Champion Couple

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Wade & Enja Ryan have dedicated themselves to the sport of boxing and have achieved impressive victories through their hard work and determination.

Recently I caught up with local boxers Wade & Enja Ryan who both had a lot to share about what it takes to be a professional boxer. I also learnt that it was this shared love of boxing that brought them together.

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Wade, who was born and bred in Gunnedah, first became interested in boxing at the age of 12, when he went along to the local PCYC with his brother who was a competitive fighter. From that very first day of putting on the gloves he’s never looked back.

For Enja, her introduction into the sport began in her early 20’s when a workmate took her along to the local boxing gym.

“I was working at a childcare centre and I was interested in fitness, so a workmate said to come along and try a boxing class. I went to a few classes and enjoyed it, but I wasn’t thinking about doing anything further until my dad, who used to do boxing when he played footy, suggested I think about boxing professionally. I was hooked straight away,” said Enja.

Enja and Wade first met when Wade would travel to Dubbo to spar with Enja’s coach and then the rest, as the saying goes, is history. 5 years ago, Enja moved to Gunnedah and if it’s really true that the couple who trains together stays together, then she’s going to be calling Gunnedah home for a long time.

When asked what it is about the sport they enjoy, Enja said she liked the adrenalin aspect of it, but it was the boxing community and the people in it that really made it feel like a place where she belonged.

Wade said from the get-go it was the commitment, dedication, self-discipline and competitiveness of the sport that drew him in.

While both are professional boxers and dedicate a huge part of their lives to the sport, they also work full time. Wade, who works at Narrabri Underground as an operator, said he is so fortunate to have an employer like Whitehaven who backs him in following his dream.

“They’ve been great. When I need time off for a fight or extra training, they’ve always supported me, nothing is too much. They also support the Black “n” Blue boxing club where both Enja and I train. I really could not be more appreciative for what they do.”

Enja runs her own gym in Gunnedah where she works as a personal trainer. She also works for NDIS, which she finds very rewarding. But it’s clear that for these two, boxing is a hugely important part of their lives and they’ve both invested a huge amount of time, effort and money into the sport they love.

It hasn’t gone unrewarded. When it comes to boxing achievements, both of them have plenty of those under their belts – pun intended. Enja’s most recent victory on November 12 saw her take home the Australian and Australasian Welterweight titles and put her one step closer to taking on the international stage and a chance at a world ranking and title.

Wade’s career spans almost two decades since his first amateur fight at the age of 15. He turned professional at the age of 22 and over the last decade has achieved many wins and had many main event features. I asked him what the most memorable moments have been so far.

“One would have to be a few years back when I fought in China at the WBC Asian Boxing Title. There were 10,000 people in the crowd and millions of viewers watching on TV, which was such an experience. Winning the Australian Title also has to be up there with what I’m most proud of.”

So, what does it take to be a professional boxer? More than anything, they both agree it’s lots of hard work. From the training and maintaining weight and fitness levels, to travelling and being away from family and friends, they understand it’s not the sport for everyone.

“But while it takes a lot of hard work, I would still say to anyone who was interested in boxing to get into it and give it a go,” said Wade.

“There are so many benefits to this sport, it can do so much, especially for young kids. It builds confidence and self-worth. It can get them off the streets and into an environment where they will be coached and supported. It helps set them up with healthy eating and fitness habits.”

Enja agreed. “Some people think this sport is about aggression and the stereotype is a meathead but that couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s about discipline and controlling your emotions. You need to have a strong mindset and the whole sport is built on respect. Respect for yourself and for your opponent.”

Wade also shared how it teaches you to get back up and have another go. That everyone loses sometimes and it’s about living and learning and coming back more determined every time. Words that both Wade and Enja live by.

If you’re a fan of boxing, then no doubt you are already familiar with both Wade and Enja. If you’re not a fan, then check out their next matches and I promise you will be.

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