LILY de la Cour is in familiar territory this week.
There are just days to go until the WAKO World Championships 2017 in Budapest, Hungary, and the reigning world senior -50kg senior female division champion is in good shape.
Not even the weight cut will knock her off her stride.
Bantry hero Lily fights at under 50kg and considering her heaviest weight when she is training hard is 53kg, the most she ever has to lose before fight week is three kilogrammes.
‘I’m getting my last bit of weight down this week; it’s the final cut,’ the 23-year-old explained.
‘We all do it differently. Take Tony (Stephenson) for example, he only started his weight cut in the last week whereas I like to do it well in advance so I have been keeping an eye on it for the last month.
‘It’s about really refining what you are eating so it’s cutting out anything that’s full of saturated fats or very high in sugar. In the last week I cut out carbohydrates.
‘We will be weighing in on Saturday and we have a day’s rest before we’re in action on Monday so it’s amazing the amount of weight that people do cut and put it back up again.
‘One of the main ways people cut the weight is that they really dehydrate themselves so they do the whole waterloading, then they cut the water out, sauna suits and all that – but I am not a massive fan of it myself. I really don’t think dehydrating yourself is very good for you. I stick to the food. If I was 0.1kg or 0.2kg over then maybe I’ll go for a run with a few hoodies but that never happens because I’m quite professional about cutting weight.’
Lily is one of four West Cork Kickboxing Club athletes representing Ireland at these championships and she is joined by Tony Stephenson (-69kg low kick), Deirdre Begley (-69kg continuous) and Catherine McGregor (-55kg veteran division).
The good news doesn’t stop there as Ian Kingston, head coach of West Cork Kickboxing Club, is also travelling to Budapest for the championships to lend a helping hand despite stepping down from his role as national team head coach earlier this year.
In December 2015, Lily was crowned the world’s best at the championships held in Dublin that year and she feels she’s in the ideal place to defend her crown.
‘I have tried not to let the thought of defending the title get into my head,’ Lily explained.
‘We have taken the same approach like we always have but this year I feel that I have put a lot more time into it. I have done a lot more work one-on-one with Ian.
‘Two years I was in college in Cork Monday to Friday and doing a lot of training by myself where this year I have spent a lot of time training with the club, especially the juniors who were competing at the European juniors recently.
‘I have been training pretty hard since around March.’
Ominously for her opponents in her division, Lily feels she’s still getting better.
‘There is a lot more to me now,’ the St Mary’s Secondary School, Macroom teacher said.
‘We have worked a lot on my movement and added a few different things to my game plan. That’s been going well, I’ve been able to implement it into my sparring but you never know who I’ll meet in Budapest and what will be put in front of me.
‘I’m as prepared as I can be.’