Kickboxing mum is a real-life Rocky story (yes, she’s from Rocky)

Eight years ago Simone Offord took up kickboxing for mental health and exercise. Now the mother of three has claimed her second Australian title.

Mar 24, 2020, updated Mar 24, 2020
Simone Offord started kickboxing at 35 years old to help deal with depression. Photo: ABC

Simone Offord started kickboxing at 35 years old to help deal with depression. Photo: ABC

When Offord decided she wanted to get into a boxing ring and fight for a title at the age of 35, her coach asked if she was ready to get punched in the face.

“She just nodded her head and said, ‘I’m cool with that’,” coach Ferdie Galguierra said.

Offord, now 41, has just claimed her second Australian kickboxing title and third belt.

It’s an achievement the Rockhampton mother of three never saw coming when she took up the sport.

“I was actually a little bit depressed in my life and someone mentioned to me that maybe I should try doing some exercise to make me feel better,” she said.

“The rest is history — I was just so addicted to it.

“It empowered me and made me feel so strong mentally and physically to tackle life’s challenges.”

Offord trains a gruelling four hours a day while juggling full-time work.

“I’ve got kids, I work full-time,” she said.

“I’m very lucky I’ve got a desk job, so physically I can train as hard as I do.

“It’s a hobby that’s sort of gone a bit extreme for me.”

‘Something innate’

Galguierra teaches Muay Thai and Ju-Jitsu at his gym in Rockhampton and has trained Offord since she first stepped inside his premises eight years ago.

He said he had taken on a few boxing bouts in his time, but considered himself a stronger coach than fighter.

“There’s something innate in them that I don’t have,” the coach said.

“To jump in the ring and do that to someone else … it’s the business of punching people and kicking people as hard as you can to try and get the win.

“I think you got to have something in you that wants to do that.”

Of Offord’s achievements, Galguierra said coaching was only about 15 per cent.

“A lot of it is her work ethic, her drive, her own personal ambition to get there, because without [those things] you won’t get there with all the coaching in the world.”

Mental game like chess

When Offord gets into the ring for a fight she’s often faced with an opponent 10 years younger. Despite this, she does not let herself get nervous.

“I try and tell myself if I get nervous I’ve just given her some of my energy,” she said.

“I don’t feel limited by my age — it doesn’t worry me.

“I know that I can compete, I know I can do five rounds. I trust in my training.”

Offord describes her fights as like a mental game of chess, with every kick or jab calculated.

“If you throw your jab I can slip it and throw my cross,” she said.

“It’s a bit like a puzzle you sort of have to piece together … it’s very much a mental game.

“Once the first hit is thrown it’s just pilot mode. You feel like there’s no-one else in the room and you get done what you know needs to be done.”

– ABC / Rachel McGhee

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