Sports stars Deron Williams, Frank Gore explain the driving force behind the boxing match, the worst part of combat training

Deron Williams and Frank Gore are entering a whole new world.

On December 18, sports stars will make their professional boxing debuts in the framework of Showtime’s Jake Paul vs. Tommy Fury at Amalie Arena in Tampa, Fla. Williams and Gore have been prominent players in basketball and football, respectively, with Williams having three NBA All-Star teams and leading the competitive Utah Jazz team for several seasons, and Gore recently retiring from that role. is one of the most effective back-runners in NFL history.

The two stood in the middle of the stage during a press conference Tuesday in New York City, and both were given a chance to explain their reasons for signing up for a professional boxing match.

“I’ve always been attracted to combat sports, I grew up being the first sport to be wrestling,” Williams said. “Wrested all the way through high school and I’ve always been a huge boxing fan, a big MMA fan, and part owner of Fortis MMA in Dallas, Texas, and I’ve been training a lot. much there for the past six years many years.

“I always wanted to, I had the idea of ​​maybe fighting, maybe MMA. I actually had a right before COVID hit that I was in training camp and my opponent withdrew, so that always lingers in my mind and I stay in shape and I keep training. training. … It’s one of those opportunities that come along and if I don’t take it, I feel as though I’m going to kick myself for not taking it for the rest of my life, so here I am. . ”

Williams’s combat sports credentials include not only a few state wrestling titles as a young man (he put wrestling aside when he was in high school due to coincident with basketball season), but also a chance to win. training session at Fortis MMA, a gym currently featuring UFC Jared Cannonier, Uriah Hall, Alex Morono, and Miles Johns, among many others.

On the Gore side, he’s been more focused on boxing since he was enlisted in the NFL in 2005. The NFL record holder for most games by rerun, entering boxing is initially Gore’s self-protection problem.

“I have always loved boxing, especially since I started practicing it in 2005, the first time I was drafted into the army,” says Gore. “I did it because I saved my feet because I played back. I did it for cardio and I just love how hard it is and how competitive I am. When I first walked in, I felt as if I couldn’t even fight. I just keep doing it and keep getting better and better.

“I told my son during the summer, when I wasn’t going to training camp, to be around my kids, and I started being around the men at the boxing gym every day and they just say, ‘Dude, you’ve got the basics. , you should try to fight, because they’ve seen all the Jake Paul things going on. I started thinking about that and I called my boy Malki and I thought, hey, I think I might want to take a chance and see what I can do there. December 18, we begin. “

Gore added that his reason for coming to boxing is certainly not just one day paycheck. The 15-year NFL veteran has cashed professional football checks as recently as last year.

Williams says he’s mostly received positive feedback from his colleagues in the basketball world.

“There was everything, but most of the people were behind me,” Williams said. “There are some people who are like, ‘Are you fighting Frank Gore? What are you doing? What are you thinking about?’ But it’s OK.

“There are a lot of unknowns in this fight and I think that’s what makes it so interesting. He trained for many years, I trained for many years. I did a lot of MMA, but most of the work that I did was boxing and so it wasn’t new to me. I’ve fought a lot of guys from our gym, a lot of killers from our gym, and I’m excited about this challenge. ”

One fate Williams certainly wanted to avoid was that of Nate Robinson, his contemporaries. The diminutive NBA veteran faced Paul in a boxing match last November and exploded unconscious in a clip that immediately went viral.

Gore doubts that the fight with Williams will play out the same way.

“I can’t look at it like that,” Gore said. “He does MMA, you have to have some kind of strength. I don’t watch it without the NBA, whatever Nate Robinson did, man this other. He’s been playing MMA for six years, so I have to respect that. He’s been wrestling since he was a kid, I have to respect that. I’m retraining my rear, the only thing I can do is worry about me. I’m training every day and I’m looking for a challenge. ”

Having competed at the highest levels of their sport for many years, one would argue that Williams and Gore are prepared for the toughest challenges that combat sports have to offer. That assumption is mostly true, but it was a deceptively simple aspect of training that tripped both athletes.

“I mean jogging,” Gore said of the biggest challenge ahead of his first professional game. “Because we play football, we never jog, we always sprint, pull sleds. I had to train myself to actually run. Put my mind somewhere else to continue. I would say that the hardest thing for me is running.

“Also, he probably feels the same way, but when you’re the top guy in your sport and now you’re in another guy’s sport, but you have to train with them . They don’t care if you’re a footballer, you have to get in the ring and fight, they’re not easy on you. They’re just pounding, you have to stand in them and walk back and forth. I’d say it’s also kind of difficult. “

Williams adds that it’s simply a matter of sticking to one sport for too long and then having to completely change gears. That, and all the jogging.

“I was running with Frank,” Williams said. “I ran four miles yesterday. That’s four miles longer than I’ve ever run in my life continuously. That’s not a thing for us. More sprints, shuttles, suicides, things like that. It’s another level of cardio and it’s just a different feeling.

“Basketball, or football to him, it’s our comfort zone, we’re comfortable with that, we’re comfortable with that work. Fighting is stepping out of your comfort zone. It’s learning to get hit in the face and sit there, step over it and be okay with it. It takes some time. It took me a few years. That’s just the challenge we keep talking about. It’s a new challenge as an athlete, especially since I’ve been retired for four years now. You miss competing, you miss having something to train, something to look forward to, it gives me that. ” | Sports stars Deron Williams, Frank Gore explain the driving force behind the boxing match, the worst part of combat training

James Brien

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