“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.
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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.

Bob Fitzsimmons – The Fighting Blacksmith

Posted on Monday, July 23rd, 2018 by John Wood
Bob Fitzsimmons, the great prize fighter from the turn of the century was known as “The Fighting Blacksmith.” It wasn’t just a catchy nickname, Fitzsimmons really WAS a blacksmith, having apprenticed under his father as a young lad.

It was said that this early training at the forge helped build Fitzsimmons’ punching power and considerably develop his upper body which certainly contributed to his later profession in the fistic arena. Fitzsimmons was well-known for his wiry but strong physique and for delivering short, accurate, and very hard punches on his way to winning world championships in three different weight classes.

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.

The Boxer of Quirinal

Posted on Monday, July 23rd, 2018 by John Wood
Many of the early physique stars aspired to emulate the classical lines of the Greek and Roman statues.

Here’s a great example, The Boxer of Quirinal, a Hellenistic Greek sculpture from the first century BC. This famous work of art shows an ancient warrior seated, likely resting after a match. This fellow certainly earned his bread, with scars and bruises inlaid with copper adding to the detail. Also of note is the Cestus, which are the leather wraps covering the knuckles of each hand. These were more for increasing knockout power than protection.

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.

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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.

Wrestling for Boxers

Posted on Thursday, December 28th, 2017 by John Wood
How do you train when you want to be in the meanest and toughest possible shape? The answer is “Like a wrestler” which is exactly what boxing champ Jim Jeffries used to do in his training camps. There’s nothing better for buiding strength of mind AND strength of body. Jeffries’ wrestling coach? None other than Farmer Burns.
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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”

John C. Heenan’s Exercise Clubs and Boots

Posted on Monday, February 15th, 2016 by John Wood

April 17, 1860 is a famous date in pugilistic lore, it was on that date that American John C. Heenan was to face the Brit Tom Sayers in a bare-knuckle bout to decide the World’s first international Boxing champion. Like all big fights, this one captured the public’s imagination and topics which would normally be ignored were highlighted in great detail.

The newspapers of the day followed Heenan’s training regimen with great interest and among his preparations for the fight, Heenan swung Indian clubs to condition his shoulders (a gift from Sim Kehoe himself!) Despite giving up forty pounds and five inches in height, Heenan was in fine fettle come fight time. Above is a rare engraving showing Heenan’s clubs and exercise shoes. As for the fight, the action lasted forty-two rounds spread out over two hours. you can read more about the outcome HERE.

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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.

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:

Billie Miske

Posted on Wednesday, August 26th, 2015 by John Wood
Here’s a classic shot of boxer Billie Miskie training with a medicine ball, circa 1920. Miskie was deep in training to face the great Jack Dempsey for the World’s Heavyweight title in Benton Harbor, Michigan on September, 6th of that year (a fight Miskle lost by Knockout in the 3rd round, the only time he got knocked out in his entire career.) For you trivia buffs, this was the very first heavyweight title match that was ever broadcast on radio. Medicine ball training was always very popular with the oldtime boxers, and for very good reason.
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.