Back in late 2016, I had a rather unexpected message from a friend of mine (who’s a well established boxing coach) that went something along the lines of:
“I’ve got this young kid, he’s 68kg and is going to fight for the European title in either 5 or 6 weeks at 63kg – need your help”
It turned out that this ‘young kid’ was a boxer called ‘Anthony Yigit’.
A boxer who’d represented his home nation of Sweden in at the London 2012 Olympics and was the first Swede to win a fight in the Olympic games in over 100 years.
Furthermore, if he were to win the European title, he would be the first Swedish boxer to have done so in 30 years.
All his coach wanted me to do was speak to him about nutrition and help him do what’s necessary to make the weight, whilst maximising his energy so that he could last a full 12 round without getting tired.
Naturally, I was very excited about being involved in such a historical moment and considered this an awesome opportunity to showcase a lot of what I’d learnt in the past few years.
But as I was on my way to visit him, a thought occurred to me:
“This guy has fought at the highest level in sport, and therefore would have had access to some very intelligent coaches so he must obviously know a thing or 2…what the hell am I going to tell him that he doesn’t already know?!”
I decided not to overcomplicate things and start where I would with any new client – keep it as simple and as basic as possible.
After arriving at the gym and being formerly introduced, we sat down to discuss his nutrition.
It took about 10 seconds for the problem to become overwhelmingly apparent.
This guy made good food choices….but had no clue as to how much he was actually eating.
Furthermore, he had no idea how to actually work out how much he was actually eating and how easy it was to use the ‘My Fitness Pal’ app.
Right there and then, I got my laptop, opened up my ‘Calorie Calculator’ (a tool I used to determine optimal calories/macronutrient intakes for clients) and worked out his daily calories according to his activity levels and his body size and showed him exactly how he could track his food intake.
He immediately became aware that he could have easily been eating too much without realising – something he then knew to address from his very next meal.
So, what happened?
Well, according to him and his coach, he had a brilliant camp.
Weight came down according to schedule, energy was high and the training had been excellent.
The next part was the weigh-in…
With fight night being on a Saturday, the weigh-in was scheduled on Friday afternoon, where he could be no more than 63.5kg maximum.
During the week, he followed the plan I laid out for him perfectly and he hit the weight perfectly without having to resort to any of the following: –
- Excessive weight cutting methods
- Severe dehydration
- Extreme starvation
However, the window between the weigh-in and the fight is a very critical timeframe and was something he had never taken seriously before or put together any kind of plan.
If you eat the right foods and drink the right fluids, you will not only re-hydrate properly and safely, but you will also re-store all of your body’s energy stores, which means you will have maximum energy when you enter the ring.
So I organised an eating and drinking schedule for him in the hours following the weigh-in and building up to the fight.
He wasn’t used to this, but put his full trust in what I was saying and stuck to it 100%.
On the way to the venue, I asked him how he was feeling.
He told me that he’d never felt this good before a fight.
Usually at that point he would be feeling a bit sluggish and tired, but right now he was feeling light and highly energised.
Since this was going to be his first time going for 12 rounds (his opponent had been in 5 x 12-round fights before, and was a lot more experienced), it was exactly what he needed.
So everything had gone according to plan, and now all he needed to do was get in the ring…
The fight took place in the other guy’s hometown, which meant he had a huge amount of support in the crowd.
Anthony was also the much smaller, and less experienced, fighter.
But, despite that…
…He took his opponent to school and dominated him for 12 exciting rounds.
Win by unanimous decision and the new European super lightweight champion.
In his own words, here is what he had to say:
“We usually say that as a fighter you have two battles to fight when you have a fight coming up. The main one is with the opponent you’ll be facing in the ring on fight day but for some, the hardest one is the one before the fight: The diet, weight loss and the discipline.
My struggles were exactly these and it gave me a hard time to perform at my best during training or competition. Knowing what’s good for you to eat and what’s not is common knowledge you would think, but it is a bit more complicated than that.
What are you supposed to put in your body before training? How are you going to recover after? These are all questions I didn’t have the answer for, but also had more questions because of my lack of knowledge in the matter. Why am I so tired? Why don’t I lose weight even though I eat less and train more?
When we brought Will Davis in to help us answer these questions, everything changed. He made a food plan for me to follow and supervised my intake. It didn’t take long before we got the results we wanted – I could do harder training sessions, I was more alert, more awake and had more energy and at the same time I was losing weight I couldn’t feel it.
I can say that for my last fight for the European championship, having Will on the team played a major role on the outcome. I lost almost 10kg, coming down from 72.8kg at the start of the camp to 63.5kg on fight week but didn’t feel tired or lethargic.
If I would have had to lose weight on my own, without his help that would have included a lot of sauna, sweatsuits and fasting for several days, leaving me tired and unable to be at my true potential for the fight.
I can not thank Will Davis enough for helping me win the title and I hope we will win many more in the future.”
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