Undefeated super-lightweight prospect Jonathan Walsh (4-0, 1KOs) has thrived during lockdown by using all his extra time to its full advantage, taking up meditation for the first time, starting a meal prep business, and concentrating on improving his strength.
Trained by Paul Stevenson at the talent-filled Everton Red Triangle in Liverpool, Walsh hasn’t wasted a single second of lockdown, using his time to learn new abilities and techniques to help with his professional boxing career, whilst it’s temporarily on hold during this ongoing pandemic.
Firstly, the 25-year-old set up a garden gym at his home last March when the initial lockdown was enforced to be able to continue training and keep his fitness levels up.
The weight training soon took on a life of its own, he explained, “My strength has doubled since I’ve been doing weight training. I’m definitely getting stronger and still walking around at 10st 10lbs, so I don’t think I’ve put that much muscle on because I’ve been training for strength, not muscle size; training for strength is different, but luckily I understand all the science behind it.
“Now I’ve had the time to come away from boxing, my main focus has been getting strong. It’s hard to get the strength work in when you’re in camp because it’s more fight-specific with speed work and explosiveness, but building strength comes mostly from food so it can’t always be done when you’re in a calorie deficit camp, making weight.”
Since turning pro, Jonathan raced to 4-0 within his first year in the paid ranks between March 2019 and February 2020. His last assignment on February 28 at the Grand Central Hall in Liverpool was a stern test against ex-England amateur Chris Adaway (10-68-4, 1KOs), which he passed on points to remain unbeaten.
The Haringey Box Cup champion is part of a special group of seven professional fighters from his gym that all came through the amateurs together. Four of which were fortunate to fight once more since February; they were Frank Warren signed trio Nick Ball, Andrew Cain and Bradley Strand, who all won their Queensberry Promotions debuts on the undercard of light-heavyweight Lyndon Arthur’s Commonwealth title defence to Dec Spelman on July 31.
Also, Harry Woods got a last-minute call up to the Ultimate Boxxer super-middleweights tournament in November, which Zak Chelli went on to win.
That leaves bantamweight Connor Butler, welterweight Jack McKinlay, and Walsh himself all sat on the sidelines for exactly a year now, since they all fought on a Black Flash Promotions together in February 2020, which the inactive fighter admits is now the longest time he’s ever had out of a boxing ring.
Despite the obvious frustration and anger that most of the nation has shared during these unusual, seemingly unending, circumstances, Jonathan has found a new way to cope with it all.
He revealed, “To be honest, with all the lockdown going on, I’ve got into meditation. I just started a few weeks ago. It’s about learning how to control your anger and emotions, but also about life as well.”
‘Jof’ has joined the likes of Sting, Paul McCartney and Russell Brand, who are all well known for meditating, but the inspiration came far closer to home for him.
“My brother has been doing it for three years, he always told me it would benefit my boxing. There’s things I’m doing that I’ve never done before such as cold exposure and breathing techniques. I’ve been taking ice baths for like eight minutes. I’ve got a big barrel in my garden and I’m cracking the ice on the surface to get in and it’s been minus-four in there!
“I’ve been researching it and looking it up on podcasts and YouTube, and I’ve also been doing brain training.
“This is just one of the positives I’ve taken from lockdown, I’ve been able to hold my breath under water for four minutes and 50 seconds. There’s a technique where you take 30-40 deep breaths and then when you exhale on the final one, you can hold your breath for ages. Divers do a lot of breathing work so they have that bigger lung capacity.”
The new endeavours don’t end there, Walsh also set up a brand new business when he first realized he wouldn’t be boxing for the foreseeable future. He elaborated, “I know it’s been hard for everyone, but it’s been a bit of a blessing for me because I started up doing meal preps during the first lockdown, so that’s another positive I’ve been able to take from it. I’ve been really busy since.
Just to prove he is still only human, he admitted, “I’m missing it now though, but it just makes you more excited to come back again. It’s going to come to pass, just got be patient. Hopefully, our small hall shows are going to be back up and running after June. I’d be happy to box at least once this year, but ideally twice. I’d like to box September time, then maybe once more just before Christmas.
“We don’t know how the shows are going to go, or exactly how it’s all going to work. I’m just working on myself until then.”
‘Jof’ thanked his sponsors Skyners; ID BULLYS; JGI Walsh; Brooks Estate Agents; V7 Recruitments.
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