“The Tipton Slasher” Benny Yanger

Posted on Thursday, December 6th, 2018 by John Wood
Benny Yanger
“The Tipton Slasher” Benny Yanger gets in a workout with the wall pulley at an oldtime Chicago gym circa 1906. Note the small dumbbell which has been added to the weight stack. Like most boxers of that era, Benny was also fond of throwing the medicine ball around to build upper body strength and stamina. Over his career, the New York lightweight was 51-9.
All Contents, Including Images and Text, Copyright © 2005-2018 by John Wood and Thunderdome Media Inc., Not to be reproduced without permission, All Rights Reserved
Author: John Wood. All contents, including images and text, copyright © 2005-2018 by John Wood and Thunderdome Media Inc. Not to be reproduced without permission. All rights reserved. We will most likely grant permission but please contact us if you would like to repost. IMPORTANT: Equipment and books, courses etc. pictured in blog posts are generally not available for sale unless specifically noted.

Neck Training With Sonny Liston

Posted on Thursday, November 29th, 2018 by John Wood
The great boxer Sonny Liston used to strengthen his neck by doing a headstand on a table and working his body back and forth then left and right, in order to hit all four “sides” of the neck. I can say from experience that this method is simple but very effective.

This picture was taken in May of 1963 while Liston was in training to face Floyd Patterson for the second time. Liston knocked out Patterson in the first round just like he did the first time they fought. With this victory Liston retained the WBA, The Ring, and lineal heavyweight titles and won the vacant inaugural WBC heavyweight title.

Wall Pulleys

Posted on Monday, September 24th, 2018 by John Wood
Wall Pulleys were one of the first commercially available pieces of training equipment and were a common sight in gyms in the later 19th and early 20th century. Pugilists used to use them for building punching power as well as developing upper body endurance.

Here the great Light-heavyweight boxer from Philadelphia Tommy Loughran gets in a quick workout while his trainer Jack Brady looks on. These two shots are especially rare as they are two different shots taken at the same moment from two different cameras. They were taken in 1929.

All Contents, Including Images and Text, Copyright © 2005-2018 by John Wood and Thunderdome Media Inc., Not to be reproduced without permission, All Rights Reserved
Author: John Wood. All contents, including images and text, copyright © 2005-2018 by John Wood and Thunderdome Media Inc. Not to be reproduced without permission. All rights reserved. We will most likely grant permission but please contact us if you would like to repost. IMPORTANT: Equipment and books, courses etc. pictured in blog posts are generally not available for sale unless specifically noted.

Jack johnson

Posted on Sunday, April 8th, 2018 by John Wood
The first African American heavyweight boxing Champ Jack Johnson certainly earned his title inside the ring and out. When he did finally get his shot he had lost only two of his previous 63 fights going back almost a decade prior.

As far as preparation for the ring, Johnson’s condition bears the unmistakable mark of physical training and the old photos from the training camps in his era certainly back it up.He threw the medicine ball performed calisthenics, jumped rope, chopped wood and generally engaged in exactly the kind of physical training he would have needed to in order to compete for (and Win!) the Heavyweight championship of the world.

The tale of the tape from the Johnson/Jeffries fight indicates that Johnson had a 7-7/8 inch wrist, 15-1/4 inch flexed forearm and 17-inch flexed upper arm all at a 210-pound bodyweight. You may not realize this but Jack Johnson also was a performing strongman after his boxing days were over and one of his favorite feats was the human chain.

All Contents, Including Images and Text, Copyright © 2005-2018 by John Wood and Thunderdome Media Inc., Not to be reproduced without permission, All Rights Reserved
Author: John Wood. All contents, including images and text, copyright © 2005-2018 by John Wood and Thunderdome Media Inc. Not to be reproduced without permission. All rights reserved. We will most likely grant permission but please contact us if you would like to repost. IMPORTANT: Equipment and books, courses etc. pictured in blog posts are generally not available for sale unless specifically noted.

Stamina

Posted on Friday, March 25th, 2016 by John Wood

“…Of all boxers it seems to have been Rocky Marciano who trained with the most monastic devotion; his training methods have become legendary. Marciano was willing to seclude himself from the world, including his wife and family, for as long as three months before a fight.

Apart from the grueling physical ordeal of this period and the obsessive preoccupation with diet and weight and muscle tone, Marciano concentrated on one thing; the upcoming fight.

Every minute of his life was defined in terms of the opening second of the fight. In his training camp the opponent’s name was never mentioned in Marciano’s hearing, nor was boxing as a subject discussed. In the final month, Marciano would not write a letter since a letter related to the outside world. During the last ten days before a fight he would see no mail, take no telephone calls, meet no new acquaintances.

During the week before the fight he would not shake hands. Or go for a ride in a car, however brief. No new foods! No dreaming of the morning after the fight! For all that was not the fight had to be excluded from consciousness.

When Marciano worked out with a punching bag he saw his opponent before him, when he jogged he saw his opponent close beside him, no doubt when he slept he ‘saw’ his opponent constantly—as the cloistered monk or nun chooses by an act of fanatical will to ‘see’ only God. “Madness? — or merely discipline? — this absolute subordination of the self. In any case, for Marciano, it worked.”

Joyce Carol Oates

“On Boxing”

Rocky Marciano Stone Lifting at Greenwood Lake

Posted on Monday, January 11th, 2016 by John Wood
One of the famous boxing training “camps” could be found in Greenwood Lake, New York. The list of of great champions trained there for their biggest fights is long and impressive: Joe Louis, Billy Conn, Archie Moore, Sugar Ray Robinson, Floyd Patterson and Rocky Marciano (shown here, lifting stones in preparation for his bout with Harry Matthews on July, 28, 1952.)

Greenwood Lake is a nine-mile finger of water that extends right into New Jersey and offers spartan living and a way to get away from civilization. There were plenty of roads, footpaths and other natural amenities that boxers could take advantage of for their preparation efforts (as you can see above.)

… and, in addition, thanks to the wonder of modern technology, we can  show you the Marciano v. Matthews fight as well:

Aaron Molyneaux Hewlett

Posted on Sunday, August 28th, 2011 by John Wood

Aaron Molyneaux Hewlett

Aaron Molyneaux Hewlett was the first African American on the Harvard University staff and the director and curator of the Harvard Gymnasium from 1859 to 1871. He also taught gymnastics, boxing and the use of dumbbells.

Hewlett is pictured here with the tools of his craft: boxing gloves, Indian Clubs, Dumbbells, medicine balls and the wooden wand. It should also be known that this picture represents the very first time a medicine ball was photographed in the US (taken around 1860). Interestingly, at the time most physical culture figures generally recommended very light apparatus work but Hewlett appeared to favor much heavier clubs and dumbbells. Also of note are those pretty nifty “dumbbell clubs” on the left.

Two other items of interest about Mr. Molyneaux: His daughter, Virginia married Frederick Douglass. In 1900, his son, E.M. Hewlett, became the first African American lawyer to win a case before the Supreme Court of the United States (Carter vs. Texas).