Could boxers’ yo-yo dieting and missing weight be due to a lack of boxing conditioning?
The basic principles of boxing are quite simple: make weight and fight. Granted, it is much more complex than this in real terms, but in its most basic form that is what the sport requires of its combatants. Boxing conditioning is such a major part of not only winning fights but also in the career development of a boxer. In recent weeks, we have seen two examples where the weight making part has been ignored.
Firstly, Adriana Araujo was forced to give up her chance to box for the WBC world title when she came in heavy against Chantelle Cameron. Her reason was blamed on the travel over from Brazil but in truth, her performance not only reflected someone who had missed weight but also someone who had been cutting corners in the gym. Despite carrying decent power, especially in the right hand, her work rate was sluggish, and she was easily outboxed by a fired-up Cameron.
Secondly, Nathan Gorman was seriously overweight in his contest against danger man Richard Lartey. Although he boxed well, he was unable to close the show or unleash more than a two-punch combination. Understandably after 15 months away from the ring and some family issues he wasn’t at his best. However, in his post-fight interview, Gorman revealed that he had actually put on seven stone during that period and managed to lose five by the time of the Lartey fight.
A worrying trend
It has been worrying over the years to see a trend of yo-yo dieting in between fights. Ricky Hatton is the most obvious modern-day example and young fighters should take note about the impact that lifestyle had on the longevity of his career.
Dominic Ingle rightly said in an interview recently that boxing is a lifestyle and the boxers that dedicate themselves to it all year round have the much better chance of moving themselves forward.
Sadly, it seems to be that the Americans are much better at it than us Brits. Floyd Mayweather and Bernard Hopkins, both of whom had great longevity at the highest level, were always in tip-top condition. There are exceptions of course and Carl Froch is a fine example from these shores, his 12th round knockout of Jermaine Taylor is testament to his supreme conditioning. Joe Calzaghe also springs to mind, the super-middleweight grandmaster who could throw over 1000 punches a fight.
What is most important to note is that when a boxer is already in shape he can then concentrate on perfecting his craft. If it takes a boxer several weeks to get in shape then his time to learn new things is limited. Over the span of his or her career, this can mean potentially months or even years of missed opportunities.
Learning from the past is very important and one lesson above all others with regards to boxing is clear, staying in shape and dedicating yourself will give you the best chance of success. Ignore that advice at your peril.