Boxing: Moors not merrier but hard work is worth it

EDINBURGH'S leading contender for British super-middleweight title honours, 2006 Commonwealth gold medallist Kenny Anderson, has taken a leaf out of the manual of one his all-time ring heroes, American legend Rocky Marciano, by living and training like a hermit.

Anderson is preparing for his British super-middleweight title eliminator on Monday, 18 January against Sheffield's dangerous Paul David and has locked himself away in a hotel on the Lancashire moors.

He said: "For every one of his six successful world title defences, my hero Marciano cut himself off at an isolated and deserted hotel in the back of beyond and subjected himself to brutal training regimes to ensure victory in the ring.

"That's what I've been doing.

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I have hotel staff who cater for my dietary needs to ensure no weight problems and, while it isn't cheap, my mentor Barry McGuigan is paying for this set-up entirely – which shows that he has the utmost confidence that I can beat David.

"Barry is putting his money where his mouth is by backing me this way and this makes me want to repay that faith by giving a storming performance against David.

"Many people criticised me for my struggling and unconvincing performance in winning the Celtic super-middleweight title against Welshman Nathan King, who cut me up.

"But, the truth is, I was still recovering fully from two elbow operations when I fought King but I have no such worries now.

"In fact, Barry and my coach Kevin Marra have ensured I've never been fitter by having a tough paratroop fitness instructor called Andy Smith taking me on daily six-mile runs in the snow across the moors and up nearby Pendle Hill.

"But I'm not complaining, I'm convinced that, once the first bell goes in the David fight, the level of fitness, punching power and boxing skill that I will have developed will make the last three miserable years – when my career was in limbo – just a memory.

"Similarly, I'll admit that when McGuigan introduced me to my new coach I was, at first, uncomfortable given Kevin's comparative youth compared to all my other coaches.

"They were all older than I was but, since working with Marra, I've become a believer in his coaching as he combines old- fashioned ring wisdom with modern training techniques.

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"Of course, there is price to pay for this. I miss my partner Lisa and our three kids."

While away from home, Anderson has been doing more than just physical work and he added: "I've studied Paul David's last three fights on DVD and he is a tricky spoiler but nothing has been left to chance by my team."

"When I return to sparring, they have set up North African boxer Nassim El Harbi who is notoriously adept at spoiling like David."