By News Team
23rd September 2021
World heavyweight boxing champion Anthony Joshua caught up this week with former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand to discuss his career and says that his time in training camps ahead of big fights are some of the best times of his life.
The William Hill ambassadors discussed AJ’s preparation for his title fight with Oleksandr Usyk, which takes place at the Tottenham Hotspur stadium on Saturday, and the British brawler explained why being put through his paces ahead of big fights makes him feel energised and ready for a new challenge.
“Some of the times I have in camp are the best of my life,” said the WBA, IBF, WBO, and IBO champion. “It’s challenging, but I feel that I’m at the peak of my life (in camp). I’m healthy, I’m tunnel-visioned, and I’m trying to improve myself. With boxing, when I first started, I used to be completely different. Then when I found boxing, I wanted to get better in life.
“So, when I’m in camp, it takes me back to that and what it means to me to get better in life. I want to eat well, sleep well, I want to read, to play chess, and I want to train myself. I want to get better, and I want to indulge into how other athletes in other sports like martial arts and football and see how they improve themselves.
“You get to look at peoples’ secret to success and I can implement it in myself during this period of leading up to a fight. You’re trying to lift yourself up to be the best version of yourself.”
And the hard work doesn’t stop at the gym for AJ, as he admitted to Rio that once he’s finished for the day, he also likes to keep active at home.
He said: “I train about seven hours a day at the moment, but that’s also including things like warming up so it’s not just pure flat out. You warm up, you do your training, and I don’t just switch off when I go home. Now, I like to do activities to keep me engaged as well, so I use different apps which engage your mind.
“We do boxing study too, so I’m not just switched off when I get home. I spend 45 minutes to an hour studying the game because if I can concentrate on something for 45 minutes then that’s the duration of a boxing match.
“There’s also recovery, ice baths, stretching, massages, sleep – there’s nothing better than sleep!”
Joshua also offered an insight into the some of the key aspects of his training regime and explained to Ferdinand why it’s important to involve different exercising methods when he’s planning for a big fight.
“You need your legs. If you’ve got access to a little sandpit then you can move around when you put your cones in,” Joshua told the former Manchester United and Leeds defender. “Run to one cone, side shuffle and run to another one – that can get your legs conditioned. Or you’ve got to get the trainers on early in the morning and get out on the road. Four miler, five miler, two and a half out, two and half back, and that gets your legs and your lungs going.
“And in boxing, you want general conditioning. You’ve got to have access to swimming pools, bikes, rowing machines, but if you want to make it specific then that’s when you’ve got to get into sparring one-on-one with another opponent, which is difficult, but if you keep on practicing then after a while it’s the same as reading a pass if you’re a footballer. When you start sparring, you can read your opponent.”
Like anyone else, AJ also shared details of what his downtime looks like after a hard day’s work, where he likes to sit back and watch TV shows and listen to his favourite music.
“After training, I get back, shower, freshen up, unpack my bags, and put dirty clothes in the wash,” said Joshua. “And then I probably have about an hour and half until dinner, so with the boys in the camp we do a lot of brain activities and stuff, and then reaction pods and stuff like that.
“Then I go up to my room at about 10.15(pm) and put something on…at the moment I’m watching The Wire. It’s quite good.
“I’m boring when it comes to music. I like listening to the Old School Gs. I like Tupac, Biggie, Big L, Big Pun, early Jay-Z, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, B.G. Knocc Out, and Dr. Dre.
“My friend said it best that he likes listening to old school rappers ‘because they lived the life and now they can also tell you about the mistakes they made, now they’re a bit older’. It’s true, so me and him love the Old School music.
“I tried to get into the Drake album, but I’m still banging that Old School, that Rocky, that Cuban music! When I’m done, that’s when I’ll be listening to Drake, Kanye, and Lil Durk, all these guys…”