red eyed training to avoid black eyes in the ring'
you thought top class professional footballers readying themselves
for the World Cup had a tough training regime, spare a thought for
some amateur Belfast kickboxers.
Their coach is so determined to get them in prime physical shape
for an upcoming event, that he has them pounding Belfast streets
at 6.30am every morning, six days a week, then takes them into the
gym for more fitness work.
Veteran coach and former world champion fighter Billy Murray has
built a stable of capable young fighters teaching skills he has
learned over 30 years in the game.
Now he is crafting a new generation of would-be champions by pushing
them the extra mile.
“This is as tough as I’ve ever trained any set of fighters,”
he said. “Our fighters have had good successes of late and
I want to keep it that way. So I’m puishing them right to
the limit to see who has the appetite for real big stage victories.
“I’ll meet them every morning at 6.30am for a three
mile run. Then they do a training session along with me for a further
30 minutes. It’s circuit training and body conditioning -
just good, old fashioned, no- nonsense hard work. It runs from Monday
– Saturday. There are a few talented young fighters who could
take a step to the next level, but this will let me see who is REALLY
dedicated to get out of bed and face me in the morning. It’s
not for the faint-hearted!”
Much of this training is in addition to sparring and ring work that
the fighters work on several evenings a week. Murray insists it
won’t lead to burn-out, just prime physical conditioning.
“I’ve been doing this a long time. I’d never put
together a training programme that would fatigue my fighters. Kickboxing
is one of the most demanding – both physically and mentally
– sports in the world. When you’re in the middle, you’re
on your own and you need to be able to take, and deliver, punches
and kicks for a sustained period. Fitness and conditioning is as
important as sparring.
“Also, I’m odd in that I really love getting up early
and running hard – still after all these years.”
Murray’s fighters are heading to the Park Ave on June 24.
It’s a day and night double header that will see a host of
young fighters compete in the afternoon and some big names –
such as Gary Hamilton, Andrew Grimason and Lydia Brandiff –
fight in the evening.
For further details and tickets, contact the ProKick hotline on
028 9065 1074.
Belfast, Northern Ireland
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