By Ben Thomsett on July 23, 2018
He’s the world heavyweight champion. People tend to listen when athletes like him speak.

“Get in the gym. Focus on your gym work. The best fighters spent more time in the gym than anywhere else…”

“Are you trying to be a part-time boxer and part-time track runner?”—Anthony Joshua, talking about Tyson Fury’s training regime (as reported in the Australian media, 23rd July 2018)

I read the article this quote came from as the rest of the house was sleeping. Right before I fed the cat and bemoaned the fact I couldn’t bring myself to run around the block in this heat. Or at all.

Anthony made the comments, allegedly, when asked about a likely bout with Fury, now that we know Deontay Wilder has dipped his toe in the Matchroom water and felt it not to his liking (just how much money do two people need in life to feel happy?). Joshua stated that he thought Fury was a “good boxer,” and was open to them meeting early next year if the options were right. But Anthony is not only modest, he’s generous. I mean, how many fighters give genuine advice to a prospective opponent?

“Get in the gym. Focus on your gym work. The best fighters spent more time in the gym than anywhere else…  Why would you do one boxing session and one run?” Joshua advised Fury. Is this correct?

I guess, for me, this is a simple argument to make from Joshua’s point of view. He’s an immensely impressive physical specimen. His physique makes me feel so inferior that I can’t even begin to lace up my trainers without thinking, “No matter what I do I’ll never look like that.” So, undeniably, Anthony Joshua has forgotten more about working out in the gym than I will ever learn. He’s a professional. He’s a nice guy. And he’s the world heavyweight champion. People tend to listen when athletes like him speak.

Once upon a time I stayed abroad in the Fury training camp for a week. I’ve also seen Tyson train during other camps here in the UK. And, yes, he runs. It’s part of the regime. In fact, I don’t know of any boxer who doesn’t run as a regular part of their training. Running builds stamina. Ask Rocky Marciano (if you could).

Marciano was, for me, one of the fittest and most relentless heavyweights in history. Okay, let’s not debate his weight, opponents, blah blah blah, but just stick to his fitness. Here is a famous quote by Archie Moore (no slouch himself): “He just had more stamina than anyone else in those days, He was like a bull with gloves.” Archie was right, of course. He’d fought Marciano, Patterson, and a young Ali.

Rocky would famously run up and down hills with weights attached to his ankles. He’d run every single day, Christmas included, and he’d put in hilly twelve to fifteen milers daily in the week or so leading up to a fight. In short, Rocky could run. If he had entered my local park run last weekend he wouldn’t have come last. But Marciano wasn’t the only running heavyweight.

Muhammad Ali ran every day he was in training. He liked to run in army boots, or so the legend goes. Six miles before breakfast. Does Ali count among Joshua’s ‘best fighters’? I’d guess he does.

So what’s behind this barb? Is it a snide jab at a man who is not yet back at his best? Is Joshua simply defending himself against Fury’s old comment that Anthony is “just a bodybuilder”? Whatever. They will meet at some point if Fury can hold on to the sport with both hands and without negative distractions. Joshua would relish it, and I know Tyson would love a night like they could provide us with. Perhaps we’ll see how effective running is…

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  1. Kid Blast 06:27am, 07/27/2018

    Pete, and then he met up with another weak looking guy named Harry Arroyo and got waxed. But Charlie had a good run. Very good.

  2. Pete The Sneak 08:42am, 07/25/2018

    I’ll never, for as long as I live forget a fight I saw as a youngster with my older brother at the Old Felt Forum at MSG. There were these 2 guys, one was a skinny nondescript looking Anglo kid with barely no muscles, and his opponent was an African american guy who was built to the max with muscles on top of muscles. My brother says I’ll bet you 2 dollars this skinny kid will whip that big guy. Of course, there was no way in the world seeing what I was seeing that I thought this little skinny guy was going to beat this massive man, so I took the bet. Well, it was no contest. It took that skinny kid 2 rounds to put a whipping on Mr. Muscles the likes of which I had never seen before at the time, with a vicious KO stoppage. I don’t remember the big guys name, but the skinny kid’s name was Charlie ‘White Lightning’ Brown and I learned a lesson about muscular appearances in boxing that night. Cost me two bucks to learn it, but it was all good…Peace.

  3. Chico Suave 06:11am, 07/24/2018

    And running gets you in shape to run, that is it, it does nothing for conditioning the upper body. There are countless ways to build up your wind, burpees, rope skipping of course, swimming, machines like VersaClimbers and rowers, etc. Best way to build stamina for boxing is to box or spar.  Take a boxer that is highly conditioned and spars on a regular basis and throw him on a wrestling mat and the boxer will be gassed in no time, he is “out of shape”  for wrestling. His muscles aren’t used to performing those movements. Vice-versa. Put a highly conditioned wrestler in the boxing ring and he will tire much more quickly than the boxer. Both athletes run, but both train their bodies for different sports.

  4. Timothy O'Malley 05:15pm, 07/23/2018

    I think sparring, bag work and running are the best exercises for boxers. Thats all they did in the old days and never gassed out.  When you lift weights you get in shape to lift weights. When you shovel you get in shape to shovel. When you box you get in shape to box. sparring is #1 followed by bag work and running. These fighters these days with great diets and high tech equipment gas out often if they dont run and spar.

  5. Your Name 02:00pm, 07/23/2018

    Fury will play games with Lady Joshua and take her to school because Fury will have the stamina and Lady Joshua muscle bound will be looking for a quick ko getting hit in the face multiple times until Lady Joshua fall in his arse.

  6. Chico Salmon 08:34am, 07/23/2018

    You surely can’t really determine one’s fitness level based on physiques. I sometimes question fighter’s claims of how many miles of “roadwork” they do while training for a fight. I think a great deal of what is claimed is pure exaggeration. Marciano’s stamina can not be questioned, but the claims of 12-15 mile daily runs sure can. IF Marciano put in that many miles of roadwork, he would not even have weighed the 185lbs he routinely weighed for his title fights. Jim Jeffries “claimed” to put in 14 miles of roadwork a day which would take him 2 hours to accomplish. That is a 7 mph pace for a 220lb man wearing work boots?? PURE BULLSH*T if I must say so. The man would not have the strength to put in a decent gym session after that kind of running schedule. Angelo Dundee said that Ali rarely ran more than 3 miles, despite Ali claiming daily 5 mile runs. If you weigh 180lbs plus and run 12-15 miles a day, you will lose a great deal of explosiveness,  and develop a serious case of shin splints and foot problems along the way.

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