WE may call it amateur boxing but don’t be fooled, to succeed in this arena you have to be utterly focused. Although Charlie Edwards won the national amateur championships in 2011, the GB championships that year, is also a former European bronze medallist, he remains as driven as ever. He’s desperate to reclaim the national title.
“They’ve let a GB boxer in at every weight, which is good. The whole team’s buzzing up there. We can’t wait to go prove all the doubters out there, where there is many, [wrong],” Charlie said. “I’m buzzing for it. I haven’t had a buzz like this for a long, long while.”
You won’t see a more heartbreaking sight than Charlie Edwards’ face after he lost his Olympic qualification bout in 2012. In that bout he peppered his opponent with shots but didn’t shift him back on his feet. Now, having moved up in weight, Boxing News can see Edwards punching with crisp authority as he works out on the pads.
“I feel a lot stronger,” Edwards continued.”I’m punching harder, I can feel it coming up my hands. Before I was non-stop workrate.I look back on that and I thought, ‘You know what, maybe that isn’t the way to go, working all the time.’ I’ve slowed myself down, slowed my feet down and I do what I do best and that is boxing on the backfoot. I’m not a front-foot fighter. I used to push the pace because I was so much fitter than them.
“Now I can set my pace and go at tempos,change the angle and go again.”
TRAINING LIKE A MANIAC
Such is Edwards’ determination that rest says at the moment are proving something of an alien concept. The week Boxing News meets him, about a month ahead of the championship, he has been working flat out. Monday-to-Thursday he was with the GB team at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield. On Friday evening, back home in London, he adds in a session on the pads with TKO Gym-based trainer Brian O’Shaughnessy and he will get some running in over the weekend.
“I get up Monday morning, do my fivemile run, straight back, pack my bags, go to the train station. Straight in the [GB] gym Monday afternoon. We do bags, shadow [boxing], sometimes pads. Sometimes we even come back at night, seven o’clock, just to do a little technique session.
“Tuesday it’s [training] three times a day. Run in the morning, then at 11 it’s strength and conditioning, then in the afternoon at about four o’clock we do our sparring, our pads, our bags, then that’s us for the day. The next day, same again.
“Thursday we wake up, we do a strongman circuit, which is a run and strength and conditioning combined, which is really hard and tough, especially on the last day of camp. Then back in the gym at 11 o’clock, maybe sparring or bags, it depends what they feel we need, and then I’m down here on Friday with Brian, putting a graft session in on the pads. We’re on the pads for at least an hour, working things through. He does our groundwork after, which kills us off. Then on Saturday I do my hill run, which is a long endurance run, about 45 minutes, up steps, up hills. “On Sunday sometimes, most of the time,” he adds with smile, “I chuck in a steady run, just to loosen up. Then back on it again Monday.”
That’s an intense week and Edwards says, “I’ll ease down when it comes to the right time. All the hard work I’m putting in is only going to benefit me. When I come down to the last week I’ll taper it down and I’ll be raring to go by the ABAs and be as sharp as you like.”
To see the interview with Charlie Edwards previewing the national championships go to www.boxingnewsonline.net/bntv
Edwards explains what he wants out of work on the pads.
“WE work mainly on footwork, little ways to move, get the power behind the shot. Instead of just twisting your foot and coming on your toe. Little techniques like that. He [O’Shaughnessy] does all the reaction stuff, which is very, very good. Like when you throw a punch, he attacks you straight away. You’ve got to come back and counter and then roll off.
“I want it to be as realistic as it would be in the ring. When I’m punching, they’re punching back. I want something to come back, to be able to roll, to come back again. So it would be more reaction stuff than banging the pads. Banging the pads isn’t realistic. No one’s going to stand there in front of you for that long. Basically realistic pads, as much as it can be.
“You don’t know what length the rounds are going to be. Sometimes it’s four minutes, five minutes, sometimes it goes on for 10 minutes. It’s a proper technical pad session. I do all my sharp three-threes up Sheffield, when I’m down here, we’re in no rush to get in and out of the ring, we’re grinding it down, you get tired. He works you hard, he tires you out.
“He does this thing where he holds his pad, he moves it around and you’ve got to try and catch him, if he catches you, it’s the first to 10 so it’s really realistic. He always knackers you to try to get a win on you but it’s really good and it’s fun at the same time.”