His broad shoulders filling the Zoom display, Henry chuckles as he recounts the incident from his residence in Perth, Western Australia the place he now lives along with his fiancée Katie Jackson and their canine Kodah. “I believe that sums up my perspective,” he says. “I’ve at all times had that mindset: I do not wish to simply do issues, I wish to do them proper.”
He additionally needs to be a world report holder.
Born in Burnley, Henry was by no means notably occupied with sports activities rising up. Then, in 2011 and aged 15, he skilled a collection of what he calls ‘traumatic’ occasions, together with the deaths of two folks near him and the unfavorable influence of an emotionally-abusive relationship. He was identified with melancholy, PTSD, nervousness, and anger points. Henry wanted an outlet.
Impressed by the movie The Fighter and inspired by his uncle, himself a former skilled boxer, he took up boxing and instantly fell in love with it.
“If I hadn’t had boxing, I might both be a very completely different particular person or I would not be right here,” he explains. “It turned my go-to factor and, once I wasn’t boxing, I used to be operating, skipping, or coaching. I used to be so targeted it in all probability turned unhealthy, however I beloved it as a result of it took my thoughts off every little thing else.
“I simply clicked with boxing and beloved every little thing about it as a result of it allowed me to channel every little thing and set free some anger,” he provides. “From the beginning I used to be determined for a combat; it was all I may take into consideration, all I may speak about. However boxing additionally taught me self-discipline and respect and it is solely trying again again now that I can respect the way it helped me mentally.
“It allowed me to focus my vitality into one thing intense and, whereas I used to be coaching, it felt like all points I had have been gone.”
Embraced by his fellow boxers, a pure assist community grew round Henry, who says that – to today – he is nonetheless mates with folks he is had ‘correct punch-ups’ with. His confidence boosted, Henry additionally set about seeing simply how far he may push himself bodily and, in 2015, took on the problem of finishing 100 consecutive three-minute rounds on a punchbag.
He all however breezed by way of the problem and located himself hungry for extra. And so have been planted the seeds for what would develop to be his now-ironclad willpower and refusal to provide in.
In 2017, Henry upped the ante, finishing a 10-hour, 150-round charity punchbag marathon for Pendleside Hospice in honour of his late grandfather Michael Awty, who died in 2016 on the age of 75. To organize, he’d go on lengthy, arduous runs; he skilled in a 10kg weight vest; and he soaked his knuckles in salt water to cease them splitting in opposition to the punchbag.
“My granddad was an enormous affect on my life,” explains Henry, who says he was ‘like a second father’ to him. “He was actually cussed; we would go to the pub collectively and he’d purchase us Outdated Navy Rum and he’d drive that down my neck! For his funeral, all of us wore Hawaiian shirts as a result of he hated the thought of individuals turning up in black.”
A number of years handed, after which a useful alternative cropped up. Having been working as a mechanical engineer, the possibility to take a job as a metallic machinist in Shellharbour, some 60 miles south of Sydney, got here alongside and Henry took it. He and Katie moved Down Underneath in 2019, however previous habits die exhausting: Henry was quickly planning one other epic problem.
Appreciating the significance of psychological well being provision, notably for younger males, extra keenly than most, Henry took on a leviathan 24-hour bodily trial for psychological well being charity The Prime Blokes Basis in 2020, which noticed him full eight hours on the punchbag, eight hours on a treadmill, and eight hours on a stair machine. He raised greater than £4,000.
In the course of the problem, Henry at one level knocked the punchbag clear off the carabiner and, in the course of the operating section, accomplished a marathon in simply over 4 hours – the form of standalone accomplishment most individuals aspire to, however which left Henry annoyed. “It felt like I might cheated and completed a plastic marathon by not doing it in underneath 4 hours,” he says.
One other transfer was quickly within the offing. With household based mostly over in Perth, Henry and Katie made the two-day drive throughout the breadth of Australia final October – “it was fairly daunting, the engine mild was on the entire manner,” he says with fun – and have been fortunately settled of their new residence since. But it surely wasn’t lengthy earlier than speak began once more of a brand new problem.
“After the 24-hour occasion, I bear in mind saying I would not be doing one other day-long problem,” says Henry, who needs to interrupt the world report for longest punchbag marathon at present held by Azad Haidarian (55 hours, 10 minutes, 4 seconds) of Iran. “And, in a manner, I am not – this one might be extra like 56 hours!
“I get moments of doubt and panic and assume ‘why have I mentioned I will do that?’,” he provides, having accomplished a 12-hour punchbag marathon at Gold’s Health club Port Kennedy final month as a part of his coaching. “However I’ve by no means discovered my different challenges as exhausting as I assumed they’d be, in order that reassures me.”
Having been coaching with native boxer Jackson Jon England to enhance his health and with plans to run a marathon with a 50kg coaching dummy strapped to his again in June, speak turns to Henry’s technique – psychological in addition to bodily – for overcoming such huge challenges.
“I do not actually have a course of, I simply inform myself I will be right here for some time and attempt to calm down into it,” he says. “Throughout my 24-hour problem, I had a second at 2am once I simply felt fed up, however there was no probability I used to be giving up: whether or not I appreciated it or not, I used to be there to do it. That is the mentality I get into – I get comfy being uncomfortable.”
In truth, getting comfy is one thing Henry is innately cautious of, which is why he retains setting the bar so excessive.
“To perform correctly, I want a purpose as a result of in any other case I get lazy, I do not take care of my health, I drink an excessive amount of, and I get into unhealthy habits,” he says. “I really feel like a loser who’s going nowhere: anybody can sit there and do nothing, but when I can have a go at a world report, why would I not attempt that? However which means getting up early for runs, sorting my food plan out, and coaching as a result of I’ve mentioned I will do it and have not left myself a lot of a alternative.
“After I end an occasion, I tend to spiral,” Henry explains. “I calm down an excessive amount of and begin consuming garbage and ingesting an excessive amount of as a result of I believe I’ve earned it, which places me in a unfavorable place. I’ve quite a bit occurring when it comes to psychological well being points and the ingesting has a big effect on that, which may and has put me in harmful positions.
“This previous 12 months I’ve had psychological well being points come up increasingly, all of which could be traced again to once I was 15 and the emotional abuse that I went by way of and which was by no means handled,” he continues. “It simply stayed inside me and rotted away. Fortunately, I am extra conscious of it now and might communicate to folks, which is what I encourage different folks to do: having a assist system and construction helps you take care of issues.”
Underneath the Perth solar some 9,000 miles away from residence, Henry’s preparations for a world report try later this 12 months are effervescent away properly, with a gentle routine of boxing, Muay Thai, operating, and weight coaching maintaining him trustworthy. “I am assured,” he says, metal in his voice. “I desire a world report.”
Our dialog echoing throughout eight time zones, Henry has been completely participating firm, however the man who has a tattoo which reads ‘Even heroes get the blues’ does inform one blatant lie. “I am simply an ordinary lad, actually,” says the person who’s something however.