Dave Allen spoke to Boxing Social in-depth about his surreal sparring experience with Heavyweight Champion of the World, Oleksandr Usyk.
‘The White Rhino’, who recently became a father, travelled to Ukraine in 2020 to help Usyk prepare for his second fight in the heavyweight division. Despite the chance at sharing a ring with an enigma and future hall-of-famer, Allen’s experience outside of the ropes wasn’t ideal.
“It was like prison, to be honest. It was one of the worst experiences of my life.
I think I turned up at 18 stone 2lbs. Twelve days later when he chinned me in sparring, I was 16 stone 12lbs. So I’d lost 18lbs in twelve days through not eating and pretty much being stuck in a room.”
If the circumstances outside of the gym weren’t great, Allen is in no doubt that he was witnessing something special during training.
“We did 2 minute rounds, and then the next time it was 3 minute rounds. He’d jump out the ring after sparring, he’d be hitting the bag and doing mathematical equations.
Next thing you know he’s juggling. You’re in awe of him really.
He’s stood there in his green underpants doing all this. He gives me Tyson Fury vibes, you know.”
However unorthodox the training sounds, it worked. The Ukrainian went on to beat Derek Chisora via unanimous decision in a fight that showed he could handle heavyweight pressure with unwavering stamina.
As for Allen, whose future just now looks set to be more trainer than fighter, he famously announced his retirement after becoming concussed in one of those sparring sessions.
It seems that the intensity of Usyk’s training hasn’t changed. Yesterday we reported some of the strange and gruelling methods in which he was getting his body ready for his rematch with Anthony Joshua, coming this Saturday live on Sky Sports Box Office.
Will Allen, also known as ‘The Doncaster De La Hoya’, use some of Usyk’s techniques in his own gym? It’s unlikely.
“I don’t think that if I took my lads [that I train] to the gym and started asking them what 8 x 8 was – you know it might take them three minutes to work it out and then the round’s over.”