© Copyright – 2018 – Victoria Sports News
The cell phone rings and a giant beast of a man with all of the skills and fitness necessary to sit anyone on the canvas in the blink of an eye, is calling me. Ordinarily, this would be cause for great alarm, but not today. Today, World Boxing Union heavyweight champion Adam Braidwood is ready to chat about his current fitness, health and upcoming fights.
Braidwood nicknamed “The Boogeyman” lives in Victoria, grew up in Delta and lived in Edmonton for a spell. He is fighting three times in a span of three months starting next week. The 11-1, former Edmonton Eskimo, needs to be at his highest level of fitness to take on the quality and volume of training that goes into preparing for the three fights in short succession. He takes his training, recovery and nutrition very seriously.
“Recovery is everything. Coach Rich Le Stage has got it down to a science,” said Braidwood. “He calls me a million times a day to check in. Diet and nutrition is a big part of my life. I spend about $2000 a month on food alone.”
Braidwood then rattles off the ingredients that make up his daily smoothie: berries, flax, protein-containing foods, somewhere in there he mentions avocado and then turmeric. I haven’t the typing speed to keep up, but he eats a lot of avocado, every day. The turmeric acts as an anti-inflammatory.
I am not sure if the smoothie contains avocado, but he has woken to this protocol for years. I kick myself for not asking how many blenders he has burned through. There is probably a good and entertaining piece of training data right there. He probably has the best blender in the market. Opportunity lost.
“I work with Reflex and they have been great. The food and nutrition I eat I have had in my diet for 10 years. You can’t just do it for a month; it’s a progression. People say after a month, “I don’t notice anything.” I tell them, “go for a year and get back to me.””
The more he talks, the more serious his fitness, diet, and nutrition is sounding.
“I work with Derek Hansen. He is a consultant with the NFL and with Olympians. He really knows his stuff.”
I dig a little deeper and Hansen is more than just a consultant to the NFL and Olympians, his listed clients include teams in the NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB, MLS and NCAA Division I college sports according to his bio at Strength Power Speed (SPS).
Braidwood is also a trainer. It is a natural progression for a seriously dedicated professional athlete to use his experience to train others. Interestingly, the big, 6’ 4” 250-pound boxer spends a fair amount of time at the track and trails running. He might fit in some explosive work, or Le Stage might tell him to head out for a 10K run. He does it.
“A lot of people play these running games, but they spend all their time in the gym. It’s madness,” he says. “A lot of people don’t do ballistic workouts. People, who work out with me ask how the heck do you do this? I tell them it is a progression.”
“Ten-thousand-hour rule, right?” I ask rhetorically.
“Track and Field athletes are the strongest pound-for-pound of pretty much all sports,” he adds.
“This has been a big part of my life for a long time, so when Rich talks about training, I understand this stuff, also because I have worked with so many different people in so many different sports. His anecdotes are history that you cannot get from watching a video or reading an article, he has lived it.”
Braidwood’s skills have progressed as well. When first watching Braidwood box, you could see the pure and raw talent unleash and unwind itself in a mad fury of violent trauma (to his opponent). It was generously complimented with a hint of rage; pure unadulterated joy for a guy who had been hitting people down on the gridiron for his education and later for a living, most of his life.
Then he started working with Le Stage. His natural athletic talent allowed him to develop the skills required to fight boxers who have been in the game much longer than him.
“I thought I knew what boxing was until I started working with Rich.”
“We talk all of the time. When he tells me to run 10K, I go run 10K. One day I gave him some feedback and I asked, “You want to try a democracy?” He looked at me and said, “I have never done that.”
“You want to try a democracy?”
“Ah, no thanks,” he said, laughing his baritone-grizzly laugh.
Asked if he allows himself some downtime to relax over a beer with friends, the talk turned serious again, “No, I have been in fight camp for three years now.”
“I got my gym family, I got my coach and a few friends. I stay close to my family. That is enough. I have had my day and I don’t need it. I see guys who drink after training and I think that has some serious long-term effects.”
The Boogeyman isn’t going to let himself soften.
During the 1970s through to the 1990s, you would see a fighter rise through the ranks, fit and sharp and powerful. After winning 20 or 30 or 40 fights and a world title or two, they begin fighting just once-per-year for the purpose of defending their title. And they train for just a few weeks leading up. It’s the softening of the beast and that’s when they begin to lose.
“I have my CBD protocol (therapeutic cannaboids protocol) which is a big part of my year. Hemp seed extract, I take it all day on my recovery days, 40-60-80mg per day – I have taken maybe three acetaminophen in the past two years. I do turmeric and the CBD protocol for recovery and bring down inflammation.”
I try to steer the conversation to his fights, but he is not done.
He continues about free radicals damaging cells and how his recovery days are as important as his workout days; his mantra is “it’s a progression.”
“How is your neuro-muscular and cardio-vascular fitness now?”
“Fitness is really good. It’s been a progression. I have been pushing hard for years. For example, now I will spar seven or eight rounds, I will be tired from doing it, but not exhausted like I used to. It’s all about putting in the work.”
Braidwood will be fighting Tijuana’s Jesus Manuel Paez Huerta, who sports a 9-4 record on Saturday, March 31st at Casino de Montreal. On Saturday, April 28th he will be fighting again, this time in Edmonton at the Shaw Conference Centre, where 10 of his 12 fights have taken place. They love him in Edmonton; they will learn to hate him in Montreal.
In June, Braidwood will be fighting rival Simon Keane from Trois Rivières. The two have exchanged social media barbs for over a year and the rivalry will come to a head in Montreal at a to-be-determined date.
Keane is 13-0 and has KO’d or TKO’d his opponents in all but one fight, where he won by unanimous decision. Keane will be fighting Ignacio Esparza to defend his Intercontinental heavyweight title on April 7 in Quebec City. Esparza sports a record of 21-2-0.
Asked how he prepares for the biggest fight of his career, to date (vs Keane), yet focusses on his next opponent, he said, “We fight guys that fight like Keane.”
“I don’t choose my fights; that is up to my team, my promotor and Rich choose, based on what’s best for me.”
“We looked at him (Huerta) last summer. He is good, he is tough like many Mexican fighters and he throws all the punches. I will use my power and speed and tools, to knock him out.”
The confidence in Braidwood’s voice could not be confused as arrogance. It was matter-of-fact and a matter-of-planning-like. He is fit, healthy, focussed and skilled; there shall be no other outcome