There is more than one way to become a champion, a winner and the best you can be in your chosen sport or career, but for me, after all the blows, jabs and body punches unleashed by fierce fists, it’s how you respond to a knockout that ultimately sets you apart from the rest.
It was all quite gentlemanly until Anthony Joshua and Wladimir Klitschko stepped into the North West London boxing ring for a fight that will go down in heavyweight history. Refreshingly respectful fighting talk and tactics before any punch was thrown gave us a humane feel for these two warriors who once sparred together and set an intriguing tone without any nonsense or towel of surrender thrown in.
At most, 12 rounds of boxing were on the cards and in the 11th round ‘It Was All a Dream.’ A dream conclusion for Anthony Joshua and a valiant effort from Wladimir Klitschko who at 41 proved, without a doubt, that age is just a number. After all those painful rounds, there are two which summed up what it means to focus, breathe and compose yourself when you’ve been stunned by a punch you didn’t see coming or left yourself open to.
Joshua was floored in the 6th and every heart in the UK was pounding with intensity to the point where I could hear yours and you could hear mine but what followed was nothing short of inspirational and impressive. Lessons in composure, how to breathe, focus and steady ourselves were on display in the 7th and 8th rounds by the ‘Young Lion’ enabling him to realign with his ultimate goal. Most of us find this a hard task in a room on our own; not in front of a crowd of 90,000 spectators and the millions watching around the world.
And so, Anthony Joshua answered his critics in emphatic style with heroic methods but in truth, the only person he had to answer to was himself. My definition of a champion.
‘Every year world-wide, there are over 26 million arranged marriages. Over 53% of all marriages in the world are arranged. Globally, over 11 million women are forced to marry before the age of 18’.
A startling, accurate statement at the bitter end of British Indie Film ‘The Forbidden Note’ which struck more than a familiar tune with me I can tell you. Tissues and a cup of strong tea at hand, I was prepared, prepared for the sting of tears which usually surface after a love story doesn’t go the way I hoped it would and the lump in my throat to be comforted by my hot brew; calming my romantic soul. However, the emotion that I didn’t possess a coping mechanism for whilst watching ‘The Forbidden Note’ on amazon.co.uk Amazon Prime was pure rage.
Whilst this film essentially highlights the desperate plight of millions of young women and girls being forced to marry against their will, it also touches on the harrowing act of grooming innocent young children who are lured into worlds that take them away from the dreamland they are desperately trying to reach.
Orphan Cosmo, played by Reese Scholtz, is banished from a boarding school by a less than God like nun after his mother passed away. Just a boy, he is thrust into Yardie territory and the brutish arms of its leader Benzart played by Fredi ‘Kruga’ Nwaka to be made a soldier; a child soldier. Sakeena, played by Reena Anjali is a Muslim girl promised to a fellow Muslim who is so vile and inadequate in every way possible, that you would question any parent or family member, regardless of culture or religious conviction, for believing a life of misery with ‘that’ is a life worth living for their daughter. These are very real stories, stories of a savage existence, experienced behind every dark corner and continent.
Supressed by the criminal underworld and ignorant, undisguised restrictions, Cosmo teaches himself to play the piano and Sakeena is a ballerina tip toeing through life on a secret stage. Both find solace and freedom of expression through music and dance which inevitably leads them to one another. Those of you who are open-minded, with a live and let live attitude will think this a perfect combination but the course of true love never did run smooth…so they say.
‘The Forbidden Note’ has my full attention thanks to writer and director Callum Andrew Johnston who has thoughtfully created a telling piece. He wrote this emotive story with two highly sensitive topics in his mind, arranged marriages and radicalization but he skilfully managed to incorporate so much more. Scripted and acted with feeling and depth, this film has left me emotionally invested for an eternity unless history is made!