The legendary Light Heavyweight champion Antonio Tarver describes his hardcore training regimen:
“It’s very hard, a lot of sacrifices, a lot of commitment,” says Tarver. “It’s just hard work, very hard work. Monday, Wednesday and Friday I get up at 4:45. I meet a trainer at the University of Tampa for my strength and conditioning. After that, I go home, take a nap, eat a light breakfast and lunch. Go to the gym at 2 to 4:30, try to make it home for dinner – my wife (Denise) usually has something really healthy for me to eat. Then at night we shake loose at about ten o’clock in the garage. And then if we need be, we go on like a little three-mile sprint. So that’s Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Then on Tuesdays and Thursdays, I go early in the morning on a nice, long run. And on Saturday we spar. And once we start sparring, we spar every other day. So it’s a lotta, lotta work, man.”
The man who has competed against Roy Jones three times, Bernard Hopkins, Chad Dawson twice, Glen Johnson twice, says the hard work he dedicates in training is the hardest part of being a successful prizefighter. “The toughest part of this sport is the work that you have to do to obtain that type of level of success. I mean, nothing comes easy. it’s hard work. I have people to support me and push me, but if it don’t come from within, you can’t get it. So you gotta want it for yourself, more than anybody else wants it for you. And when you have other teammates, like in football or in basketball, you can take plays off. In boxing you can’t take plays off. And the one thing about boxing is, every other sport you play. You play soccer, you play basketball, baseball. You don’t ever hear anybody say you play boxing. Because it’s a serious sport. You can’t play this game.”
As far as nutritional supplements, Tarver takes “Amino acids and multi-vitamins.”
He trains at Calta’s Health & Fitness in Tampa and at the University of Tampa.
When all is said and done, at the end of the training period, and after the performance has been executed in the ring, Tarver takes a well-deserved rest. “After a fight, I really take like two-three weeks off to do nothing. Just to enjoy my victory, take my wife on vacation and just enjoy the things that I have to push aside – good cooking and all that stuff. So I kinda splurge a little bit, make up for it, travel and do the normal stuff. Play golf. I play a lotta golf.”
Believe it or not, Tarver is also a skilled golfer, good enough to defeat an NBA basketball legend in a recent head to head showdown. “I played with (Michael) Jordan. We played in Bahamas, then we came here in Tampa and we played every day. I won about a grand from Jordan [smiles]. So I ain’t that bad, you know what I mean [laughs].”