Meet the heavyweight hopefuls punching well above their weight
4 April 2023
It’s the biggest night in boxing history since The Rumble in the Jungle… Secure your ringside seat today to witness The Clash at the Clapham,part of the famous Lily Fight Night taking place on Thursday 27th April at the iconic Clapham Grand in London.
Andrew ‘Teesside Steel’ Teece will be taking on Dom ‘Dominator’ Hodge in this battle between two heavyweights that’s been anticipated since before the pandemic. Ahead of the big fight, we caught up with the pair, otherwise known as Andy and Dom, to see how they’re both feeling and how the training is going this time around. And let’s just say the gloves are off…
Why are you doing this?
Andy: We’ve both worked at Sky TV, and The Lily Foundation’s boxing night has always been a big event there. In 2019 Dom and I went to watch two of our friends fight, we’d been keen on the idea for quite a long time, but when we saw our mates absolutely dominate their opponents and really enjoy the evening, it looked like so much fun. And, of course, it’s about wanting to learn a new skill and push yourself. Those are the selfish reasons. But then when Liz got up and told her story, it’s so hard not to take what she said to heart, what she went through, and all the good things The Lily Foundation does. And this is a really, really worthwhile cause.
Dom: It’s also just the idea of trying something different. I’ve played a lot of rugby over the years, so it made sense to try a different sport, and I couldn’t think of a better charity to do it for. And it seemed like it would be good fun.
If you don’t think you’re going to win, then why are you doing it?” – Dom
Andy: Dom and I have both played rugby, so we’ve had studs in the face, we’ve been knocked out, we’ve been there… it’s not a terrifying prospect. And I couldn’t wish for a better opponent. Because Dom is going to try and hurt me as hard as he possibly can, which means I have the freedom to try and hurt him as hard as I possibly can. Neither of us is going to be offended at the end of the night, no one’s going to lose their temper. We’ll have a big cuddle and a pint afterwards, and both enjoy the fact that one of us has left the other with a fat lip, a black eye and a busted nose.
Dom: Exactly. Andy’s the best person to do this with, so I thought it would be enjoyable to be honest. I didn’t know anything about mito before either, but now also becoming a dad has given me even more drive to want to help. Mito isn’t something I could ever imagine having to go through with my kid.
So how’s the training going?
Dom: Yeah, good. Much better this time than last, I’d say. It’s going well. And I’m enjoying it.
Andy: It’s the opposite for me – it’s not going as well as last time. Last time I was younger and I had a bit more free time. Since we started training I’ve had to move house and start a new job so I’ve had a few things on my plate. But now things have calmed down a bit and I’m going to get into it much more. I’m still getting to the gym twice a week, still trying to run 5 or 10k at least once a week.
Dom: I don’t go running. I don’t do that. I would say my life’s busier now but somehow it’s still easier this time. It’s more structured. I don’t drink like I used to, to start with. I’ve settled down and got a kid now, and I’ve got a bit more of a routine. It’s not like I’m training loads, but it’s just a bit more regular and when I want to do it. It’s important not to train too much either. If you train too much, you peak too early. It’s all about peaking for the fight.
Andy: Because we trained for the fight in 2020 before Covid stopped it, I really went for it then. I had a no-sugar diet – no sweets, no biscuits, no crisps. I completely cut everything out, lost quite a considerable amount of weight. And then they announced the fight was off, and I lost my temper and ate a family portion of profiteroles on my own! I haven’t managed the discipline of abstinence this time. I’ve trained more and I’m eating healthier, but I haven’t done the full-on cut-everything-out thing yet. I’m planning to do that from April – April 1st is my birthday, and then after that it’s clean living all the way to the 26th. That’s the plan.
Dom: I’ve decided I’m not going to do that. I’ve got my missus’s birthday the same week as our fight. For me it’s more about doing something I can maintain afterwards, so I haven’t tried to diet, I’m just eating a bit better, eating healthier and doing something I can carry on with. I’m enjoying losing the weight and my plan is to just keep going. I’m more mobile now than I’ve been for a long time as well. I’ve been powerlifting for a while, but now changing to boxing has made me realise how immobile I was. Now that I’m getting that mobility back, I want to keep it going after the fight.
How will you prepare for the big night?
Andy: We might see each other at the gym. We both go to the sparring sessions at State Of Mind Fitness, who’ve been amazing, really good, their tuition and guidance has been brilliant. We’ll probably bump into each other there a couple times. We watched each other fight last night which was interesting. We’ll be in the same room on the night, of course, and I’m sure we’ll have a good old chat and hug beforehand. And I want to introduce Dom to my dad, who’s coming to watch. My mum’s refusing to come though, she doesn’t want to see the fight.
And the all-important question – who’s going to win?
Dom: I think we both think we’re going to win, which is the whole point of it really. If you don’t think you’re going to win, then why are you doing it? Otherwise you’ve lost before you get in the ring. It’s a waste of time, what’s the point?
Andy: And that’s why I’m enjoying the fact that I’m doing this with Dom. He’s not going to pull any punches, he’s not going to give me an inch, he’s genuinely going to try and knock me out and I’m going to do the same to him. I think whoever wins, we’ll both put on a good show, we’ll both leave proud of what we’ve done. And, of course, I’m going to win.
Dom: Ha-ha. And at the end of the day the most important thing is the cause we’re doing it for.
Andy: Exactly. We’re both very competitive, we both compete at work as well so that’s quite a driving force for us, but seeing the sponsorship come in, it’s totally worth it.
... whoever wins, we’ll both put on a good show, we’ll both leave proud of what we’ve done. And, of course, I’m going to win.” – Andy
And how is the fundraising going?
Dom: It’s going alright. Andy’s beating me but it’s going well.
Andy: Yeah, I think with it being payday and the end being in sight it’ll be easier to get going now. It’s only 26 days away come April, that little ball’s started rolling.
Dom: I think a lot will come in the next month. I’m hoping we have an influx right near the end when people realise it’s actually going to happen this time. I’ve had quite a lot of comments like “don’t get injured” and stuff like that, as everyone definitely wants to see it. I’ve sold a lot of tickets too, I think a lot of people have done it that way, bought the tickets and will then donate.
Andy: Now we’re getting closer I’m going to try and do a lot more offline fundraising as well, so bakes and stuff. I cook a good pulled pork so taking pulled pork sandwiches to the office, that sort of thing.
Any advice for someone who might be considering signing up next year?
Andy: Buy a ticket and come and watch. That’s the thing that motivated us last time. It sounded like a great idea, it sounded fun, but when you get there, and it’s at the Clapham Grand, this massive old theatre, and there’s CO2 cannons going off and ring walk music and people bouncing around and the Sky TV commentary team… For an amateur to get that sort of stage for something they’re having a go at for the very first time, it’s amazing, it’s so intoxicating. Come and watch and you’ll struggle not to sign up.
Dom: You’ll realise just how good it is. I’ve had a lot of boxing coaches who say it’s really impressive that you get to box there – you don’t normally get to box at the Clapham Grand, it’s normally something you get to do much further down the line. It’s really cool to do something different, probably the best way of doing it.
Everyone wants to raise money for the charity, and for their friends to feel like heroes for a minute.” – Andy
Andy: That and the fact that you’re on the stage under the spotlights, just you and your mate, with hundreds of people focusing entirely on what you’re doing. It’s going to be fairly anxiety-inducing, I’m sure, but it’s also a great experience.
Dom: Definitely a bit scary. I’ll probably just go back into my old routine of pre-game, so I think I will be fine, even though it is very different.
Andy: Having been there as a fan before, watching the fights, it’s the friendliest crowd you could imagine. It’s a room full of friends and friends of friends, they’re all cheering for you and they want you to do well. Everyone wants to have a good time, to have a drink and a laugh, everyone wants to raise money for the charity, and for their friends to feel like heroes for a minute.
Snap up your ticket today for this knockout night and witness these two heavyweights fighting for glory and a cure for mitochondrial disease. But be quick – tickets are going fast! And head over to their JustGiving pages if you’d like to sponsor Dom and Andy. We wish them both the best of luck for the battle, but whoever wins, the real winner will be The Lily Foundation, as we continue our relentless fight to defeat mito, once and for all.