''We Break Our Bodies Down To Come Back Stronger'' Luke Campbell On Training Camps

The 2012 Olympic champ tells The Sportsman what AJ and Ruiz will be going through right now
07:00, 01 Dec 2019

It's not all carrying logs through the Siberian snow like Rocky Balboa in Rocky IV, you know.

Andy Ruiz Jr. and Anthony Joshua have been locked down in their respective training camps for a number of weeks ahead of next Saturday's huge heavyweight battle in Diriyah. But what exactly do champion boxers do during these lengthy spells away from home?

The Sportsman got London 2012 Olympic champion Luke Campbell to explain what goes on in a training camp when getting ready for a world title fight...

 

By Luke Campbell - 2012 Olympic Bantamweight Champion

There isn't really anything good about a training camp because we are breaking our bodies down to become bigger and stronger, and with that comes aches and pains, you get tired quickly, and even when you start to feel all of that you still need to go to the gym and work. It's brutal, you put your body through hell to get it in the best possible condition. Muhammad Ali’s saying was ‘I hate every minute of training but I get to live the rest of my life as a champion,’ and that's one of the greatest every sayings I think.

When it comes to preparing for a world title fight, it's not actually the camp itself that you change, it's the focus. You know you're fighting the best pound-for-pound fighter on the planet. For me, that fight against Vasiliy Lomachenko, my focus was sky high. Obviously we had a long training camp, and it was hard as always, but it's really just about being focused. In the end I think we did about a 12-week training camp for that fight.

We just did our camp working at a higher work pace. We definitely took the intensity to another level for that fight, because that's what we needed to do. Lomachenko is that type of fighter that gets stronger and more relentless as the fight goes on. We knew that we needed to be in top condition.

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We gradually bring the weight down over the camp. We have weight checks we need to meet and make sure we make. It's really the last week or so that we cut the weight. My trainer Shane McGuigan sorts my diet out and all the calories I have to contain during camp. Instead of training and going back and having to cook food for yourself, we just get a prepared food company that will sort out meals for us. We would know exactly what was in our meal calorie-wise, all the protein, carbohydrates and fats so we knew we were exactly on the dot for weight. 

When we're cutting the last bit of weight, you get hungry, thirsty and you're tired. Then that's when your mind can start playing tricks on you. I know what to expect. I have been there and done it, but it never gets easier, it is always a hard thing to go through. Your opponent is going through the exact same thing. Everybody is different, everybody makes weight differently. Some people take less weight off than others and it depends on how you take it off. It comes down to the individual and how they feel as no one is the same.

I train away from home so I’ve got the people around me in the gym. There aren’t many phone calls to friends, there isn't any social media, it's just a small group of people. A lot of people don't bother me as they know I am in training camp so they leave me be. There are only a few people that I will talk to everyday. I only talk to people back home, it's very quiet and boring. When you're not in the gym you just try to get as much rest as possible.

I get to see my family every weekend during training camp which is a nice little turn off from boxing, I have two days off with that and it's great. You can't really keep them emotions out because when I leave my family I get a little knot in my stomach and I miss my family dearly, but we are all ready for a bigger picture and we know why we are making them sacrifices because we are chasing our dream. Ultimately, there is no bigger picture without sacrifice, and you need to make them accordingly. It is hard, but I am not the only one that has to work away from home. It's one of those things and I have to make the most of my family when I can.

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