Feature | Dec 29 2017

Legal Cheating: The psychology of boxing

Steve Collins and Glenn Catley explain how they used psychology and hypnotherapy to win world titles, an approach Chris Eubank called "legal cheating"
David Price
David Price  |  Action Images/Andrew Couldridge

“YOU can start taking your deep breaths,” says The Brain to The Boxer. “In and out, gradually, slower and slower. You’re feeling more and more relaxed with each breath. You feel the tension escaping your body.

“Keep your consciousness on your breathing. This is familiar for you now. You know what it is. You’ll be going down into your subconscious mind very soon. You’re standing at the top of the staircase of a big plush hotel.”

The Brain is Brian McCready, an energy psychologist, and The Boxer could be anyone. All that matters is he has a fight tonight and is currently horizontal on the bed in his bedroom with his Union Jack shorts, the pair he’ll wear into battle in a matter of hours, hung on a nearby chest of drawers, situated not far from a number of championship belts he has accumulated over the years. The Brain, whose tranquil, dreamlike atmosphere is interrupted by a strong Liverpool accent, sits beside The Boxer, holds his left hand and now moves closer to his ear.