Category Archives: Training

March 20, 2014
March 20, 2014
Tony Jeffries on Christmas

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LIFE doesn’t necessarily end with boxing. Tony Jeffries won an Olympic bronze medal but his career as a prizefighter was curtailed by troublesome hands. “Up until a year ago, I missed it. I got depressed after retiring. I didn’t want to retire. But now I don’t miss fighting at all. My life’s better now than it ever has been. I never thought I would be saying this,” Jeffries started.

He had been training in the USA with Tommy Brooks and, after getting a green card, set up his own Box N Burn gym. The man from Sunderland sounds surprised at how successful he has been. “Life is really good out here, shorts and T-shirts all the time, the gym’s booming. We’re rated the best gym in Los Angeles at the minute,” Tony said. “Life is so easy when you’re not boxing, boxing is the hardest sport in the world, when you’ve got to diet, when you’ve got to train six days a week. You’re consantly thinking about your next fight.

“Not having to diet, in the sun, it’s like living on holiday every day.”

His Box N Burn gym has seen famous faces, like Thor actor Chris Hemsworth and American football player Tim Tebow, pass through its doors. More intriguingly top UFC fighter, Brendan Schaub has enlisted Jeffries as his head trainer. “It’s something completely different to boxing, but I enjoy it,” Tony explained. “It’s very important for UFC, for guys to have good footwork. That’s what I’ve been working on with Brendan.

“Footwork and a lot of feints, especially in the heavyweight division they’re normally flat-footed walking forward. Put in a lot of feints, head movement, just keeping the hands as fast as possible.”

Jeffries now writes the mixed martial artist’s training programme and handles his conditioning. He’s also in charge of Schaub’s corner for fights. “I’ve cornered an amateur boxing bout before but never a professional one. I’d never been to a UFC tournament and I went to Toronto, it was a packed stadium with 15,000 people or more. It was so loud,” Tony explained. “It was pretty nerve wracking doing that but it went well.” Schaub won in the first round and publicly praised Jeffries for his help.

With footwork, head movement and feinting essential for a boxer or even a UFC fighter, here Tony details some essential training drills.


I put cones in a triangle, start at the bottom in the middle of the triangle, then you go forward, in your boxing stance, up around the top cone, back round the bottom left, back round the top cone then bottom right. This way you’re moving in all different directions, forward back, diagonal, side to side. When you’re doing that you’ve got to concentrate on keeping your feet apart the whole time, never bringing your feet together, when moving to your left move your left foot first, when you move to your right, move your right foot first, when you move forward, move your front foot first, when you move back, move your back foot first. Never bring your feet together, they should be apart. To do that, you’ve got to do smaller foot movements.

Another one, you can scatter cones all around the ring and then you got your hands up and you move around and each time you come to a cone, you pivot either left or right and then go in that direction and go forward, you come to a cone, pivot, then go in a different direction. Or you come to a cone and you throw a one-two or a little combination, then change direction and go the other way.


What Tommy Brooks, my trainer used to do with me was just tell me to move my head after every punch or every combination. When you’re on the bags, or on the mitts, or shadow boxing, you’re constantly moving your head. He used to drill it into us. So before and after every combination move your head, this way you get in the habit of moving your head and then you’re not a standing target. If I’m fighting you and you’re just standing there in front of me with your head in one position, I’m going to throw the punches and I’m going to hit you or you’re going to move out of the way then. If you’re in front of me with your head moving constantly, it’s harder for me, it takes the confidence out of me throwing the punch because your head’s moving. If you’re moving your head as well, I’m thinking is he going to come back with a punch, when are you going to throw the punch. Keep moving your head to confuse your opponent.


Feinting, you’ve got to do it exactly the way you’re going to throw a punch… It’s good to throw a feint to see what your [opponent’s] reaction is. Say if I’m jabbing you and if you’re catching it with your right hand, then I know next time I throw a feint, your right hand’s going to come away from your face and I’m going to hit you with a left hook. So I jab you in the body, I jab you in the body again, next time I’ll feint the jab to the body, you’ll drop your hands to block it, I’ll come over the top with a left hook. But the feint’s got to be so realistic. So I’ve got to use my eyes, every part of the body to make it so realistic.

You practise it in training, shadowboxing, on the bags, in the sparring, with a partner. Another good way of practicing it and it’s great for the footwork as well was an Olympic drill that we did where, say me and you are using the ring together, we’ve both got our hands down by our side, in our boxing stance, I’ve got to try to touch your shoulder, you’ve got to try to touch my shoulder with either hand and you’ve got to move your feet to get out the way or move your upper body to move. It’s a really good workout. Then I can practise my feints on that as well.

*For training information and workouts from some of the biggest names in combat sport don’t miss the Fighting Fit: Train like the Stars special*

March 13, 2014
March 13, 2014

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SOME people call it plyometrics but that is a word associated more often with jumping movements, so I term what I do, ‘Explosive training for boxing’. That’s what I do more than anything.


BASICALLY, with this type of training, we try to exert maximum force in a short amount of time. The goal is to increase strength at speed which produces more power. A lot of trainers focus on stamina and build that with work over three minutes – to replicate the length of rounds in boxing – or long runs. My boxers and athletes still do that stuff, but chuck in this kind of training two or three times a week. It’s essential for building power in my opinion. It triggers off the nervous system to do things faster.


WE do the explosive training usually either before or after the boxing training. If the boxer has done sparring, for instance, in the morning, we’ll do explosive training in the afternoon and vice versa. But if they’ve been doing 20-second flat-out bursts on the bag or on the pads with different combinations, followed by 10 seconds’ rest – Tabata training – then we’ll chuck in explosive exercises, like side-twist throws, at the end. After training, the session will be around half an hour, but if it’s a standalone session we’ll do around an hour.


I’VE done some of this training with Nathan Cleverly, and Gary Buckland has definitely improved with this, he’s getting more snap in his punches and becoming more explosive. I also work with Cardiff City and a couple of Welsh rugby internationals.


WE tend to do a lower-body exercise, followed by a full-body then an upper-body, then a core. We do 10 reps of each exercise (10 per side for the core work), only stopping in between to catch your breath, then have a proper rest of 45 seconds. We do the whole four-exercise circuit between 7-10 times in total.


I PUT 10 hurdles down and ask my fighter to jump over them one after the other or I use five and they reverse back and jump over forwards and backwards five times each. You must keep the core tight, grip the floor with your feet. Standing on the spot, you leap over the hurdles with a tuck-jump motion. Bend the knees, fire through your toes and bound over with a soft landing, keeping your core engaged throughout. As soon as you land, you jump again; it’s quite high-intensity.


WE use the Olympic bar and the aim is to lift as much as you can while still retaining good form by the end. We use 40-60kg normally. Keep your core tight throughout, your back and base strong. Move the weight as quickly as possible from the mid-thigh. Explode through the hips and then catch on the shoulders, and clean overhead. Keep the bar moving at all times, apart from a brief pause between reps. You’re using your full body and getting the power from gripping the floor, as you would when throwing a punch.


IT’S a normal press-up basically, two or three inches from the floor. You push your hands into the floor and then explode up from there, clap your hands and land back down in your starting position. Keep the time in contact with the ground to a minimum.


THE only part of your body on the floor is your bum; your body is like a V-shape. The trainer should stand around two metres away. You catch the medicine ball thrown by the trainer – with soft elbows – twist to the side and touch the ball to the floor – I use a 3-5kg ball – and twist back up, chucking the ball back to the trainer as quick as possible. It’s all one movement and the trainer has to throw the ball back instantly too. After the 10 reps, have a brief rest, fill the lungs up, then do the other side. I think the twisting motion of this exercise helps with hooks, as it’s the same core movement.

*For training information and workouts from some of the biggest names in combat sport don’t miss the Fighting Fit: Train like the Stars special*

January 30, 2014
January 30, 2014

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TIMES may have changed but one thing remains constant, from Barry McGuigan’s
era to the modern age: to get to the top you need to have the right work ethic.”I worked
hard. Even after [Eusebio] Pedroza [when McGuigan won the world title], the Sunday
after the Saturday I spent 15 minutes in the sauna shadow-boxing and going through my
routines. A bit like Bernard Hopkins, I loved to train. If anything, I overtrained, I made
myself sick of it. But it worked too, I had a very high level of fitness, I could fight at a
very intense pace, which most guys couldn’t fight at,”Barry said.

His son Shane now trains Carl Frampton, another hard worker. But there are
areas where modern boxing training has evolved. Shane’s fighters work hard, but
in a different way.”I’d say strength and conditioning and nutrition would be the
main ones. With strength and conditioning, people are loading up their legs, they’re
getting their legs strong because they’re using their feet a lot more than they did,”
said Shane.”[You might] think, ‘Do your long runs, then do your padwork and your
sparring and you’ll be fine.’ The thing about long runs, it slows you down. You’re
doing a repetitive motion all the time. When you’re boxing, you’re never going
to be at one pace, you’re never going to throw the same shots all the time. It’s
fighting in bursts and being explosive.”


THERE were hints of that approach in Barry McGuigan’s training. He ran at a high
pace, saying, “I used to love to burn guys out when I was on the road and I was a
pretty decent middle-distance runner.”

Shane is scientific in the sprint sessions he lays on for his fighters, frequently
varying them. “If he’s close to the weight he’ll do more power stuff. So shorter
distances, slightly longer rest. When he’s further out he’ll do longer distances, maybe
400m with a shorter rest. But they’re all based around 400m and below. All fast
explosive pace, lots of 100s, 200s, 400s.

“You can do 100m, rest 30 seconds, 100m again, there’s loads of different
ways but as long as it’s always training that explosiveness – that’s the key.
We keep one steady-state run in there, we always do a five-miler once a week,
normally on a Saturday, once the sparring, weights and pads are all complete.
We’ll still run at a six-and-a-half-minute-mile pace.”


SPARRING is still paramount.”Sparring was and is the most important part of
training because it simulates the real McCoy,” said Barry. “I used to spar big guys
all the time. What Carl [Frampton]’s doing now is typical. I didn’t pull any punches
when I sparred…. I sparred hard and all my sparring partners were paid and they hit
me as hard as they could, it was the same every time in sparring. It was hard graft.
Occasionally we’d spar technically but it was hard graft because it had to simulate
the real thing and I sparred really, really good kids.”


BARRY McGUIGAN would start a typical training day with running at 8.30 or 9am
(see sidebar). “I don’t know why people run at six o’clock in the morning when you’re
fighting at 10 o’clock at night. I don’t quite understand that methodology,”
he said. “As long as you’re putting the effort in and you’re making your heart
work really hard when you’re doing your interval stuff, that’s what it’s about.”

Shane has gone one step further. His fighters have their boxing session in the
morning and then in the evening either do weight-training, if they’ve been
sparring, or running. “We do our boxing training first, that’s the most important
session of the day. That’s where they want to be fresh. All the strength and
conditioning and the running and the sprints, they’re not going to be sprinters,
they’re not going to be weightlifters, it’s all for their boxing. First up we make sure
we put all our time and effort into the boxing and that’s normally
about 11am,” Shane explained.

“I do a lot of technical work on the pads. That’s where people learn,
it’s the most realistic movements. We do heaps and heaps and heaps of
pads. Carl today he did 11 rounds on the pads with me and then he did one round
on the bag to finish off with and then he did three rounds of shadow-boxing.

“A lot of padwork is technique stuff. Get your conditioning from hitting the
bag, get your conditioning from doing the pads and your high-intensity skipping
and stuff like that. We’ll start sparring with Carl and then after that he’ll
warm up, he’ll get taped up, he’ll spar. We always spar first, we won’t do our pads
first. Then if he spars eight rounds, we’ll finish off with four on the pads, or if he spars six rounds
we’ll do maybe four on the pads and two on the bags but we’ll always make up the 12
rounds, even when we’re far out in camp, just because it helps get the weight down.”

Where the boxer is at in his training camp or sparring will inform his evening

“It’s all periodised; when they’re further out we do more circuitbased stuff and then
when he starts doing his heavy sparring, [the weight-training] becomes more strengthbased,
the reps get lower and then the last couple of phases we go a bit more into
power. There’s always like a deload week, a week, 10 days before the fight,
because you need to atrophy the guys [decrease their muscle mass] because they
want to get into that weight category, be as light as they can but as big as they can
for their weight category. There is definitely a science to it and 10-12 weeks out
it’s all planned before they come into camp,” Shane explained.

Barry echoed his son’s view on the need for a scientific approach to modern
boxing training, particularly hen it comes to nutrition for weight-making.”Strength
and conditioning is becoming a major focus on training. Steady-state running, most
fighters are still doing it because it’s easy,he noted but added, “making weight is still
the biggest issue.”

*For training information and workouts from some of the biggest names in combat sport don’t miss the Fighting Fit: Train like the Stars special*

January 16, 2014
January 16, 2014

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BEFORE Sergio Martinez became a boxer he was a competitive cyclist. It’s a habit that he has incorporated into his daily routine, though it’s not one used by many boxers.

“It helps with my stamina and keeps my legs strong,” says Martinez as he pedals furiously with little apparent effort. “It also helps my knees and my hips.”

In lieu of running every day, cycling has become a regular part of his daily regime with an emphasis on rapid pedalling. “Some days I’ll do 45 minutes and other days an hour,” Martinez says, adding that this can also be used as a way of warming up. After his body temperature has risen, the stretching work is simple and quick for Martinez. It lasts about 10 minutes.


Another novel routine the Argentine boxer has adapted involves a little Southern Californian influence. Martinez uses a surfboard to work on his balance. He does this almost daily in a canal flowing behind his Port Hueneme home. “I feel balance is very important in a fight,” said Martinez, explaining that he stands on the surfboard for as long as he can as it floats on the water, in order to build up his leg muscles, core stability and overall balance.

“The exercise strengthens those muscles that you need for balance and movement,” he stated. “When you have to move quickly from one side to another, those muscles are very important.”


“I do everything as if I were actually fighting,” Martinez says. “I prepare to emulate what I’m going to do in the ring. I throw punches as fast as I’m going to punch in an actual fight. I think it’s strange that other boxers prepare at a slow pace.”

Speed is the cornerstone for everything that makes Martinez one of the best poundfor- pound fighters today. The velocity of every single exercise – from hitting bags to shadow-boxing – is performed at a rate uncommon to all but a very few boxers

“I don’t hit so hard but I’m fast. I like to train at the maximum,” said Martinez.


Even among fellow pro boxers, Argentina’s Sergio Martinez has a work ethic that overshadows most others in his field. The former light-middleweight and current middleweight world champion believes that his focus, discipline and training regime enable him to compete at the highest plateau. “In Argentina we have a saying: ‘train harder and the fight will be easier’,” says Martinez who first captured the WBC middleweight title by defeating Kelly Pavlik in April 2010. Incidentally, Pavlik attended a rehabilitation clinic for alcohol abuse, while Martinez does not imbibe. “I never drink,” said Martinez who abstains, even when outside of camp. “An alcoholic beverage has never been in my body.”

Martinez is a fitness freak of the highest order. When not fighting he weighs about 170 pounds and thinks he’s fat. “I’m very overweight,” he claims with a look of sincerity.

Over the years Martinez has tinkered with various training routines. “My trainers like to try new things. Little by little, we find a way to put it together. Right now is the right time,” said Martinez. “In each combat I try new things. We’re getting better.”

Martinez has fought all over the world and realises there are many different fighting styles. He adapts. “You have to prepare for how you’re going to fight,” said Martinez who is a very agile southpaw. “Genetically, I’m made for speed and velocity. I don’t hit as hard but I’m fast.I train harder so I can win the fight.”

*For training information and workouts from some of the biggest names in combat sport don’t miss the Fighting Fit: Train like the Stars special*

December 19, 2013
December 19, 2013

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EVEN though Amir Khan has held multiple world titles at light-welter, his recent battles have seen him lose to Danny Garcia, overcome Carlos Molina but have his hands full with Julio Diaz. Nevertheless he still aspires to fight the very best in the sport, in the division above, the pound-forpound king Floyd Mayweather.

Merely stepping into the ring with Mayweather is one of the richest prizes in the sport. Khan offered a tantalising hint that he hopes to fight in May, the month Mayweather’s next bout is expected. But Amir isn’t thinking solely about just getting the fight. He has a plan to defeat Mayweather.

“You can only beat Floyd by boxing him and even then you have to be great to do so. Too many have tried getting on the inside and roughing him up etc. But that doesn’t work. Floyd is the master. You have to be very smart and take your time and make the opportunities count, otherwise he will make you pay every time,” Khan said.

“If I do end up fighting him, we do have a gameplan and it’s something no one has done before so we will have to wait and see.”


VIRGIL HUNTER provides a progress report on his new student and insists Khan is not only prepared for whatever comes next, but will confound many of his doubters. “Everything is going great. I’m very proud of him and very happy with him. The commitments that he’s made, he’s kept his word. He’s committing in between fights to some of the things that we need him to do. I’ve seen a huge improvement because he’s had time to focus on a couple of things not just focus on an opponent. Focus on some of the things that he needs to correct and he’s spent quite a bit of time out here, almost two and a half months in California, even though he didn’t have a fight. And he’ll be right back,” Hunter said.

“So I’m very pleased with how we’re progressing and the commitment that we made to each other.The world will see a big difference because he’s committed to making a big difference.


WITH no opponent lined up after Diaz, Khan has still gone into training camp with trainer Virgil Hunter but to focus solely on improving himself, which is exactly what Hunter, a new addition to Khan’s team, urged him to do after his most recent fight.

“I’ve had two fight camps with Virgil now in San Francisco but I’ve also just had an eight-week camp in between fights, which I have never done before, focusing on a lot of core and strength work. I feel a lot stronger and fitter and it’s showing in my sparring already. I can’t wait to get in fight camp as I will be 70 per cent already.”

Hunter believes this will make a great difference to Amir. He explained, “It’s crucial. Why would you have a major talent like that and not maximize the talent? Like I told him before, you can’t just come on an eight-to-10-week training camp, when you have to focus on the opponent. But you can’t focus on your flaws and focus on the things you need to work on. But when you come to a camp outside of an opponent, now we can focus on the things we know can make you better.”


KHAN is not known for shying away from getting into gym wars. He values sparring highly, not only sparring hard but using training partners of the highest quality and even from markedly higher weight divisions.

“I’ve sparred with the best in the world, including Manny Pacquiao, and it only makes you better,” Amir declared.

“Sparring is everything,” he continued, “the closest thing you’re going to get to a fight. There’s only so much you can do on pads and bags but you actually learn and execute in sparring. I’ve been sparring heavier guys who hit harder and resist punches more, the likes of [lightmiddleweight, Alfredo] Angulo, [Andre] Berto, Andre Ward [the world’s preeminent super-middleweight]. They are world champions and the experience you gain is incredible.”

For Hunter Khan’s sparring over their latest stint together has been an opportunity to assess whether Amir has been taking on board what he’s been learning and putting it into practise. Virgil enthused, “He boxed at least 60-70 rounds while he was in this particular camp and the difference was just amazing, night and day.”


AMIR is still only 27 but over the course of his long professional career he has worked with several trainers, almost all of them adding something to his repertoire.

Oliver Harrison – “Oliver was my first professional coach. He took my amateur style, kept all my good attributes and adapted them into the professional game. He taught me great combinations using explosive speed, improved my footwork and overall techniques and skills.”

Jorge Rubio – “Jorge Rubio didn’t really teach me much. I never learned anything new from him. He was just a decent padman when I needed a coach.”

Dean Powell – “Dean Powell was very experienced as he has been in the corner for many boxers over the years. He took me for one fight as Freddie Roach couldn’t be there. He was good on the pads and was a great mentor. He kept reminding me on the basics as they are very easy to forget.”

Freddie Roach – “Freddie Roach was known as the best trainer in the world.

I gained a lot of experience with him, being away at the Wild Card and training away from home in America. He taught me so many different things, like angles, setting up traps etc. We bonded well and had a great run. He’s had over 30 world champions and I am very proud of being one of them.”

Virgil Hunter – “Virgil has taken me to another level. He’s the smartest guy I know in boxing. I can’t give too much away but now I know why the likes of Andre Ward and Floyd Mayweather are so good. It will take time and I am getting there.”


AMIR is two fights into his new training relationship with coach Virgil Hunter. Khan had developed a reputation as an exciting speedster. After dominating Paulie Malignaggi, he came through a brutal, thrilling 12-rounder with heavy-handed Argentine Marcos Maidaina. Khan unified the WBA light-welter crown with the IBF belt when he knocked Zab Judah out in five rounds.

Then his progress became more tortuous. Lamont Peterson dragged Amir into a war, which the American won on a split decision, although Peterson would fail a post-fight drug test. Khan’s reckless aggression saw him attack Danny Garcia furiously, only to be caught by a left hook that halted him in the fourth round.

That cued the link up with Hunter. The trainer is the mentor of Andre Ward, a defensive master, and clearly Amir wants to iron out his flaws. He credits Hunter with assisting his all-round ring intelligence.

“Everything is explained with Virgil. You learn why you do things in the ring, why you throw a certain punch, why you move a certain way and so on,” Khan said. “Being in the ring with Virgil is like being in the classroom. It’s about being smart. Everything you do is for a reason. You don’t want to waste time and opportunities in the ring.”


AT the moment in a typical training day Khan might do 12 rounds of padwork and an hour of strength and conditioning training, or sparring and then strength and conditioning. S&C involved “core work, explosive weights, short shuttle sprints, ladders. Everything is fast, short and explosive, which suits my body type and style,” said Amir. “I tend to take two or three days off a week or have light days as resting is very important for recovery.”

Hunter said, “He’s very, very physically strong because he’s with a conditioning coach every day and I think he’s going to surprise a lot of people.” But Virgil also emphasises the importance of developing mentally saying, “I’m pleased that he’s been around Andre [Ward] and watching things like that. It’s also mental as well as physical.”

Amir Khan is an ambassador for Maximuscle. For more information on the UK leader in nutrition, Maximuscle visit

*For training information and workouts from some of the biggest names in combat sport don’t miss the Fighting Fit: Train like the Stars special*

November 28, 2013
November 28, 2013

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IT’S BEEN a process. Frank Buglioni has followed the well-trodden route for a new pro with good potential. He began his professional boxing career with four-round contests. Stepping up to six-threes after his first three bouts, he did his first eightrounder this year and is now preparing for a scheduled 12 rounds at the Copper Box on November 30.

His training reflects that development. Five or six days a week, he has two sessions a day, usually in the gym in the morning and running in the evening. As his upcoming bouts have grown in distance, the number of rounds he’s sparring has also increased. “I tend to use two or three sparring partners at a time so I can get the rounds out but still at a high-quality pace. As the weeks go on and my training becomes more and more intense, I’ve been finding the rounds a lot easier,” Buglioni said. “So I know my fitness is getting better and better and my sharpness is really starting to find the targets now.”

Having turned pro just over two years ago, Buglioni is 10-0 (7). “It takes a while but we’ve built it up over time,” he continued. “At the end of last year we were doing eight and 10-round spars, we’veincreased that this year and it feels like it’s the right time.”


“In my gym sessions, it’s a mixture of sparring, pads, shadow-boxing and strength,” says Buglioni. “Every now and then we’ll do a lone strength session or a nice circuit.

“I’m probably in the gym for at least two hours. That’ll consist of having a decent warm-up, where I’ll be doing some footwork drills and quite a few exercises that increase power and speed of footwork. I’ll do them to start with and then I’ll move on to shadow-boxing where we’ll be working on different techniques, tempos, different shots, maybe six rounds of shadow usually. Then I’ll go on to various bags or I’ll spar or I’ll do padwork. Mark [Tibbs, his trainer] tends mix it up as well. Sometimes it’ll be padwork in between bag sessions and I’ll probably end up doing 10 rounds of either padwork, bagwork or sparring and maybe cool down with some more rounds of shadow.

“If I had to prepare for a fight and I was only allowed to do two things, it would be running and sparring. They’re the two most important things but obviously padwork and shadow-boxing, they both play their part so you can do the right things and work on certain techniques.”


“You need to be strong all over as a fighter. I wouldn’t go too heavy with the weights, maybe aim for 12 to 15 reps, where you just about get them out but maintain technique. The weight depends on the individual,” said Buglioni.

“Anything from six-to-eight [exercises], maybe three lower-body, three upper-body and a couple of either full-body or core exercises.”

“A full-body exercise would be burpee jumps, maybe with a press-up. With the bar, power clean and jerk, clean and press or a squat and press. Step-ups, you can add a curl and shoulder press as well.

“You want to include your core and twisting exercises as well, which you can do with medicine balls. You don’t want to do standard sit-ups, you want to replicate twisting when you’re punching. Always balance that out with your lower-back exercises as well.

“[For the legs] we’ll do bodyweight squats, squat jumps or tuck jumps and then squats with the barbell, lunges, lunges with dumbbells. Your legs are very important to keep strong.”


“The runs, they differ obviously,” Frank explained. “At the beginning of the camp I tend to run seven or eight miles at a time and as I get closer and closer to the fight I start dropping them down to sixes, fives, fours and obviously start including the sprints.

“We use hill sprints a couple of times a week, and that’ll be maybe the last four or five weeks of a camp. The reps vary depending on how far away we are from the fight. It’s all very much tapered. Mark is very good at adjusting the reps and the distances for if I’ve had heavy sparring or if I’ve got a hard week coming up, he’ll manage that accordingly.”


“Ladders are perfect but it’s all pretty uch attitude and your mental state. I’d be thinking, ‘Fast hands’, but I wouldn’t be thinking, ‘Fast feet’. I’d tend to leave my feet behind and sometimes over-extend and lean over my front foot. Now I’m thinking, ‘Do everything fast’ and you condition yourself.”


“With the guidance of Mark and his experience, I’ve listened to him and I’ve made big improvements. The [Kirill] Psonko fight, that was a bit of a poor performance from myself. We looked at things I was doing wrong and made a conscious effort to rectify it and it’s paid off,” Buglioni said.

“I was impatient and a bit immature, trying to chase the knockout and only worrying about what shots I’m throwing rather than worrying about what’s coming back. We had that in mind when I was doing my training, so I’m boxing on the front foot and on the back foot now. I’m dangerous when I’m going back and taking shots rather than being content to come forward.

“I’m thinking about their shots, coming back with counters and trying to slip and move, make it awkward for them as well. “I’ll be boxing systematically, everything off the jab, back and forward.”

November 14, 2013
November 14, 2013

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EDWIN RODRIGUEZ has trained six days a week for a total of 10 weeks – eight weeks in Houston, one in San Francisco and then the final week back in Houston. He does his boxing work with head trainer Ronnie Shields, or sparring, in the morning every day and strength work in the afternoon Monday-Friday. He runs early in the morning on non-sparring days, swimming in the evening – or, on sparring days, Edwin does his roadwork in the evening.

Here, in his own words, are the things Rodriguez has done that he believes will make the difference against Ward.


I spar Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays around 10am. We brought in Jonathan Nelson who is 18-0 and a standout amateur; he’s on the same show against Brandon Gonzales, and the 13-0 Lamar Ross from North Carolina. These fellow undefeated fighters bring out the competitiveness in sparring.


I spent one week in San Francisco with [strength and conditioning guru] Victor Conte doing scientific high-altitude training. I was using a Hypoxico machine which changes the air molecules and makes it like working out at high altitude. You have a mask on your face and the machine has a flow of air coming in, then you breathe out. You’re working out at sea level but it’s like working out at altitude, so it helps you to recover faster and catch that second breath. I did it for my last fight and felt great in the ring. I also spend time in an hyperbaric chamber. It contans high-oxygen air. Normal air is 20.9 per cent oxygen but using a mask in the chamber, the oxygen content can be up to 95 per cent. It helps you recover a lot faster; there have been studies that showed long-term injury, when you use a chamber, can heal up to 50 per cent faster. Recovering from a hard workout session usually takes two days but with the chamber you can recover in half that time. It’s helped me a lot. I’m healing, recuperating. I spend 45 minutes a day in the chamber; it’s pretty cool. I want to be the best I can be.


I do my training at Plex Performance in Houston. It’s a big facility used by NFL players and pro baseball players. There are college kids trying to make the NFL, a few soccer players. It’s a pretty cool place. They only recently added boxing with Ronnie Shields as the head trainer. Everyone has the same motivation, the same drive, and it’s good to be around people with their own goals. It’s a great feeling being around them, even high-school kids trying to work out hard and get into a good college, then the college kids trying to get into the NFL, and the NFL players trying to maintain.


My S&C coach is Champ Glory, that’s his real name. This is my first fight with him. Working with him has been really good. He’s brought in that motivational aspect, the way he teaches and trains is very motivational; a lot of NFL players train with him. It’s not just the workout itself but how he does it. It’s always different but with the same muscles, to keep me on my toes.


We rarely do weights, it’s more about agility. We’re aiming for that quickness in reactions and to build that snap. Every boxer goes from 0-100 [mph], so there’s a lot of quick acceleration, recovery, then we go back at it. It’s very explosive. That’s what we need for boxing. We use our own bodies, resistance bands and when we do use weights, they are very small weights. We do a lot of ladder work, to mantain speed in the footwork, plus sprints. You don’t want to get used to the same thing, you want to shock your body.


Fighting at 168lbs is perfect for me. I’ve been fighting at 165 before, and I couldn’t make 160 but I’m big enough , strong enough and fast enough for supermiddleweight. Making weight is not easy but it’s something all fighters have to work towards. I stay fcused and have a good conditioning programme. I do my own diet, I’ve learned from having had so many nutritionists before. I eat high protein, low carbohydrate but I’ll eat more carbs on sparring days for energy. I eat a lot of vegetables, drink a lot of water, eat five small meals a day with high protein and lower carbs. You should use carbs more for a really intense workout.


A lot of previous opponents weren’t expecting the Andre Ward they got – he’s a lot different from the outside – and they didn’t get the right plan. He’s good at being really far away or so close the opponent can’t get their own shots off.

Versus Carl Froch he was so far away that Froch couldn’t find him then suddenly he was so close it was hard for Carl to get his punches off. You’ve got to go in there and continue to switch your gameplan, not stick to just one even if it’s working, because Ward is a very smart fighter and he’ll start to read you.

*For training information and workouts from some of the biggest names in combat sport don’t miss the Fighting Fit: Train like the Stars special*