Christian Schembri's training camp diary
Malta's favourite boxer, Christian 'Coqqus' Schembri (23-9-1, 8KO), is preparing for his 34th professional bout on September 30.
British fight fans will already be familiar with 31-year-old Schembri after he took Stoke's Nathan Heaney the distance over 10 rounds for the IBO Continental super-middleweight title in 2020.
Ahead of his showdown with Czech Republic's Milan Dvorak, Christian has agreed to share a unique insight into his training camp by writing weekly diary entries all through September, exclusive to BBN.
Monday 11th – Friday 15th
The events that happened this week were unusual, coming out from left field.
I started my week in Sicily, because I was still there for my friend’s wedding. He had a great wedding, just like you see in the movies, with loads of food, wine and merry guests dancing and being happy for the bride and groom. We had a good time, but I limited myself a lot, only joining in the dancing, staying mindful that I had to make weight very soon to fight on the 30th, so I didn’t afford to have any blowouts. I got a lot of stick from my friends, as usual, but you learn to take it over the years.
We landed back in Malta at 1am on Tuesday morning, and after a few hours sleep I woke up and did a home workout. I skipped rope for 12 rounds of 3 minutes, with 10 push ups and 20 crunches in between rounds, with the intention of saving my legs for sparring in the afternoon.
After running a few errands I went to a boxing gym in Birkirkara, Fight Factory, for sparring. I have known the head coach there for years, Steve Martin, having started out training with him when I was 17 years old, doing the sport in the summer to keep up my fitness in the football off-season.
I knew it was going to be a tough one, as I was going to spar three of his amateur boxers for three rounds each, which ended up being 10 because I don’t like leaving things on odd numbers! Things immediately started to take a turn for the worse. I was having a chat with Steve before sparring and he told me that the rumour mill was in full swing that the show on the 30th was being cancelled. Me being me, I was optimistic that it would still go ahead since it was so close to the date, but my head started going into overdrive on how to manage to still go through with the show even if the main promoter bailed out.
We started with the sparring and it was some good rounds with a few of the best amateur boxers in and around my weight class on the island, doing three, three and four rounds with three of the boxers. My legs felt heavy in the warm up, so I decided I was not going to move around a lot and practice my head movement and countering instead, and pace myself to have a steady 10 rounds.
After sparring, on my way to Fort Fitness to do the evening shift, I got hold of one of the promoters and he explained the situation to me. Various factors had come into play and the show was 99 per cent going to be pulled. I went into promoter mode myself and told him how we can save the date or just postpone it by a week, but he told me to wait for the official announcement. By the time it came out a few days later, I had given up hope of promoting the show myself for various reasons. The first one being that the next date that they were going to hold was 18th November, meaning that it would be too short a turnaround from one fight to the next. The second, better one this one, was that they promised a shot at National Middleweight Championship, probably a rematch with the guy I drew with last February, and I did not want to risk either a cut, or to be overtrained for that fight.
After thinking about it a bit and discussing with Scott, my coach, and Demis, one of the promoters, I decided to finish the week’s training plan as planned and then take a week off to let my body recover, doing only some light bits and pieces so as not to go crazy. I’m a training freak, and to take a whole week off with no training would drive me nuts.
I finished the week as planned, with my early morning runs and conditioning and boxing in the afternoon. I had some more sparring on Thursday with Niclas Elfstedt and another couple of keen Maltese guys, who are quite skilled but rarely do the sport competitively, but they go hard in sparring. It was a good session, and I ended up doing 12 rounds instead of eight, but I enjoyed it even though, physically, I felt flat. I guess it was a combination of the fight being cancelled, travelling and walking a lot, and cutting down on food to make weight, but I still managed to put in a good performance. I treat these days as mental training, because you never know if you wake up sick on the day of the fight and you still have to go through with it.
Just like how I treated the whole fight being cancelled ordeal. Mental toughness. It wasn’t pleasant at all, after all the hard training and dieting I had been doing to get myself into top shape, but I’m keeping in mind that after the week’s rest I will still reap the benefits of that camp, I still have learned and went through new experiences during sparring, learned what supplements I should and shouldn’t be taking and become a few percentage points better as a fighter overall.
Now, it’s all about recovering, planning and peaking at the right time to get that Maltese Strap!
Article sponsored by HÖRFA