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“I always think things will be harder than they are”

 “I always think things will be harder than they are”

Photographer:Fotograaf: Joey Roberts

The Seven Sins of boxer Xavier Köhlen

 

  • Greed. I’m not so into things, but when I do the groceries I always come home with more than was on the list.

  • Gluttony. I’m addicted to boxing, am always either doing it myself or watching it. I have to watch every match, even when I’m supposed to be studying. As for food, when I’m in training I eat a lot, anything and everything: bananas, panini, a bag of crisps, another sandwich. I’ve never used drugs, that would be doping. I know a guy who was caught and got a four-year suspension. I’m already 25, so if I couldn’t box for four years then it’d be as good as over. I haven’t drunk alcohol in four and a half years; that was a conscious choice because of boxing, but I don’t really like it anyway. And I hate having a hangover.

  • Lust. [Laughs] I have a girlfriend, so Iust happens sometimes, yes. Some professional boxers abstain from sex for six to eight weeks before a fight; supposedly it’s for the concentration, the focus. I do think you’re better off avoiding sex the night before a match, it costs energy after all.

  • Envy. I’m not really a jealous person; I usually try to relativise things. But it’s hard to do that when I see the guys on the British national team. They get lots of attention in the UK and are guaranteed a pro contract after the Olympics. The sport is also really well organised in America – not in the Netherlands though. We get next to no attention and there’s no company to promote professional boxing, so there’s not much chance of having a professional career. I’m very proud of the best-known Dutch boxer, Arnold Vanderlyde.

  • Sloth. I’m very active, but when my room needs cleaning it’s easy to think, I can do that tomorrow. And just the thought of running makes me tired. Our running sessions are very important for basic fitness, but I can’t say I enjoy them. Or climbing the steps at SnowWorld in Landgraaf every Monday morning. I know it’s good for me, but I’d much rather be doing explosive interval training.

  • Wrath. You need a healthy dose of aggression, especially in boxing. Repressed aggression is bad for you, leads you to make mistakes. I can get really angry, especially about unnecessary or unfair rules. Or when people hide behind the rules or make top-down decisions.

  • Pride. I don’t overestimate myself, but I do my opponent. I always think he’s going to be better, but after the first round I find myself thinking, oh, is this it? I have the same thing with exams; I always think they’ll be harder than they actually are. That’s why my studies are going so quickly. I always do my best because I expect it’ll be more difficult than it is.

Xavier Köhlen, 25, completed the bachelor’s in Tax Law in three years, now following the master’s in Direct Taxes, born and raised in Sittard.

Trains four to eight times per week in preparation for the 2019 World Boxing Championship, member of two clubs: De Amateur in Munstergeleen (the first club of the most well-known Dutch boxer, Arnold Vanderlyde) and Olympia 75 in Heerlen with trainer Patrick Driessen.

Best performance to date: European junior karate champion in 2009, bronze at the international boxing tournament in Halle in 2017, three-time Dutch boxing champion. Category: welterweight (up to 69 kg).

This is a series about students who sport at the highest level

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