“I Turned Away and Started Crying”: Olympic Medalist Opens Up About His Coach’s Inappropriate Way of Teaching, Stands Up Against “Old-School Stupid Mentality”

Published 01/24/2024, 11:42 PM EST

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At the age of 10, Tony Jeffries stepped into a boxing gym for the first time. This was the beginning of a journey that would lead him to an Olympic light-heavyweight bronze medal, 15 years ago. Surprisingly, Jeffries views an injury as a crucial turning point. He even asserted that “getting injured was the best thing that ever happened” to him. Presently residing in Los Angeles, he has transitioned into a successful businessman.

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Moreover, he had established two boxing-themed fitness gyms and a Box ‘N’ Burn Academy. So, he’s also trying to guide the young boxers on the path of achieving success. For that reason, he’s even tried to rework the flawed methods of the boxing coaches from his time. In his recent post, he even shared a personal experience and warned all the boxing coaches.

Tony Jeffries has a stern message for the old-timer boxing coaches

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Securing a bronze medal for Team GB at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing marked a high point in Tony Jeffries’ boxing career. Transitioning to the professional realm, he displayed his boxing pedigree by winning nine out of ten fights. However, one of them resulted in a draw. Unfortunately, the trajectory of his boxing journey was altered by recurring hand injuries. These were followed by an unsuccessful surgery, leading to his retirement in 2012.

Jeffries ventured into coaching, leveraging his expertise to open his own boxing gym, Box ‘N Burn, situated in Los Angeles. That’s where he explored the right way of teaching boxing. In his recent Instagram Post, he revealed, “I remember when I was 12, I was big for my age, I was sparring with an experienced 16-year-old; he hit me so hard I turned away and started crying. My nose was poring of blood. I wanted to quit boxing. In fact I refused to go back to the boxing gym, but my dad forced me to go, to the point where he said, ‘You’re grounded until you’re 18 if you don’t go to the gym.'”

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Furthermore, he thought about how many young boxers didn’t actually have a father figure in their life like that. So, there were many newbies who decided to quit boxing. So he made an appeal to the coaches, he said, “Message for coaches… If you have a person wanting to do boxing training with YOU, YOU need to give them every opportunity to flourish. If you’re letting them get beat up to “test” them. It’s hurting their confidence, making them think that “this is not for me.” I’m not going back there. And they will QUIT This is a very old-school STUPID mentality. Don’t be old school, and don’t be STUPID.

Not only this, he understands the repercussions of injuries that one might face because of doing this sport. He knows that such practices can lead to severe damage to one’s body. As a result, he tried to shed some light on this matter in the past.

Jeffries talks about the damages inflicted by boxing

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Reflecting on his extensive boxing career, Tony Jeffries, in an interview with Chronicle Live, provided a numerical perspective on the toll the sport took on him. With a staggering 106 fights to his credit, he estimated having engaged in approximately 10 six-round sparring sessions before each bout. Delving into the numbers, Jeffries approximated that, considering an average of seven punches per round, he endured nearly 50,000 hits throughout his boxing journey.

Jeffries is a credible source when he talks about the dangers of hard sparring and boxing in general. He said, “Professional coaches should have to go through an intense coaching course and be educated on the damage boxing and hard sparring does. The fighters need to be educated more too.” Furthermore, he added, “When you’re a fighter the last thing you think about is the damage and sometimes you let people punch you in sparring if they’re not hitting you very hard. I think you take 90 per cent or more of your punches in sparring. By the time your fight comes around you might have taken 1,000 punches already.

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Tony Jeffries is quite serious when it comes to facing the damages inside the ring and the things that boxing coaches should keep in mind while training  newcomers. What are your thoughts about this? Tell us in the comments section.

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Written by:

Chirag Radhyan

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My passion for sweet science began at the tender age of 12, a gift from my father who introduced me to the legendary persona of Muhammad Ali. In my heart, 'The Rumble in the Jungle' still remains to be the pinnacle of sporting history. Over the years, my fervor for boxing remained intact, although life's commitments sometimes deviated me from being a hardcore fan of the sport.
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Edited by:

Arijit Saha

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