THE South Norwood & Victory amateur boxing club is old school. On a sweltering summer’s day youngsters are put through their paces on the gym floor, learning the rudiments of the sport. But over in the corner running through a final circuit is Joshua Buatsi.
He came up through this club, winning junior and national titles, and while now based at the high tech headquarters of GB Boxing in Sheffield, he stops off at his home gym for some final tune ups before flying out to Rio for the 2016 Olympics.
Buatsi’s heroics at Riocentro would see him crush three opponents in spectacular style on route to winning a bronze medal at the Olympic Games. Before his adventure in Brazil began he tested out CORNER, the simple to use device from Athletec that instantaneously during a training session measures a boxer’s workrate and power as well logging the punches thrown in a round.
He appreciated CORNER. “100 percent because for me there are certain punches that I need to throw a bit more and sometimes when you’re in the round you argue that you have been throwing it. But when there’s the stats and the evidence to show that you have been showing them, the figures don’t lie, the stats don’t lie,” he said. “You can do video analysis and count one by one, but why do that when you can have a system like that that picks them all up.”
“I think it’s good, it’s effective for me,” he continued. “As the round goes on rather than my stats and my output and my workrate dipping, I want to increase it. So having something like that is very beneficial.”
The pace an Olympic boxer works at is key. “Pros, they’re not throwing as much as us, we’re literally throwing throughout the contest, so having something like that where the stats don’t lie [is good]. Amateur, the style it’s just fast paced,” Joshua said. “I’ve always boxed at a fast pace and I like boxing at a fast pace. But at international level, I’ve noticed you can’t rush the work, like you do at national level. National level I could rush the work, rush and rush and rush. At the international level people clock on, you can make mistakes and you pay for those mistakes. I kind of slow it down a bit to make sure what I do is clinical.”
Buatsi was working on a particular punch in this session. At Rio 2016 he caught the eye with the destructive right crosses and left hooks that laid out Elshod Rasulov. On this occasion he was honing simply his jab.
“On the punch bag my trainer was telling me to throw a specific punch and I wanted to argue to say I was throwing it but he was like no, you only threw X amount of it whereas I felt I threw more. So again it’s good equipment,” he explained. “I was jabbing a lot. But I was told I need to jab a bit more.”
Joshua keeps things simple, though this particular device, a small chip that tucks into a handwrap, easily fits in with his training methods. “Hard work’s hard work. In Sheffield there’s loads of things you can look at in terms of the video analysis. You can talk to the performance coaches, the physiologist. There’s all that there,” he said. “But I still believe in the old way. Train hard, sleep, eat well and just train hard. As much as I say I believe in the old ways, the new ways are important. As much as I like training old school having that [CORNER] there, it’s simple, it brings the figures up, you feed off that. So it’s good.”
Watch how CORNER works here: