James takes Gold as his team excels
3rd February 2019
Vegan fighter James Southwood has been vegetarian from birth and vegan since his teens. At 39 the former World Champion, who has also twice been European Silver medallist is still one of the most respected competitors in his category. Savate combines English boxing with French kicking to create a sport that is elegant and competitive to watch.
James is the head coach of the London club where he trains, and brings his enthusiasm to training as well as competing. He recently returned from the Budapest Open that he’s fought in before, this year hoping to bring back another Gold. The medal was not his only objective.
“I was aiming to gain sufficient ring time across the season – with an eye to World and European Championships” James told Great Vegan Athletes. “A well organised international friendly open, such as the one in Budapest, is very useful for me. A second reason to participate is that the organiser Viktor is a friend of mine and I enjoy seeing him and others on the circuit. Also, Budapest is a wonderful city to explore as a vegan, with lots of options, and the thermal baths are an excellent way to relax after the fight.”
James fought against a French fighter first, winning to next face a Serbian “with very smooth skills”, and James took another win. His third fight was against “a crafty and difficult Hungarian fighter, who was – this year and last – hard to handle.” As before, James took the win and the Gold medal.
It was the culmination of a focussed training programme.
“Across January I re-established a more disciplined technical training regime, which has worked well for me in the past. I also added more strength work than normal. The net result was that I entered the ring neither anxious nor unanxious, neither excited nor calm. I just went to fight. And it succeeded.”
As a coach, James saw further success.
“I went with a team of eight from my club, London Savate, of which I am head coach. Every year they impress me with what they have learnt, their discipline, and the standing our club now has at these events. I am very pleased to travel with these athletes.”
The team took home six Golds and a Bronze.
James’s contribution to Savate in the UK has been considerable, and his ability to compete with the best in the world is evident. We wish James well in the European Championships later this year.