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We work on shuffling around the gym keeping the base solid and Darren points out when my feet cross over, creating a less steady position and one in which I am much more likely to be knocked over.
He doesn’t demonstrate too graphically but there is enough of a sergeant-major undertone to his voice to keep me focused and working hard on this most basic but most fundamental skill.“After that first year [of retirement], I had done a bit of travelling and had the time of my life, living without that discipline,” Darren tells me afterwards, perched on the side of the ring that sits in the glass-fronted window of the Aldgate gym.“But I had to get going again and I knew I wanted to stay within boxing in some capacity.“I was doing a bit with Sky Sports [as a pundit] that was all well and good but I was looking around and I could see these different gyms opening up and doing boxercise.“I thought to myself that I’d been so fortunate to have been trained by some of the best coaches out there at amateur and pro and I wanted to replicate that to the masses: to all-comers, to anyone who wanted to come down.”I was one of them.
I wander through to what had been the back bar of the club, which is now covered in pictures and posters bearing the Calzaghe name.
There are even a few drawings, done by Enzo himself, caricatures of himself and his son in their pomp.
Roach trained under legendary trainer Eddie Futch and went 26–1 before appearing in a historic match at the Boston Garden on June 11, 1982.
The man himself has been called away to an “Evening With..” event but that does not mean the gym, and its pitch-black central corridor where the lightbulbs either haven’t been replaced or have never existed, is devoid of boxing royalty.
His father and trainer Enzo is there, having just put some of Darren’s most loyal customers through their paces on the same canvas that Joe used to use.
He is the enduring boxing coach of the eight-division world champion Manny Pacquiao, five-time and four-division World Champion Miguel Cotto, former WBC Middleweight Champion Julio César Chávez, Jr., defensive master and three-time world champion James Toney, former UFC Middleweight and three-time Welterweight Champion Georges St-Pierre, as well as top prospects Jose Benavidez, Roach was trained by his father Paul Roach at a young age along with his brothers Joey and Pepper.
As a teenager, he was a dominant force in the New England amateur and AAU ranks.We did some skipping and some footwork drills - which included the question “orthodox or southpaw?