USING HIS NOODLE
Brisbane’s Jeff Horn is once again revelling in his underdog status as he prepares for his big Vegas fight
WORLD champion Jeff Horn is following a carefully constructed scientific diet plan and says he will use his “noodle’’ to chew up unbeaten American Terence Crawford in the biggest fight of his life at Madison Square Garden in New York on April 14.
Horn, who turned 30 last week, is the lightest he’s been for years for the start of a fight preparation and to make sure there are no hiccups for the multimillion-dollar American invasion, Brisbane dietitian Sav Manolis is supervising his preparation. He will also travel with the fighter to New York nine days before the world title bout.
Manolis will prepare every meal, drink and supplement for the World Boxing Organisation welterweight champion, who is revelling in the fact he is a huge underdog against the fast-moving challenger.
Crawford has already dominated the lightweight and junior-welterweight divisions in world boxing and fight promoter Bob Arum has declared that the former street tough will likely take Horn’s title and dominate the welterweight division as well.
While Manolis has prepared a carefully calculated mix of protein, carbohydrates and good fats for “The Fighting Schoolteacher’’, Horn’s strength and conditioning coach Dundee Kim says a diet of noodles will be the key to victory.
The “noodles’’ are foam flotation devices shaped like batons which are usually used for swim training but which boxing coaches also use to sharpen a fighter’s reflexes.
Rather than hold punching pads for Horn to practise his combinations, Kim has upped the tempo with the fast-paced noodle routines designed to help Horn shock Crawford with his hand speed.
“The noodles are great for quick reflexes and fast combinations and that’s what I need for Crawford,’’ Horn said after starting his strength and conditioning program with Kim at Yeronga as a supplement to his regular boxing training with coach Glenn Rushton.
“I still haven’t watched a lot of Crawford. I’ve seen some of his highlight packages but I’m certainly not overawed.
“I’m glad the bookies have made Crawford a huge favourite because it only makes me hungrier to prove them wrong. The noodles are used to mimic an opponent’s punches and they are coming at you all the time.’’
Horn says he is certainly not hungry on his diet plan.
“I’m 73-and-a-bit kilos now, which is the lightest I’ve been for a long time at this stage of a fight preparation,” he said.
“For my last couple of fights – against Manny Pacquiao and Gary Corcoran – I had to lose more than 4kg on the day before each fight.
“But we are going to monitor the weight loss a lot more closely this time and I hope to only have to take off 2kg the day before the bout.’’
The welterweight limit for the Crawford fight is 66.68kg.
Dundee Kim has devised an intricate program for facing Crawford that uses explosive weight training, foam noodles and the practice of devastating body shots against an assistant trainer sparring with Horn and using a body protector like a bulletproof vest.
Kim has Horn constantly switching from orthodox to southpaw stances akin to the way Crawford constantly changes his angle of attack.
“Speed is the key for this fight,’’ said Kim, who is credited with putting the punching muscle on Horn over the last couple of years and radically altering the boxer’s body shape.
“Jeff has to overpower Crawford but he has to be fast to dodge the counterpunches.
“He can’t afford to rush in against Crawford because the American is so quick. Jeff can beat him to the punch and Jeff has a lot more power behind his shots.’’
Kim expects he will shed as much as 10kg from his own 94kg frame putting Horn