August 19, 2014
August 19, 2014
Tim Bradley new

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JOEL DIAZ, the trainer of former world champion Timothy Bradley, extols the virtues of footwork.

“I think a fighter’s footwork is his best defence; if you can learn to manage your feet in the ring, you’ll be in good shape,” the California-based coach explains. “The feet protect every single fighter and they set you up for every shot, by moving you into position and changing angles. Footwork is the most important thing in a fighter. The feet can get you into range and out of problems.”

Footwork goes both ways

Anyone who has seen Bradley fight will know how crucial footwork is to his overall strategy. Whether rolling forward as a busy aggressor against a Devon Alexander or taking evasive rearguard action versus a Ruslan Provodnikov, Bradley uses arguably his two best assets, his feet, to set up the rest of his arsenal. They serve to create openings offensively and to carry him rapidly out of the danger zone when on the retreat. Diaz is keen to place a little more emphasis on the defensive side.

“Timmy always had good footwork because in the amateurs he was a great mover, a good boxer and we have implemented a lot more defensive footwork since he’s turned professional,” Diaz reveals. “So we worked on staying low and using angles, and he started getting better.”

The assessment

Given Diaz’s staunch believe in the importance of footwork, it comes as no surprise that this basic but vital skill is one of the first things he examines when a boxer arrives at his facility.

“When a fighter first comes to my gym, I assess their footwork,” he tells us. “In the ring, I stand in front of them and move forward – towards them – back, side-to-side. I want to see their motion and most get confused. If I have them in the ring, if I go forward, I want them to move back – sometimes they go forward, because they can’t stay in the same spot – and if I move to the side, I want them to move with me. When they don’t do that, I know I need to work on getting them to move their feet; I don’t like flat-footed fighters.”

The next steps

The initial assessment is only the beginning of a gradual and perpetual learning curve. Diaz’s approach to footwork could be termed holistic, because even when it appears his fighters are working on other areas of their game, the perceptive trainer always has one eye on their feet.

“We do a lot of different drills, in the ring and outside the ring,” he notes. “We have a lot of ways, different strategies and workouts, to sharpen footwork. For example,
I have my fighters always bouncing on their feet, even when hitting the heavy bag. Yes, they need a solid foundation in order to hit hard, but to dominate with angles you need good footwork and to hit harder with speed and accuracy is much better.

“When I take my fighter on the mitts, I look at him from every angle, to make sure his footwork is good, his handspeed, good power, everything.”

Climbing the ladder

Footwork ladders are no longer a secret in boxing. Many fighters use them – darting in and out of the small boxed sections – to improve speed and coordination, and Bradley is no exception. But Diaz is eager to point out the reasoning behind doing these drills in the ring, rather than on the gym floor.

“We have 15-20 different ways of using a ladder in the ring,” he details. “I prefer fighters to do ladder drills in the ring, rather than on the gym floor, because the padding gets your legs more tired. When you work on your feet on solid ground you get less tired than on padded ground, and of course in an actual fight you’ll be on the canvas.”

Don’t miss this week’s issue of Boxing News for more essential training information

August 19, 2014
August 19, 2014
Nicola Adams

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The dangers of under-eating are widely known and acknowledged in health and wellbeing, but could disordered eating or even prolonged under-eating be affecting your boxing performance and your health?

The Female Athlete Triad is a model that has been developed to help diagnose disordered eating within female athletes and the effects this may have. The Triad is made up of three interrelated conditions: energy availability, menstrual function and bone strength. If a female athlete is suffering from one of the three conditions it is more than likely that they could be suffering with the other two conditions as well.

Energy availability is defined as “the dietary energy intake minus exercise energy expenditure”. For example if an athlete consumes 2800 kcal per day and burns 900 kcal per day training and from other exercise leaves 1900 kcal for the remaining essential physiological processes.

Low energy availability in athletes can come about through eating disorders but the majority of cases are through more sport specific circumstances (which may be harder to notice than an eating disorder) e.g. when restricting energy intake too much in an attempt make weight or increasing training volume and intensity without an increase in dietary intake. As athletes have greater exercise energy expenditure than non-athletes the risk of low energy availability is far greater and can have a more profound effect when compared to non-athletes. Energy availability below 30 kcal per kg of fat-free mass reduces reproductive function and bone density. For example, a 60 kg female boxer with 20% body fat (48 kg fat-free mass) would require at least 1440kcal per day remaining after exercise energy expenditure has been taken into account. If this exercise energy expenditure was 900 kcal per day a minimum intake to avoid any negative symptoms would need to be 2340 kcal (1440 kcal + 900 kcal = 2340 kcal).

The normal menstrual cycle can stop due to a reduction in in gonadotrophic hormones which play a role in stimulating oestrogen release from the ovaries. Heavy exercise combined with a low energy intake can reduce oestrogen levels to an extent that the menstrual cycle can be made irregular or even stop.

The reduction in oestrogen that stops the menstrual cycle, in conjunction with a poor diet (specifically low in calcium and a low Vitamin D status) also leads to the weakening of bones through a reduction in bone density (osteopenia), and greatly increases the risk of osteoporosis later in life. This weakening of the bones can lead to increased incidence of fractures, stress fractures and other injuries. This aspect of the triad could have the most severe effect for later in life, as a low bone density at as an adolescent/young adult will likely lead to bone health issues (osteoporosis) later in life. This highlights the importance to avoid bone health issues throughout this development phase.

The good news is that the training boxers complete may help preserve bone mineral density by being mostly compromised of weight-bearing exercise. The frequent running, sparring and gym work places load on the bones which in turn helps strengthen bones and may reduce the impact of a low energy intake and poor diet on bone health.

It has also been shown that food deprivation of 30% increased hunger, whereas and energy expenditure increased by 30% had no effect upon hunger, showing that the body has trouble increasing hunger to encourage eating to match energy expenditure. This 30% increase without a corresponding increase in energy intake would be enough to reduce reproductive function and affect bone health. Furthermore intense exercise can suppress the hunger. Therefore by eating to hunger you may not be in taking the required amount of energy you require, meaning may need to eat more than you think you need to.

Also note, although the symptoms seen are often less severe, low energy availability can also been seen in male athletes and should not be ignored. Bone health and reproductive function can also decrease in male athletes with low energy availability, so it is important that the male athletes out there also pay attention (maybe not to the menstruation part though).

Tips to Help Prevent Low Energy Availability

  • During periods of increased training volume or intensity, leading to increased exercise energy expenditure your food intake should increase to mirror the increase expenditure. This will help prevent an unnoticed reduction in low energy availability.
  • Avoid “crash dieting” and drastically reducing energy intake when making weight, plan your weight loss around a slower, more gradual weight loss over an extended period of time. Again this will increase energy availability and reduce the risk of factor outlined before.
  • Make sure your intake provides you with at least 30 kcal per kg of fat-free mass after your energy used from exercise have been taken into account (a Sport Nutritionist can easily calculate this for you).
  • Ensure a good intake of calcium by aiming to consume at least 2 servings of leafy green fibrous vegetables (e.g. broccoli, spinach and kale) plus two servings of low fat dairy per day. If lactose intolerant you may need to increase green veg intake or opt for a calcium supplement to ensure you are consuming enough calcium, however consult a Sport Nutritionist before taking supplements. A good intake of calcium will help maintain bone density and reduce the risk of osteopenia and also osteoporosis later in life.
  • Also ensure that you have good exposure to the sun (but not too much that you burn!) as 90% of the Vitamin D we receive is created from the sun’s rays. Instead of running in the dark gym, try to go for a run outdoors in short sleeved t-shirt/vest and shorts. Vit D is required for the absorption of calcium, so a Vit D deficiency may result in reduced bone density even if you are in taking enough calcium. In winter Vit D supplementation may be required as there is very little sun, also the rays that create Vit D do not reach our country between Oct-April, increasing the chances of deficiency. Again, consult a Sport Nutritionist before supplementing.
  • Eat to training load and energy intake and not to hunger. Exercise may suppress hunger and increased exercise energy expenditure may not lead to increased hunger. Meaning you may not feel hungry but are desperately requiring more calories. If you are full but know that you need more energy, try smoothies and shakes as an easier way of getting your energy in.

However the greatest piece of advice would be if you experience any of the above “Female Athlete Triad” symptoms then consult your doctor or a sports nutritionist as soon as possible. Some of these side effects may be irreversible so taking action sooner rather than later is vital.

Tom Whitehead is a nutritionist for soulmatefood. To see what soulmatefood’s sports kitchen can do for you, click here.

 

August 19, 2014
August 19, 2014
Anthony Joshua and Wladimir Klitschko new

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WLADIMIR KLITSCHKO, the holder of WBO, WBA and IBF heavyweight titles, has been sparring with fellow Olympic gold medallist Anthony Joshua in his current training camp.

Klitschko, a dominant champion and clearly regarded as the best heavyweight in the world today, is preparing to defend his titles against Kubrat Pulev on September 6 at the O2 World Arena in Hamburg, Germany.

Klitschko won his Olympic gold medal in 1996. Joshua, who triumphed at London 2012, is just starting out his professional career. 7-0 (7) so far, this kind of sparring will provide invaluable experience. Joshua is expected to box on the September 13 show in Manchester.

For more news, features and interviews, including an article on how to train like Wladimir Klitscko, don’t miss this week’s issue of Boxing News magazine

August 19, 2014
August 19, 2014
Luke Campbell v Steve Trumble

Boxing - Luke Campbell v Steve Trumble - Stubhub Center. Carson, California, United States of America - 16/8/14 Luke Campbell (R) in action with Steve Trumble Mandatory Credit: Action Images / Peter Cziborra Livepic EDITORIAL USE ONLY.

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THE big story of the weekend was Kell Brook’s superb win over Shawn Porter to become IBF welterweight champion, but the undercard of that Carson, California show also saw British prospects Callum Smith and Luke Campbell extend their 100 per cent records.
Brook is promoted by Eddie Hearn, who got Smith and Campbell the opportunity to increase their professional experience by finding them slots on this card staged by Golden Boy. They were never going to be matched tough, because the object of the exercise was to give them a feel of boxing on a big US show.
Still, it was a bit surprising to see Campbell, the 2012 Olympic champion at 56 kgs, fight Steve Trumble, owner of a 13-30 (8) record that included 19 defeats inside the distance. Lightweight Campbell, now 7-0 (5), duly floored Trumble twice for a second-round knockout victory.
Trumble, a 38-year-old from Baton Rouge in Louisiana, had lost his previous four fights, two via first-round KO. He has now lost 11 of his last 12, 19 of his last 22. Yet if you go back further into his record, he wasn’t a bad fighter at one time. In May 2001 he survived two second-round knockdowns to stop Raymundo Beltran in the fourth. Yes, that’s the same Raymundo Beltran who last year received only a draw after appearing to beat Ricky Burns for the WBO lightweight belt and who in November challenges hotshot Terence Crawford in another bid for that title.
Within 12 months following the Beltran win, Trumble went in with Jose Miguel Cotto, who would go on to wobble Saul “Canelo” Alvarez in a 2010 light-middle bout; two-weight world champion Nate Campbell; Tanzanian Rogers Mtagwa, who would give Juan Manuel Lopez a hard distance fight at Madison Square Garden in 2009; future Erik Morales conqueror Zaheer Rahim; and former Olympic gold medallist Istvan Kovacs, a future WBO featherweight king in the pros.
All would beat Trumble before the final bell, as would Mikey Garcia – future two-weight world champion – in a 2007 bout. Presumably Steve settled into the role of ‘opponent’, parlaying his early wins into a decent pay cheque against boxers being groomed for big things. But he was a long way past his best when served up to Campbell and it’s unlikely the British Boxing Board of Control would have approved such a match in the UK.
As an Olympic champion (among many other amateur accomplishments), the Hull talent hardly needs protecting to such an extent. One hopes that, with this US sojourn out of the way, Campbell will be tested by better competition when the British season starts next month. Too many soft matches hinder, not help, a rising boxer.

August 19, 2014
August 19, 2014
teaching boxing

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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 constantly 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.

Footwork

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.

Head movement

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

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 more training information don’t miss this week’s issue of Boxing News

August 19, 2014
August 19, 2014
Lee Selby

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LEE SELBY is gearing up for an eliminator for the IBF featherweight title against Joel Brunker on October 11 at the O2 in London.

Selby already knows his next opponent well. “We sparred together over in America at Mayweather’s gym. We sparred over about three days. We must have done about 18 rounds together,” Lee told Boxing News. “He’s good, he’s tough, game, super-fit, high workrate so it’ll make for a good fight.”

Russia’s Evgeny Gradovich, the IBF champion, therefore is firmly in Selby’s sights. “He’s a similar style to Brunker. I think Brunker is a better fighter to be honest. [Gradovich] doesn’t look exceptional but he does everything well. I think his style will suit me again,” the Welshman said. “Joel Brunker’s a perfect fight if I do get the fight with Gradovich. They’re similar styles, perfect preparation.

“I don’t mind traveling, I’d love to fight [Gradovich] out in America. He’s been fighting in big shows in Macau for his last two fights, so out there would be good.”

Selby is building slowly towards his goal. “I’ve done it the right way, gradual steps up. I think when I get to fight for the title I’ll be able to win and I’ll be able to defend it a few times. Some people get there too early and they get beat, some people get and they’re not good enough to keep hold of it. I think my career’s gone perfect, so when I win the title, I’m good enough to defend it,” Lee insisted.

Don’t miss this week’s issue of Boxing News, out on Tuesday on iTunes, Google Play and via www.pocketmags.com

August 19, 2014
August 19, 2014
Billy Joe Saunders & Nick Blackwell Head-to-Head Press Conference

Boxing - Billy Joe Saunders & Nick Blackwell Head-to-Head Press Conference - ExCeL London - 10/12/12 Nick Blackwell poses before the press conference Mandatory Credit: Action Images / Andrew Couldridge Livepic

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AFTER signing a long-term promotion deal last week with promoter Mick Hennessy, Nick Blackwell “can’t wait” to make his Hennessy Sports debut on Saturday October 4 at Glow, Bluewater as support to the MaxiNutrition Knockout final, which will be shown live and exclusive on Channel 5.

The West Country warrior said, “I can’t wait to box at Glow on the October 4. I have watched previous events from there and the arena looks fantastic and if the final is anything like the semi-final between Travis Dickinson and Matty Clarkson, then the fans are in for a real treat. It will be a great night of boxing.

“I’m an old school fighter. I’m in boxing to fight, so I’m going to show the fans what I’m all about on the night.”

Glow, Bluewater will be the stage for the first ever MaxiNutrition Knockout final on Saturday October 4, when British light-heavyweight champion Bob Ajisafe takes on Travis Dickinson, the current English champion.

Ajisafe started his route to the final with an exciting points win over former European, British and Commonwealth champion Dean Francis back in March, and then he stopped Southern Area champion Leon Senior in five rounds at Leeds Town Hall in May.

Dickinson’s first fight in his quest to reach the final saw him knocking down former European champion Danny McIntosh in the first round and then twice in the third, before the fight was eventually stopped towards the end of that round.

Then came the Rocky-style performances from Dickinson and brave Matty Clarkson in what was the pick of the semi-finals at Leeds Town Hall. From the first bell, both came out fighting and both put everything on the line, and after hitting the canvas three times each, the referee decided that Clarkson was unable to continue due to a cheek injury and halted the fight in the sixth, with Dickinson securing his spot in the final.

Promoter Mick Hennessy said. “After the brilliant MaxiNutrititon semi-finals, I’m looking forward to the final just as much as any other boxing fan. This has been a great tournament for British boxing and now we have a worthy final to finish it off.

“In my opinion, the semi-final between Dickinson and Clarkson should be Fight of the Year worldwide, not just domestically!”