August 15, 2016
Filed Under: NEWS & MEDIA
A FIGHTER IN AND OUTSIDE OF THE RING | FEATURING MATT LENNOX
The crowd roared in excitement, as both boxers landed punch after punch, ducking and weaving – never giving in during their time in the ring. Matt Lennox and his opponent, Ryan Morris, put on nothing short of a Heavyweight Title fight at Fight To End Cancer 2015.
As the time keeper hit the bell for the final time, both boxers embraced each other, as a sign of respect, in front of the 600 plus spectators.
The Official in the ring brought both men to the middle of the ring and as the announcer read the official decision, Matt let out a loud roar of excitement, as his hand was raised in victory!
Before he decided to step into the ring for FTEC, Lennox already had three books published and was serving as a Captain in the Canadian Armed Forces, which included time in Kandahar and Afghanistan. He is a true fighter, both in and outside of the ring.
Since his fight in FTEC2015, Lennox has written a new book, Knucklehead, which was published and is potentially making its way to becoming a major motion picture!
With everything that is currently going on in Lennox’s life, we were fortunate to have the chance to sit down and catch up with him to talk about everything including his experience with fighting in FTEC’s 2015 Gala, and his newest accomplishment to date, fatherhood.
INTRODUCING MATT LENNOX
Firstly, congratulations on the success of your recent book! What was the inspiration behind Knucklehead?
The inspiration behind Knucklehead came partly from my own hometown (Orillia, Ontario), as well as, a trip I took to Southern Ontario to visit some friends a few years ago. I was amazed by the number of Mexican, temporary workers that are working on the big farms, while I was down there – to me, Southern Ontario looked more like West Texas. In any case, I realized there was a story there and when I set to writing it a year, or two later, it came out very, very quickly. I think I wrote the first draft in six, or seven months.
Why did you choose the title Knucklehead?
I don’t know where the title came from. It just kind of occurred to me, and as soon as it did, I realized it fit.
How do you feel about your book being made into a full motion picture? Why?
Well, it’s still a long way from being made into a movie. At present, it’s been optioned for screenplay adaptation by a writer/director named Ryan Redford. If the producers are happy with the screenplay, they’ll move from there to fund a film production. It’s made me realize how many more people are involved with movie making than with writing a book.
Who, or what gave you the motivation to start writing? How did their impact affect the way you wrote your novels?
I just always liked writing stories. I can’t even remember how it started. I’ve just always had them in my head. Inspiration comes from the world around me, I guess you could say. Real people with real problems.
Let’s talk about FTEC. What was running through your mind when you heard those bagpipes starting to play, as you walked through the doors and into the venue?
It’s funny because I actually don’t remember hearing the pipes at all that night. There were a lot of people in that banquet hall, and they were all yelling and cheering and there was an announcer talking over a P.A. system, so I think the pipes kind of got drowned out. Either that, or my own nerves blocked the sound of them. The piper is a guy named Dave Sanderson, who is the Pipe Major for The Queen’s York Rangers, my Army Reserve unit. I’ve had the honour of hearing Dave pipe at many regimental events – parades, mess dinners, that kind of thing – so, I know the people who did hear him at FTEC would have been very moved.
You spoke about fighting for your Grandfather, Morley Abbott. Can you tell us about how he impacted your life and what do you think he would have said about your fight that night?
Morley served in France in the Second World War and was a very accomplished army boxer (unfortunately, the Canadian military got rid of boxing in the early 80’s). So, I like to think he would’ve been in my corner giving me tactical advice.
What ran through your head, when you heard the news that you were selected to fight at FTEC?
I was very excited and humbled to be selected for the team. Before I’d become a member at Kingsway, I had trained for two other amateur bouts and both of them had fallen through for me, to my great disappointment. But, I knew as soon as I got going with Kingsway and the FTEC program that this was different. The level of organization, as well as Jennifer and Virgil’s “no bullshit” approach to training, made me feel like I was in good hands.
Out of all the weeks of training you did leading up to the big event, what was your favourite part about it? Why?
I think the camaraderie I felt with the other fighters was the best part. People form special bonds when they are sharing hardships (even the hardships you sign up for voluntarily). I was especially fond of my opponent, Ryan and as we were doing the press events, I couldn’t bring myself to trash talk him, even in a joking way.
What kind of an impact has FTEC left on you? Why?
I can’t really put it into words. The best I can say, is that even now, over a year later, I get chills (not in a bad way at all) thinking about stepping through those ropes on Fight Night.
What piece of advice would you give to someone who is thinking about trying out to become a Fight To End Cancer (FTEC) fighter?
If something is worth doing, it’s worth doing right. To that end, I’d say a prospective FTEC fighter ought to take it seriously. There were a lot of light-hearted moments along the way, a lot of laughs, a lot of jokes. In some cases, there were tears, too. But all the emotional highs and lows aside, a prospective fighter ought to have a deadly, serious intention about what they’re getting into. For one thing, you’re almost certain to take a solid punch (or two) in the ring and hear the crowd go wild and that alone demands some “intestinal fortitude”. But more broadly, this is a highly successful initiative to raise vital money for cancer research – that alone can’t be taken lightly. Having said all this, it’s a hell of a ride and a hell of a sense of accomplishment and I believe with the right mindset, anyone can do it.
What are some things we can expect from you in the coming months?
Well, I’m on parental leave right now, enjoying some bonding time with my wife and our three-month-old daughter. As always, I’m writing. A friend of mine and I have started a literary journal called Blood and Bourbon, which we’re planning to launch in September. And as soon as I come back from leave, I’ll be back at Kingsway – it’s the best place in the world to get punched in the face.
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