Comeback kids

Sarita faces a test and Sophie works on rebuilding

Berlin – It’s the opening hour at a coffee shop. Sarita Waris requested a meeting with Maxim Weiß to attempt to join his gym. Will he agree to that?

They meet up at the door, order coffee and sit down at a table.

Sarita: “Here at 7. That was a little early.”

Maxim: “Not without a reason.”

They order coffee. Mocha for her. Tall filter for him.

Sarita: “Alright. I know that you probably were left unimpressed with my fight with Steffi, but I’d like a second chance at this professional boxing thing. I’m aware that you have done a great job at building and rebuilding fighters, so I’d like to work with you.”

Maxim: “I’ll be very honest from the start. I didn’t like everything I saw from you during that fight. I mean, it’s clear that you have talent and that you learned the techniques of boxing, but your fitness? It was miles and miles behind Steffi’s. Not only was she a better boxer, but had you even been equal, you’d have run out of gas anyway. That’s not how pros work.”

Sarita sighs: “Look. I know!”

Maxim Sarita 1-1

Maxim Sarita 1-2

Being an adult

Maxim: “Let me finish. You seem to be one of those teenagers who failed to turn into adults. You got ability, and you don’t strike me as someone stupid, but I think you got lazy and arrogant. There’s no room for lazy in the boxing ring. You can have all the attitude in the world. I don’t care. The work’s gotta be done, though.”

Sarita: “I’m not lazy anymore.”

Maxim: “You’ll have to prove it with a fitness test.”

Sarita: “You set the time, place, and the workout. I’ll do it. I’ll prove you wrong, Max.”

“Interesting, he thinks. Still feisty, but if she is true to her word, that chick’s got real potential.”

Maxim: “Later today, I’ll tell you when and where to show up. No protesting. You do everything I say.”

Sarita: “Yes. I have a question, though.”

He nods to allow it.

Sarita: “Imagine that I convince you. What about being in the gym with Steffi?

Maxim: “Well, not only is she your senior in age, but she’s also in terms of pedigree. You disparaged her and you’d have to earn her respect. That’s not negotiable.”

Sarita bristles. “I reckon that won’t be easy.”

Maxim: “She’s a hard woman who’s earned her stripes in this sport. She doesn’t owe you a thing. The good news is that she’s nice to anyone who’s on her good side, so it’s up to you to make amends.”

Beep beep

Days later, they meet at a basketball court not too far from the gym. This fitness test won’t be easy.

Sarita: “What are we doing?”

Maxim: “Do a little warm-up running around the room for a few minutes first. Light just to get your system ready.

A few minutes later…

Maxim: “It’s the beep test. You know it?”

Sarita: “Yeah.”

For those who are unfamiliar, the beep test is an indicator of cardiovascular capacity. At the first beep, you run forward 20 meters to the “finish line” on the other side of the room, turn around and wait for the next beep.

At first, you have plenty of time to get there and be ready for the next run across the room. That time shrinks with every run, making you accelerate to make the distance. Each stage tests your cardio until you either miss time or abandon out of exhaustion. A young adult woman who runs past 10 stages is in good shape. Past 12, she is in excellent condition.

By stage 5, Sarita is working but not tired.

Maxim thinks: “She isn’t puffing. Better than when she fought. Let’s see if she can make it to at least 11.”

Maxim Sarita 2

Passing the test

The intensity goes up, and the Finnish girl turns on the engine to keep up with the required pace at stages 8 and 9. At that point, many people who take this test start dropping out.

Fatigue is growing, but the blonde keeps digging in energy reserves. Endurance built in long runs in the past months comes in handy.

Sarita makes it past 12 and keeps going, but she runs out of gas on the last sprint to reach 13.

Maxim: “One last push!”

She makes it past the line just in time before the next beep.

Maxim: “Alright. You hit 13. Impressive. Welcome to my gym. I’m happy to train you.”

A huffing and puffing Sarita smiles but she keeps catching her breath before she can speak, making her new coach laugh.

A minute later…

Sarita: “Thanks. I’m happy. Give me a little time so I can move to Berlin. Can you get me papers for a work permit?”

Maxim: “Yeah. Final Bell will handle it all for you.”

Maxim Sarita 3

The beast inside

Near Munich – Sophie Schumann and her coach Regina are having a walk in the Alps. The joys of being in Bavaria. The mood is relaxed. Unlike years ago, these two enjoy spending time together.

Sophie: “I was thinking about something you said after my loss to Elsie. That I did nothing wrong. Still, I’m sure that we can make adjustments.”

Regina: “I already have a couple of ideas.”

Sophie grins: “As always.”

Regina: “First, I have a question. Do you hold your personality back since turning pro?”

Sophie: “Hmmm. Yeah. I guess I’m scared of my reputation as an amateur.”

Regina: “Doesn’t mean you should become a delicate flower. Let your character express itself a bit more. There’s a beast in you and letting it loose would help you in the ring. It’s about intensity.”

Sophie: “Let me think about it. What else?”

Regina: “I trained you well with a classic style and the next step is making you more creative. You already show some of that skill naturally, and I want to push you in that direction. It will help to find solutions even against the toughest opponents.”

Sophie: “Sounds good.”

Go to Nadia

Regina: “We’ll work on that, but before we do, I’m sending you to France for six weeks.”

Picasso is surprised.

Regina: “You’ll work with Nadia Monteil. You’ve seen a lot of me. Nadia can take a fresh look at you and diversify your training. A change of scenery will be good before we get ready for the next fight.”

The coach thinks: “You’ll find out that Nadia more than agrees with what I just said. She’ll initiate the changes.”

Regina: “She’ll welcome you in two days, so I want you to get ready.”

Sophie: “Woah. Sounds really cool, though!”

Regina Sophie 1-1

Regina Sophie 1-2

Regina Sophie 1-3

The intern

When Sophie makes it to the Paris gym where Nadia set up shop, she gets quite the welcome.

Nadia: “A new intern!”

Sky Houghton laughs: “Some intern. Only part of the Top 10.”

The young German gets a welcome, an intro to her temporary gym and shelter at Sky’s flat. Being nurtured by a charismatic coach who was a dominant world champion makes this an impressive new experience.

Nadia teaches new tricks to the blonde, especially to increase the smoothness and creativity of her moves in the ring. Including keeping her hands looser for freedom. Sophie is very receptive to the influence, and overall enjoying this stint in France.

Nadia: “That’s it. Decouple. You can lean back with the legs and twist the body to put weight into a good shot. It makes you unpredictable.”

Sky, who spars with her regularly during those six weeks, notices something. “She doesn’t realise it yet but she’s learning to move like Zohana Patel. It will be something when this beast gets the hang of it.”

Nadia Sophie 1-1

Nadia Sophie 1-2

Nadia Sophie 1-3

Mental edge

At the end of one of their sessions, the German comes up with a question.

Sophie: “Regina said I’ve been too tame since turning pro. What do you think?”

Nadia: “She’s right. I mean, don’t you realise what world champions do? How did I become one? Your sister Alesia? Zohana Patel? With a mental edge. Gotta make opponents nervous to be near you.”

Sophie: “So, if I don’t do crazy shit, let it happen.”

Nadia: “Yes.”

Sophie Schumann
Sophie Schumann
The little sister of Alesia Schumann is a born troublemaker but supremely talented puncher. Former world champion at Lightweight.
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  1. Alesia,
    Continued Excellent and depth! All the personalities in your narratives are enhanced by the stories and depth, not just thier boxing in the ring. Definitely more appreciation 😌 for them when they’re trading blows in the ring!

    Sarita is definitely going to have to mature rather quickly. And she has started, willing to work even harder and humble herself to do so, even willing to work with Steffi, who just gave her a good solid beating. She has the makings of a really good fighter.

    Although I’m sure Steffi still has a ready reserve of punches she wants to unload on Sarita in sparring!!😁

    Sophie is already a dangerous weapon in the ring. With her experience boxing Zohana, she learned alot, and wants to learn more. With Nadia’s and her sister Alesia’s guidance, she will learn not only to beat her opponents, but also learn to thoroughly defeat them!

    In addition, Sophie getting hammered by Sky in sparring is definitely going to mold her into a formidable boxer!!


    • Sarita will have to show the one thing that’s been missing in the past. That’s the will to work hard and earn her way to a winning record. No small task for someone who has been accused of being lazy.

      Sophie’s talent and a little correction of her course should produce interesting results. You see that she’s very receptive to her “internship” at Nadia’s.

  2. Both blonde boxers working hard to get back on track and I like it a lot. It seems Sarita is already learning slowly under Maxim with this test. If Maxim can turn her around like he has for other boxers, you have to wonder if Sarita was the full problem before or if her old coach did not know how to work with her properly. Being in the same gym as Astrid and Steffi though? She will have to step up her game for sure and prove her worth. Comeback Kids, I like the sound of that. lol A movie can probably be made if it had the personalities that Sarita and Sophie have.

    • Sarita has talent. If Maxim can put her on the right path, who knows what she could do.

      Sophie herself faced an inspired opponent the last time, but nothing indicates that she lost the will to progress further. No one can afford to bet against her.

  3. Steffi and Sophie. Two very different young ladies, have very different moments here, but they are thematically linked.

    Maxim, redeemer of all wayward European boxers, meets with Sarita. Sarita wisely picks Maxim, who is a specialist in taking fighters that have flaws and bringing them to a good level. Sarita would benefit from anyone who can impose a bit of discipline on her.

    Maxim makes her work for it though. First he gets in some absolutely savage (and correct insults)

    “Let me finish. You seem to be one of those teenagers who failed to turn into adults. You got ability, and you don’t strike me as someone stupid, but I think you got lazy and arrogant.”

    Ooof. 10-8 round to Maxim!

    Sarita shows Maxim that she’s paid attention to her fitness, by putting in a good performance on the beep test, a test I used to enjoy when I was 8, but didn’t so much when I got older 😀

    Sarita and Maxim together should be a good pairing, but it remains to be see how Steffi will react to having her former opponent in the same gym.

    Sophie on the other hand is searching for answers after a setback against Elsie. Regina decides to send Sophie on a ‘work vacation’ to Paris. Must be nice 😀

    Nadia welcomes the young German to Paris, though intern isn’t the title I would give Sophie :D. Nadia works on Sophie’s technique, making her less predictable and creative. Given Piccaso’s inherent creativity, this is just adding the potential for more violence. I bet Sky is happy that Sophie is in the division below her 😀

    Nadia also encourages a bit of the old Sophie to come back. A bit more of that ‘young terror’ that she was in the amateur ranks. It’ll be interesting to see if Sophie can toe the line there…

    • Sarita has the perfect profile to be picked up and corrected by Maxim, right? He turned Anna into a respectable boxer, and he made Steffi look brilliant upon her return. Now, put a young talent like this Finnish blonde in his hands. She seems very serious as well now, having improved fitness greatly on her own. What can he do with her?

      By the looks of it, Sophie’s “internship” in France might be one of Regina’s most brilliant ideas. A change of scenery and perspective given by a legendary coach who is independent from the legend who already manages her. Geez. The spoils a young Bavarian blonde can get 😀

      On top of that, Sophie is reminded that being a badass isn’t such a bad thing in boxing as long as don’t go too far. It can be dangerous for future opponents if she strikes the tone right.

  4. Well this is interesting. Sarita wants to become a member of Maxims gym and train with Steffi, but she has to prove herself first.

    Now for some reason I feel like I’ve seen the beep test before, well something similar to it when I was still in high school. Not sure it was the same but I’m gun we used to run back and forth from each side of the gym for exercise so I guess it’s similar to the beep test.
    But from what I’m seeing it’s a great way to test Sarita and she has good stamina.

    Now onto Sophie, and I’m happy that her knockout defeat hasn’t left her depressed and all, she has a full boxing career ahead of her but it looks like she needs to improve more and apparently go a bit wild.
    She has been a bit nicer since becoming a pro, when she was an amateur her reputation was not so great, but she needs to be a bit more vicious in the ring, show a little more attitude, Regina is right she shouldn’t be a delicate flower.

    Her training Nadia was interesting, she already sees her performing pretty well and Skye can see thats she’s starting to fight and move like Zohanna, I know it won’t happen today or no time soon but I think Sophie will definitely be facing her in the future 😉

    • The beep test is commonly used in schools, but also in professional environments like police and the army in many countries. It’s a good indicator, although not a fun one to experiment.

      Sarita owned it.

      Looks like Regina and Sarita have driven in the point about attitude. It’s OK to have an edge as long as you don’t turn everyone, including your own coach, against you. That might pave the way to a bolder Sophie. Heh heh.

      In terms of boxing technique, creativity could serve Sophie right. She has the talent. It only needs to develop.

  5. I’m curious about something. What if Sophie were to either fight against or spar with Sarita? Which one would more likely happen?

    • Sparring and an official contest being what it is, I believe that the first is more likely than the second.

      Even if we don’t consider weight classes, Sarita is nowhere near Sophie’s level at the moment. She’s 3-4 as a professional and has to overcome a few barriers before proving that she is Top 10 material.

      At the same time, Sophie destroyed an American champion and only fell to a resurgent Top 5 fighter in her last match.

    • That be amazing if either one happened. It would turn out as either a surprising competitive contest or an easy Sophie knockout. Depending on how the both of them would approach it going in.

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