He felt the firm pressure of the chief minder’s hand in the small of his back. The four men behind him formed a semicircle which filled the full width of the dimly lit tunnel. He took a deep breath and pulled himself up to his full height and started to walk slowly down the slope towards the black curtains at the far end.
This was the most difficult bit. Butterflies in his stomach and palms sweating slightly, he had to maintain a smooth, steady pace and not show any nerves. He had practised this often enough but had never totally overcome the basic terror.
As they approached the end of the tunnel the curtains parted and he could see on a small rostrum in the middle of the room the chair. There was complete silence in the room for a moment before the buzz of general conversation started again. The man standing behind the chair beckoned him to come forward. Another slight pressure from his chief minder’s hair helped him to move forward. This was it.
The man behind the chair made a signal and a tall, bull necked man stepped forward, clearing his throat noisily.
“My Lords, ladies and gentlemen welcome to the weigh-in for the NBBC welter weight world championship.