Alan Dawson- London
Strength and conditioning coach Alex Ariza and WBA world super lightweight champion Amir Khan have been reunited this week following an absence that stretched for a whole training camp yet the duo have returned to work like they never left each other’s company. The embedded video below (credit – Youtube, MPBoxing.com) highlights the types of plyometric exercises that Ariza has Khan doing during the initial phase of his current training camp.
Khan (25-1-0, 17ko) is currently preparing for another high profile contest. The July 23 date had long been earmarked for his summer bout as the British Muslim wanted to have one fight before he observed Ramadan during the month of August. It was only this week, though, that a negotiation with IBF world junior welterweight titlist Zab Judah was finalised, as previously reported by On The Beak here with contract details here.
A high profile name, Judah has won five world titles in two weight divisions and has recorded notable victories over Micky Ward, Junior Witter, DeMarcus Corley, Lucas Matthysse and, most recently, Kaizer Mabuza for the then-vacant IBF trinket. Out of all the opponents Khan has been pitted against, Zab is arguably most similar to Paulie Malignaggi… they are tough New Yorkers, fast, technically-skilled and able to throw combinations, yet Judah has far greater power than the Magic Man.
In order to prepare Khan for Judah, Ariza has already begun a stringent conditioning course that began on Monday. To begin with, Khan has been put through a number of plyometric exercises which enhances the Briton’s explosive power. For a volume-punching boxer-mover like Khan is fast turning into, cardiovascular and strength work are key and a typical week with Ariza may include: circuit training, plyometrics, ballistic training, balance exercises and agility routines.
Ariza focuses on functional muscle building as opposed to aesthetics. Weight-lifting such as bench-pressing is not a necessity… instead, attention is turned to replicating movements and actions that are made within the ring. Swinging a baseball bat into a heavy bag, for instance, is an exercise Ariza instructs all his boxers to do.
When Khan and Ariza parted ways late last year, after the Marcos Maidana fight, Freddie Roach recommended Khan hire Michael Vale as his strength coach. The main difference between Vale and Ariza was that the former enforced a more organic diet with fresh produce while the latter believes that due to the intensity of training, a 7,000 + calorie-a-day diet is essential. Not all of these calories can come from meals, however, and so power/protein shakes supplement food intake.
Khan and Ariza have worked together for six fights; all of them victories. In returning to Ariza, Khan not only gains the benefit of a proven elite-level strength coach (Ariza also conditions Manny Pacquiao and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr), but also gains the aid of Ariza’s unheralded dietitian – Teri Tom and the equally unsung Kinesiology researcher Aundrea Macias, who Alex turns to in order to spitball exercise ideas with.