AFTER winning the Golden Belt tournament in Romania, Commonwealth Games gold medallist Antony Fowler will only have a brief break before returning to full training. The next season of the World Series of Boxing begins in January and with the UK team, the British Lionhearts included once again, Fowler and GB’s top boxers will have to condition themselves to prepare for five three-minute rounds in this pro-style format.

“From next Monday I’m back training over Christmas. It’ll be hard sacrificing my Christmas but it’ll be worth it when I box in the WSB,” Antony told Boxing News. “With the five rounds that’ll suit me more because I can take my time and I come on strong towards the end of fights.

“We’ll be doing longer runs, a little bit less sprints, more stamina. It won’t be a massive difference, it’s only two rounds more but there will be a few little changes in my training.

“It’ll be very, very hard. We’ll be doing longer rounds, maybe not at as an intense pace but more stamina, working longer rounds and sparring longer rounds. It is going to be hard. It’s going to be hard on the body.

“In the three-round fights, the pace is relentless. It’s a non-stop pace. In a five rounder, the first round I’ve got to look at them a bit more. I’ve got to pace myself. I’ve got to work behind my jab, not engage every single time I have to. I normally try and counter every single shot. Sometimes maybe have a step back and have a little breather.”

The WSB is now a key route to reaching the next Olympic Games. Boxers can qualify through their individual WSB ranking and they will also be eligible for another qualification tournament later on. “It was a great bonus. We’ve got home advantage now,” Fowler said of the British Lionhearts. “The lads who don’t qualify can enter that tournament and hopefully get a few more qualification spots.”

Elite boxers will be showcased, with the Russians and Cubans also in the British team’s group.

“I’m confident about beating anyone in the world. I’m ranked fourth in the world. I’m confident I’ll beat anyone,” Antony said.

“I actually am genuinely excited about WSB. I wanted to go pro for ages but I’ve always stayed amateur for the Olympics. But this is like a chance for me to get a little bit of pro experience and a bit more glory, no headguards, no vest, professional style.”

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