Professional boxer Joshua Holmes having to improvise during isolation

Improvisation is the key to keeping Joshua Holmes going during isolation after the coronavirus outbreak caused disruption to his regular training routine.
Super-featherweight fighter Joshua HolmesSuper-featherweight fighter Joshua Holmes
Super-featherweight fighter Joshua Holmes

The 24-year-old boxer has made the most of the outdoor space at his Earby home by setting up a CrossFit inspired facility.

The unbeaten super-featherweight had been working with former paratrooper Colin McCash at his Salute Fitness box in Burnley prior to the pandemic, but he’s using the interruption as inspiration rather than using it as an excuse.

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The four-fight phenomenon has been working up a sweat in his makeshift gymnasium with dumbbell snatches, stepovers on a wooden beam, sit-ups, tyre flips, sledgehammer slams, battle ropes and squats to overhead press.

Joshua Holmes pictured with his teamJoshua Holmes pictured with his team
Joshua Holmes pictured with his team

The concept of thinking outside the box is also being applied to his diet as he looks to stay on course for a return to action later this year.

He said: “I’m just about managing, I’ve been able to devise a little circuit so I can do all my exercises at home.

“I’ve got a good little set-up, but I haven’t got a punchbag at the minute, which is sending me a bit mad. I was never expecting anything like this to happen, but you’ve just got to try and improvise.

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“I’ve mainly been doing CrossFit circuits. I had been working with Colin [McCash] again in Burnley so I’ve just been taking a few tips from him.

“I’ve been doing circuits with 10 stations with a minute on each and going through it four or five times. It’s been getting my heart rate up.

“I had a couple of sessions with him beforehand so I’ll start working with him again. Hopefully he can get me in some good shape.”

He added: “I don’t think we’ll be back inside the gym until June so I’ve just got to keep working hard at home to try and keep the weight down.

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“I’ve got to make sure that I’m sticking to my diet so then, when the opportunity arises, I’ll be ready to go within a couple of weeks.

“I’m not used to it, my routine is completely different. It’s harder to stick to, but you’ve just got to think long term.

“It’ll be a lot harder to get the weight back off if I do pig out during isolation. As soon as boxing starts again I need to be ready to go because the shows will come thick and fast.

“I’m taking care of my diet on my own because the food company that delivered my meals have shut down [during the COVID-19 pandemic]. I’ve just got to be sensible; I know what I should be eating and what I shouldn’t be eating.”

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The British Boxing Board of Control may have further extended its suspension of events under its jurisdiction - forcing the postponement of heavyweight bouts between Dillian Whyte and Alexander Povetkin as well as Oleksandr Usyk and Dereck Chisora - but the Phoenix Camp fighter won’t be taking any time out.

Instead, the two-time Yorkshire Area champion, who fought out of Eastburn ABC before turning over, is treating this window as the start of his training camp.

Holmes had been pencilled in to fight at Colne Municipal Hall on May 2nd and now he’s turned his attention to the June 27th show at King George’s Hall in Blackburn, the scene of his professional debut just over a year ago.

“There’ll be some athletes treating this as a few months off, but my coach [Robert Rimmer] said there’ll be plenty of shows to aim at once we get the go-ahead so there probably won’t be time to have an eight-week camp,” said Holmes.

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“As soon as boxing is back we’ll probably have an intense two-week camp and then that will be it so I’ve got to be fit and ready.

“I was supposed to be boxing on May 2nd, but the British Boxing Board have pulled all their shows in May now. It’s hard because I don’t know when I’ll be able to fight.

“I was supposed to be fighting at Colne Muni and there’s a show on June 27th at King George’s Hall so that’s what we’re working towards now.

“Even that could get cancelled yet. If it goes ahead then it’ll probably just be a four-round fight to get me back into it after my injury. I’d say this is the start of my camp.”

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