Waiter turns boxer to raise money for charity

A young waiter from a restaurant in Bromley decides to do his part for charity by putting his body through the ultimate test.

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Credit: Alex Zaharia

Alex Zaharia, a waiter at the Cow and Pig in Bromley. Spends 30 plus hours a week on his feet, greeting and serving customers, taking down reservations as well as being a bartender, is an exhausting task in itself. Yet, he still manages to maintain a training regimen for his passion, boxing.

Alex took part in his first competitive fight hosted by Bromley Fight Night. Alex who’s ring name is Vlad Tepes, lost the three-round bout by points losing 30-27 to his opponent Wesley Low. It was clear from the first round to the last that Alex was nervous as his opponent was already undefeated coming in to the fight. Which was noticeable as the commentator highlighted: “the irony is Tepes looks like he knows what he is doing, but he is just not doing it.”

The Romanian powerhouse was very defensive throughout the fight; he was very agile, dodged most of the punches but his style allowed his opponent to carefully pick his shots. It was only towards the end of the third round where he began to show some more of his offensive style.

In boxing, opponents swinging at each other to connect with a shot to the head is always more of a thrilling spectacle, we were rarely treated to such a scene. There were more body shots than head shots as both men were being cautious of one another. Wesley Low was timing his body shots as he could not afford to be greeted by a fist to the temple considering the size of Alex.  Despite it being a charity event, it was clear both men wanted to win, perhaps one hungrier for the victory more than the other but there was a level of respect achieved for both fighters at the end.

Credit: Alex Zaharia

Although many see boxing as a physical test, considering two people enter the ring to cause as much damage as possible for only one to walk out victorious. The waiter turned boxer has a contrasting view: “The real fight is actually with yourself. When you lose, you actually lose against yourself before losing against your opponent.”

For Alex, boxing has always been more of a mental battle than a physical battle. It is the mindset of the fighter that separates you from everyone else; despite losing on points, he is still motivated to push himself: “I lost by points, I lost but I was not beaten. Knowing that I was not beaten, helps me keep my ego up.”

Not only was it a daunting task for Alex, to maintain a training programme, to overcome both physical and mental challenges in preparation for the fight. He, himself expressed one tribulation that had become difficult to keep consistent. Of course, we are discussing his diet: “The pressure begins, especially when you are on a diet because that is when you want to go to a Mcdonalds and eat as much as you can.”

Alex, with a comical tone discussed his emotions coming into the fight and how he felt prior to stepping in the ring: “I was relaxed, I was a bit nervous. It’s like when you buy a ticket for a rollercoaster, all your friends are going and you already bought the ticket, so that’s it my friend you need to dance, there is no way back.”

As the conversation developed, I discovered a strange superstition that Alex was told by his friends to carry out before the fight: “If you want to talk about superstitions, the only thing I did which I got from my friends, is just before you have an actual fight, they go to the barber and have a haircut. They say it brings good luck if you do it.”

Initially, the waiter did not start training as a boxer. It was more of something that came across to him by chance. For Alex, training in the gym, living the healthy lifestyle and attempting to gain that bodybuilder physique was always his number one priority at the time: “I always wanted to get big and in shape. But one time I came across a boxing lesson. The way these small guys, I mean they were tiny, hitting the bag, the power, the precision. Then I thought to myself what is the point in having all this muscle.” Despite having one match so far in his boxing career, the way in which he discussed the sport with such passion, it was clear boxing was more than a sport for him.

It was more about than just winning by knockout or by points, or giving your opponent the beating of a lifetime or even receiving the biggest whooping of your life. Sipping his small Americano, he leaned back and began to talk at a slower pace than what he had been using throughout the afternoon: “In boxing, you get a lot of respect. Not only from people but for yourself and if you do not respect yourself you can’t exactly have respect for anyone else.”

The Full fight between Vlad Tepes (Alex Zaharia ) vs Wesley Low

Credit: Bromley Fight Night

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