Ashley Theophaneís US Boxing Diary
Ashley Theophane one of Britians top Light Welterweight Stars shares his experiences from his 3 month training trip to New York - 2nd July to 7th July 2007: I arrived in New York over the weekend. I met up with Dmitriy (Salita) on Monday afternoon. He picked me up from where Iím staying and took me to his gym, Starrett City. We met with Francisco Guzman, Dmitriyís trainer there. Heís a cool guy and has a lot of knowledge about boxing, also a very good technical trainer. I really enjoy working with him..
Article posted on 07.08.2007
Starrett City is a small Gym, but this stuff that makes champions. There has been some great fighters come out of there, the ones that come to mind are;
Curtis Stevens and Jaidon Codington (Who you can see a lot more of in the new Contender Season 3) also know as The Chin Checkers, Travis Simms the former WBA Light Middleweight Champion, Luis Collazo who recently gave Ricky Hatton so many problems, and of course Dmitriy Salita who is currently unbeaten in 28 fights and ranked number three by the WBC. These are the names that pop in my head but for a small gym, this is exceptional by any standards.
My first week in New York, I trained 4 days in Starrett City and once at HAMMERTIME GYM, up Long Island. They where filming a Boxing Reality show there, so I made a cameo appearance. I was filmed training, talking and chilling with the owners, nice guys.
Through the week, got offered some fights, some good, some bad. Some I accepted, some I laughed at. So the ones I agreed to, hopefully through the weeks they get finalised.
9th July to 15th July 2007
I started Gleasons Gym this week. Starrett City is cool but I love the atmosphere of Gleasons.
Through last week, I was getting calls from people saying another British fighter was over here. I know him from the amateurís. He raised his profile with the win on The Contender, but I heard he got stopped by Bradley Price. Iím sure he will come back, but I havenít seen the fight yet though.
This week the weather has been in the mid 90's. so Gleasons is a killer, itís like training in a sauna.
I saw Joan Guzman there, heís one of my favourite fighters around at the moment. A very talented boxer. He has everything, power, skill, heart, skills, and a great chin.
He was supposed to fight Michael Katisdis who stopped my ex-gym mate Graham Earl earlier this year. Katisdis vs Guzman, would have been explosive, but I think Guzman would have to much skill for him.
Guzman comes across as friendly, I saw him watching me training and he came over and said ďwhatís upď, in Spanish though. He thought I was Puerto Rican.
Since being here, so many people in the gyms ask if Miguel Cotto is my brother.
At Starrett City, the kids call me Cotto and always introducing me to people as Miguel Cotto, they funny, and my Barber calls me Winky Wright.
On Wednesday, Lennox told me Joan Guzmanís brother, Jose Amaro Guzman, who is 3-0, wants to spar with me. I told him ĒYou know, I spar with anyoneĒ. I wanted the big brother, but that can still happen, but Iíll have the Lil bro first.
16th July to 21st July 2007
This week, Lennox took me on the pads, working on my technique. I learn so much by being here. Just the little things, which make a big difference in big fights.
I have a good defence, Lennox tells me, my defence is my eyes, if I can see, I can not be hit. Itís a good point.
He is teaching me instead of blocking, to beat my opponent to the punch. I understand that, but if you mess up, you can get knocked out. I ainít scared of no man, but guys who where my favourite fighters where very technical, fast and defensive. Roy Jones Jr and Pernell Whitaker are 2 of my all time favourites, they had the ability to move and hit without needed to block, just using their speed and reactions.
At the end of my 3 months here in the States, I will be a much improved fighter.
On Friday, I walked into the gym and I saw Joan Guzman sparring with his brother.
I was stretching and watching them, picking up a few tips, His brother impressed me, I thought he looked good.
Then one of the coaches asked Lennox if I wanted to join in. I canít say no to pass up on an opportunity to share a ring with Joan Guzman.
I got ready and entered the ring. Joan tapped my fist and off we went, the 1st round.
I let my jab go and threw combinations, maybe he underestimated me. I did real good, I was happy with that 1st round. In the 2nd Round, he came at me straight away, banging away at me but I covered up and countered with hooks, which where catching him, to his surprise.
By the 3rd Round, he was backing up using his reflexes to make me miss, I was admiring his work, it was beautiful, truly World class, his friend was shouting at him to stop playing around and go at me.
Lennox was angry at me as I was showing him too much respect.
So in the 4th and last round, I backed off to tempt him in and he came at me like a bull, letting off hooks and uppercuts, he banged me to the body continuously, I felt it but I do 1000 sit ups a day, so Iím real good in that area and the shots just bounced off.
He backed off to take a breather and it was my turn, I walked him down, letting off my jab, followed by combinations. The round finished and that was it, they called time.
I did 4 rounds with the WBO Super Bantanweight & WBO Super Featherweight Champion and it was very enjoyable. It was my first time in 2 months that I had sparred.
The last time was the 40 rounds I completed with Ajose Olusegun to help him get ready for his win over Gary Reid for the Commonwealth Title.
Lennox told me it doesnítít matter if he is champion, you show him no respect. I normally donít but heís one of my favourite boxers so I was enjoying watching his moves.
I like Lennox, heís always looks at what you do bad and lets you know. But he does know that I take it on board and improve as I always do.
On the way out the gym, a female boxer told me I looked good in there, thatís nice to hear but I look forward to going at it again with him.
I had a bad Friday and Saturday evening. I was told 2 boxers who I find very standard had won big fights.
Colin Lynes won the European Title with an 8 Round KO of Young Mutley, that result shocking. Mutley must have been weight drained.
Then on Saturday, Gavin Rees, won the WBA Title from MíBaye.
Rees! Heís a Fat Midget! Canít see him keeping that belt. I text my boy Dmitriy straight away to tell him the result and try get that fight because Rees is not World Class, far from it.
In regards to my own career after winning a British Title Eliminator, instead of fighting the British Champion, I read I was matched to fight Nigel Wright for the English Title. That ainít happening unless he wins a top belt. I feel he has reached his level. Who has won the English Title and gone onto anything major, no one itís just a waste of my time.
23rd July to 31st July 2007
I spoke to Joan Guzman today, he was telling me he walks around at 155lbs. I donít know how he makes the weight 130lbs. I walk around at 155lbs and fight at 140lbs and thatís hard enough to make.
Wednesday, I sparred Guzmanís brother, Jose Amaro Guzman. It was alright but I was too slow letting off my shots. I kept walking him down and I could feel him getting tired. But 4th Round came and his coaches said TIME.
So I was kinda pissed as 4 rounds I ainít even in 2nd gear. But its more rounds under my belt.
Dmitriy called me and asked if I wanted to go camp up the Poconos with him for his September 5th fight. I miss them hills, the morning runs where crazy. Out in the middle of no where running up some big hills. Thatís the life.
Lennox Lewis used to go up there for some of his camps as well. So Iím looking forward to it.
Dmitriy has called out Gavin Rees, the little fat slapper, thatís easy work for him.
I just got some bad news Tuesday Morning, that Big James, had been shot. Itís a sad thing, he was a cool guy and I had just seen him before I came over to NY as I was helping out Ajose with sparring.
We talked about Floyd Mayweather Jrís Documentary and about Ajose becoming Champ, cause I gave them some tapes on Gray Reid.
James was an All-star Boxing Club Hero, just like Taju Akay and they are both now gone.
Itís a sad time. But their Legacyís will never die.
On Thursday, I went down to Starrett City Boxing Gyn. As I walked in, Dmitriy was sparring. I got changed and his coach asked me if I wanted to spar with one of the amateurs who are fighting on Saturday. I did some skipping and shadow boxing, it was like being in a sauna, it was so hot, it was crazy.
We did 3 rounds and it was cool. Heís a nice little boxer.
After that I did some rounds of the speed ball, head movement ball and some sit ups.
Gavin Rees fights, where playing on the gymís TV screen as I walked in. What a bum, Short Fat Paper Champion.
Lennox is going Las Vegas with Vivian Harris for camp. Should be a good fight but since Witterís been champ, he hasnít shined yet. Thatís probably his best asset, his ability to bore his opponents out of the fight. But heís achieved a lot winning that WBC belt, so good luck to him.
Worked for the last time today with Lennox. He was showing me how to set up punches, making opponents throw what I want them to throw. He makes it look easy but I am a skilful boxer but I come here and I am struggling to do certain moves. But Iíll get it in the end.
Went Starrett City to work with Francisco Guzman on the Tuesday. He gave me some good tips. I like the way he coaches and his boxing skill is the way I like to fight. Slick boxing skills, nice and relaxed.
When I came back I saw Graham Earl, who is an ex-gym mate of mine from the TKO Gym in Canning Town, London.
I see he needs an opponent for October 6th. I would easily step in there. Doubt he would take it though. He knows how good I am
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