Coronavirus crisis: the boxing world reflects - part 3

Luke G. Williams
24/03/2020 11:30pm

Photo: John Gichigi/Getty Images

How are members of the boxing community worldwide coping with the Coronavirus crisis? In the third of a new series, Boxing Monthly hears from Wayne McCullough, Anthony Yigit, Paul Stevenson, Carly Skelly, Ace Adam, Brooklyn Tilley and Brad Strand...

"We are doing well - albeit self isolating - in Las Vegas. My wife and daughter had everything organised when I got back from LA last week. They had stocked up on food, water and all the essentials. We are more or less staying at home 24-7 now. I go out running everyday in my neighborhood which is quiet and only a few people walking around. I did put out a few workout videos online for people to train at home for free. There’s no excuse for people not to stay fit and healthy and for boxers to train at home. We’re coping as best we can and hope and pray that everyone stays safe. We’ll come out of this stronger than ever! - Wayne McCullough, former WBC bantamweight champion

"The virus has affected me in such a way because I was training in Las Palmas and getting fit. I was looking to get out to the US and fight sometime in April. But as it looms now they've put everyone in Spain in quarantine now so we're just staying at home and I'm training in the basement, just trying to keep fit. So yeah right now I have to postpone all the plans that I have about fighting in the US, which is my aim for when this all settles which is hopefully aoon. I'm feeling quite well it's just I'm feeling a bit sad because I was really getting in  shape and now I've had to cancel my training camp." - Anthony Yigit, former European super-lightweight champion and world title challenger

Well, like everyone else we’ve closed the gym down but I’ve been speaking to my boxers about remaining positive as that’s absolutely key in such an unprecedented situation. There’s great uncertainty, nobody knows how it’s going to pan out, so I’ve told my boxers to remain calm, to take some down time but to remain focussed. My pro stable have all just boxed and Peter McGrail is one of two who’ve just qualified for the Olympics so they’re in a better position than most. When is their next fight? Will the Olympics be postponed? No one knows yet so the key is to be men and to stay calm and try very hard to avoid frustration as frustration can very easily turn to self-pity and that can have no place in a boxer’s psyche in or out of the ring. And if, as it seems, we’re a bit lost at sea we just have to wake up each day grateful to be alive and waiting on the wing for the land to appear. The world will right itself eventually, as it always has and when it does we want to be focussed and ready to swoop." - Paul Stevenson, head coach Everton Red Triangle Gym

"This pandemic is not affecting my earnings, as such, as I also work as a nurse, so I do have a regular income. However, at the minute, I’m early into my career as a professional boxer, so trying to get out there as much as possible and get myself known and building my profile is really important and obviously this has a massive impact from that point of view. But this is out of our hands and I will use this time to develop my skills. I’ll be better and stronger when I’m back in that ring, whenever that is.

"As far as training is concerned, currently I’m still in the gym and training as hard as always, we can’t allow this to stop us. I’m faced with the pandemic at work everyday, my boys are worried hearing about it daily on the news and at school. So, for me, I’m trying to keep normality in mine and my family’s lives. My advice would be don’t let fear overpower us. Stay safe ride the storm and go again." - Carly Skelly (3-0), bantamweight, Liverpool

"My second pro fight was meant to be this weekend -just gone] but it was cancelled only a few days before, but I’m not really sorry, it’s people’s health and safety that are my main concern. I heard there were events still going ahead and thought that was crazy, we should be thinking of everyone’s health because we don’t even know the extent of what this virus is or how it will progress, so we need to take the necessary precautions now.

"Every minor setback makes way for a major comeback. It means more time to train, to condition, to prepare. I won’t be doing much training in the boxing gym, I’ll be minimising being around groups of people and public places, I’ll still do my strength and conditioning sessions once per week, but I’ll be wearing gloves and wiping everything down!

"So, I’ll mostly be at the track instead from now on, out in the open air, outside in a cleaner environment, but I’ll take precautions everywhere I go. I'm currently transitioning from a pescatarian diet to a plant-based diet, so I'll have some time to concentrate on this also.

"It doesn't really affect my earnings profoundly, I'd like it to be my full-time occupation, but I'm still working as well as a Care Supervisor at a private care within the community in Bromley." - Ace Adam (1-0), super-middleweight, Catford

"I can't train at the moment anyway, because I'm filled up with the flu, I feel rotten. But it's annoying not having a fight date because I really wanna' climb those rankings, I'm hungrier than ever. While I'm out of the gym with this cold, I'll just be doing road work." - Brooklyn Tilley (2-0), super-lightweight, Rainham

"Just training as normal to be honest, the gyms are just a lot quieter. Loss of earnings? Yeah definitely, but everyone will be in the same boat." - Brad Strand (3-0), super-bantamweight, Liverpool