MY FIRST BLOG

 

When I sat down to write something, I realised I’ve never actually written a blog before. I’ve written countless articles, interviews, and columns for work, but have never once written my own blog. I didn’t think it was something anyone would ever be interested in to be honest, but I thought building this new site it might be something I could use going forward. Instead of simply uploading my photos to individual galleries, maybe every now and again I could give some background into what I’ve been doing.

Sometimes with work you don’t always go to “events”, you’re not always at the big shows or the big races, coming home with hundreds if not thousands of photos to choose from. Sometimes you’re at a specific shoot, gathering just a dozen final images for a certain client or job. This is where I think I could use them, rather than use a gallery for a small collection of photos, post them here, but give some background into what I’ve been doing and try and tell a story about the work.

I tried to think of what to write about for the first one, and I thought where better to start than what I’ve actually been doing lately and what I’m doing right now. So, here goes…

This past few weeks have been spent almost exclusively with Rhys McKee, documenting his preparation for his upcoming fight at the historic Cage Warriors 100 card in Cardiff. Not only will this be Rhys’ first fight back from unfortunately losing his BAMMA Lightweight World title back in June of this year, but it will also be his first professional fight outside of the BAMMA organisation.

It’s been a busy few weeks for ‘Skeletor’, with most Mondays consisting of strength and conditioning in the morning, before striking training in the evening. Tuesday is normally spent instructing and training his own clients in his own gym, RMK Training in Kilrea. Wednesday is usually boxing training in the morning before Brazilian jiu-jitsu that evening. Thursday morning was more strength and conditioning with Arnaud dos Santon at ADS Training, with grappling training in the evening. Friday morning was spent conducting interviews and press, before sparring that evening with fellow Cage Warriors Lightweight, Joe McColgan, and former BAMMA Featherweight contender Decky Dalton. Saturday most weeks consists of further sparring at his main base in Next Generation IMMA in Ballymena. One week, in a change of plan, Rhys spent Saturday in the iconic Ulster Hall cornering his teammates at Clan Wars, where they scored an impressive two wins and a draw from three bouts, including a title win.

Here’s a few photos from the various shoots we did throughout the week…

Rhys takes a well deserved break in between rounds at FAI Belfast, during sparring with Joe McColgan and Decky Dalton.

Rhys takes a well deserved break in between rounds at FAI Belfast, during sparring with Joe McColgan and Decky Dalton.

Sparring at FAI Belfast.

Sparring at FAI Belfast.

Rhys in between boxing rounds at the Unit in Belfast.

Rhys in between boxing rounds at the Unit in Belfast.

Rhys and teammate Gavin Kelly during grappling practice at Next Generation IMMA in Ballymena.

Rhys and teammate Gavin Kelly during grappling practice at Next Generation IMMA in Ballymena.

Respect before everything between Rhys and his teammate and coach, Arnaud dos Santos.

Respect before everything between Rhys and his teammate and coach, Arnaud dos Santos.

Rhys welcomes ISO-Sport onboard as a sponsor ahead of his Cage Warriors debut.

Rhys welcomes ISO-Sport onboard as a sponsor ahead of his Cage Warriors debut.

This was a busy week for Rhys as camp is in full swing, the training is intense and constant, with every day bringing something new. On top of the training, his diet and weight-cut is always in full affect, with the pounds coming off by the day as Rhys makes his way to the Lightweight limit of seventy kilos.

On top of the work with Rhys, I was also photographing in yet another gym, this time with racing brothers Glenn and Andrew Irwin, as they begin their British Superbike championship pre-season training. The 2018 campaign isn’t long over, with the final round taking place just over a month ago, but they are already focused on 2019. Along for the session in Spartan Fitness in Belfast, they had some of the younger riders they mentor along, including Moto3 rider Eugene McManus, along with his younger brother James who made his debut in the British championship this year, as well as Curtis Trimble, who is hoping to make his series debit in 2019.

Here are a few of Glenn and Andrew in action during their session…

Glenn working on his balance.

Glenn working on his balance.

Andrew working on his strength ahead of his first full season in the British Superbike championship.

Andrew working on his strength ahead of his first full season in the British Superbike championship.

More balance work for Glenn.

More balance work for Glenn.

Andrew working with Eugene McManus (front), as well as Curtis Trimble and James McManus (back).

Andrew working with Eugene McManus (front), as well as Curtis Trimble and James McManus (back).

Glenn obviously enjoying his training.

Glenn obviously enjoying his training.

Not the only time Glenn and Andrew will be fighting this year.

Not the only time Glenn and Andrew will be fighting this year.

This past week it was back to much of the same with Rhys, with almost every day consisting of at least one training session, including numerous strength and conditioning sessions with his coach and teammate Arnaud dos Santos, as well as keeping his boxing, grappling and jiu-jitsu sharp between his various other gyms, making sure no stone is unturned ahead of his return to action on December 8th.

A few of the recent photos from our past week of work…

Just as on the 8th of December, the spotlight is on Rhys.

Just as on the 8th of December, the spotlight is on Rhys.

Some pad work with Arnaud dos Santos.

Some pad work with Arnaud dos Santos.

Rhys making that final push at ADS Training Belfast.

Rhys making that final push at ADS Training Belfast.

Trying them on for size.

Trying them on for size.

After sparring with (L-R) James McErlean, Patrick McAlister, Decky Dalton, Glenn McVeigh, Matthew Elliott, Garrett Smylie, and Joe McColgan.

After sparring with (L-R) James McErlean, Patrick McAlister, Decky Dalton, Glenn McVeigh, Matthew Elliott, Garrett Smylie, and Joe McColgan.

Eyes on the prize ahead of Cage Warriors 100.

Eyes on the prize ahead of Cage Warriors 100.

Ready…

Ready…

It was a busy few weeks going from gym to gym, documenting what Rhys goes through in preparation for a fight, but as always it was great being along for the journey, “always a pleasure, never a chore”. As the fight draws closer it gets busier and busier for Rhys both in and out of the gym. But come December 8th in Cardiff, when that cage door closes, all the hard work will pay off and Rhys can enjoy doing what he does best.

Anyway, that’s the first blog done and dusted, and hopefully it’s something you found it interesting. I didn’t really know what to do for the first one, but hopefully this type of thing is something I can do more of and you guys will like reading them, as well as seeing some of my work. Maybe this is something I’ll do a little bit more of to explain a little bit more of what I do behind the photos and give a little insight into what goes on behind the scenes. But who knows, I mightn’t end up doing another one for a long time, which I’m sure some people might actually prefer!

Also, I hope you like the new website, it’s been a while from I updated it, and I’m definitely going to make more of an effort to keep it as up to date as I can. Please feel free to check it out, have a look around, and hopefully there’ll be something you find interesting. If you’ve anything you’d like to ask or know more about, or have any views or comments on this blog, please feel free to get in touch, will be cool to hear from you guys.

Until the next time, it’s back to work, chat again soon!

Cheers, James.

 
James McCannComment