Ace Adam, 25 from Catford, has experienced it all. He was an ABA Nationals quarter-finalist experiencing 18 amateur bouts in total, before he decided to enter the Queensbury Boxing League, which is an extremely well run organisation by former English champion Ross Minter, and is now readying to turn professional.
‘Lightning’ Ace, now signed to manager Scott Welch, is about to turn over along with his long-term trainer Eyez at Sting ABC in Croydon, who guided Ace to winning the London Novices Under-10s at light-heavyweight in 2014.
The super-middleweight debutant talked exclusively to BBN about the three different boxing platforms he has practiced so far in his punching career.
What’s the main difference between training for a fight in the amateurs, the Queensbury Boxing League and for your professional debut?
“Training for amateur is more systematic because everyone goes through the same basic principles, such as skipping, shadow boxing, hitting the bags, and just altogether technical work. You might have different coaches padding you and taking you round but everyone’s all doing the same thing.
As I transitioned over to the Queensbury Boxing League, it became more intuitive and individualised. It was more about me, I had to mobilise my body a bit more, I had to learn how to prep for sessions with dynamic stretching, it was basically training more like a pro, to be honest.
My trainer Eyez, spent more one on one time with me, everything became more technical and practised correctly to be near enough to perfect as you could get.
Turning over to pro game just took it to another level. Sessions are harder, longer, and more intense. I’m understanding more about my body, and nutrition is one of the major things, it’s so important.
As an amateur, you take nutrition seriously, but not that much. You follow the rules and eat healthy, but it’s not an exact science and you’re never that strict with it, but now I pay more attention to it and really focus on what I am eating. In my mind I see myself as a car and having to put the right fuel in and to never eat anything bad.
You analyse everything as a pro and try to learn about everything, it never stops. Even looking at relaxing and rest techniques, like I’ve been looking into the hot cupping sessions to relieve tension in the muscles. My trainer Eyez always talks about the importance of rest in between sessions. Instead of going to clubs with my friends and partying, I’m having a hot bath and relaxing!
Taking time off is just as important as training. Bernard Hopkins set the blueprint for how to live the life, and Anthony Joshua as well, he’s always conditioned and doesn’t live that party lifestyle. Andre Ward inspires me also, he was never too far off his fighting weight during his career. Ricky Hatton used to blow up to crazy weights then lose it all in training for the next big fights, but you can’t really abuse your body like that in the pro game.”
If you could summarise the styles of the amateurs, unlicensed, and professional, how would best you describe them?
“Everyone has got a different style, but I see amateurs as three two-minute rounds, so you don’t have much time, so you’ve got to move fast and be literally on them from the off.
In the pros, you get longer so can take your time and make every punch count. You want to reserve energy and not swipe the air like you can get away with in the amateurs to score points.
There’s lots of unlicensed boxing, but the Queensbury Boxing League is a whole other platform. It’s a stepping stone to the pros. I couldn’t get on Team GB, so I went to the League to get that vital experience before turning pro.
The fundamental difference is the belts and recognition, everything else is the same, such as the weigh in, the cameras, the big venues, the big crowds. In terms of fighting there’s not a lot of difference other than the calibre and level of skill. I had harder fights in the amateurs because the quality of opponents was higher, especially when I was reaching ABA finals.
Ross Minter has done exceptionally well with the League, they have really nice venues – Epsom Downs; Effingham Park; The Troxy – they pump lots of money into it to promote it and they’re really well run.
I really appreciated the platform and the experience it gave me. So many people have come up to me since to say they’ve seen me box in the League or watched my fights online.
Anthony Yarde even fought at Queensbury and now he’s ready to fight Kovalev for a world title!”
Does training as a professional motivate you more and, if so, why is that?
“In the Queensbury, all I wanted to do was to win that belt – that was my motivation. I was giving my everything to training and all my supporters, friends, family coming out to watch motivated me to train harder, but I just wanted to be the Queensbury national champion.
When I moved to the pro ranks, my mindset will be the same. I want the Southern Area title, that will give me the motivation to train hard and to look after my body.”
Does your coach expect more of you now and what difference have you noticed in him?
“He’s always a serious man about everything I do – in and out of training. He’s the same person, but just upping everything. Whether it’s training or resting, he’s always been on to me, but even more so now. It’s on another level to get best out of me, so when training camp officially starts, he’s gonna’ really get on to me then!
Everything is planned out, from your diet to the gym sessions to sleeping. It’s more planned out and carefully thought over, I’m checking my weight every day, having fuel into my system every few hours, I’m constantly learning so many things. I learn from others, I was with Joshua Buatsi in the gym and he’s got a different cycle to me because he’s full-time as a pro, but it’s nice to be around people like that and ask questions and learn from them.
I’m just very happy to be boxing in the era with social media so everyone can see what I’m doing and can build a fanbase. As long as you know you’ve giving it 100% in everything you do, you know you’ve done everything you can.”
Many debutants talk about the nervous energy that you can needlessly waste ahead of a pro debut, have you prepared for this scenario?
“It affects everyone, that’s what I love about Queensbury because on that platform there’s all the lights and it gives you a sense of what the pro game is like. I’m more able to control my emotion because I’ve been through all of that, I’ve headlined shows in front of cameras, been the champion and experienced all these different pressures I’ve been under and I’ve handled it.
I was so nervous in the beginning stages but as time went by I was able to adapt. You get butterflies in your stomach, your heart starts racing, but I learnt to control it and calm myself and just get in there and perform.
If you don’t train right, then you get found out. When I went in Queensbury, I trained so hard for fights, I knew that whatever they bring, I’m ready.
I’ve already got my mindset made up; I want to be in the game for 10 years and do everything right and go from Southern Area champion to British champion to more.”
How do you plan to celebrate after your debut?
“Have something to eat and go straight home. I’ll have a little treat to eat and then straight in the hot tub. Bernard Hopkins always said you’ve got to have that discipline, when you win one fight you got to think about the next fight.
I’ll rest my body for three days then be back in training for the next one.”
Ace has already appeared in front of the British Boxing Board of Control to formerly apply for a boxing license and is just waiting on a date to complete a mandatory gym session before he can make his pro bow in June or July this year.
Read all about the scare that led Ace to take up boxing, aged 17: http://britishboxingnews.co.uk/blogs/mugging-victim-ace-adam-learnt-to-box-to-defend-himself-and-is-now-turning-pro