimate fight of the UFC’s fifth consecutive fan-free event in its hometown. The main event was a barn-burner from the opening round, with both lightweights trading wicked strikes and displaying minimal regard for defense. The second round was a particular spectacle, with each fighter badly hurting the other while throwing punches and
Raptors guard Fred VanVleet is already in Florida with the rest of his Toronto teammates, and he knows the time to take a stand and counter the NBA plan to restart the season has passed, but his opinion on the matter has not changed. “It sucks,” VanVleet said on Monday in a videoconference of his choice to return to the court during the COVID-19 pandemic and Black Lives Matter campaign. “It’s terrible timing, but that’s been 2020 for us. We all know the right thing to do is to not play, to take a stand. Morally, yes, that makes sense, but