The untrodden path to the pinnacle of boxing

Anyone who’s pulled on a pair of boxing gloves to do a class or workout or just hit a punch bag, can attest to the difficulty, stamina and power it takes to box. It’s not just the physical exhaustion, but the mental stamina required in the ring.

Ashley ‘Treasure’ Theophane has sparred with the world’s greatest boxing champions, from some of the toughest gyms from London to Brooklyn, fought in world famous venues from MGM Grand to Wembley, in front of crowds in their thousands.

The long-term HIGH5 fuelled athlete has carved himself an enviable reputation in one of the world’s toughest sports.

With preparations for his next fight against Ishe ‘Sugar Shay’ Smith, in Las Vegas next week, going well, we asked the former British light welterweight champion, to share his thoughts on training and preparation.

How’s your training been going in preparation and without giving us all of your trade secrets, can you suggest how it’s been structured?

“Training is going well. When preparing for a fight I leave no stone unturned, and this means I normally train two or three times a day incorporating a mixture of long runs for endurance, short sprints for explosiveness, swimming, strength training, boxing, yoga and pilates. In total I train between 20 to 30 hours a week.”

You’re currently fighting in Light-Welterweight, where typical fight-weight ranges from 61.2 – 63.5 kg. What weight do you typically sit at?

“When I start training camp, I typically weigh around 75-78kg and then over the three months of training camp, I’ll bring it down to the weight limit of the fight.”

How do you approach the weight-cutting process? 

“As you can imagine, Las Vegas is hot. Training between 20 to 30 hours a week in this climate combined with eating healthy, the weight falls off. I eat between 2500 – 3000 calories when cutting weight so, I’m never starving. I typically start my day with porridge but my diet consists of plenty of fruit and veg, and protein after my training sessions to aid recovery.  The weight-cutting progress is more mentally hard than physical, but consistently being on a healthy eating regime allows me to reach my goal weight.”

Have you had any bad experiences cutting weight or is there anything you need to be careful of? 

“Now I’m a qualified nutritionist and dietitian so, as a professional boxer I’ve always made weight well and in a non-extreme manner. However, as an amateur I was clueless so, I used to starve myself and have no energy for the fight. It’s a shame there’s no information in the amateur system about cutting weight which leaves the kids at danger of starvation and dehydration.”

Alongside your training, which HIGH5 products are you currently using and what are you favourite flavours?

“In preparation for the fight I tend to use a combination of IsoGel and EnergyGel when I’m running. I particularly enjoy the orange IsoGel, and apple and banana EnergyGel.  Additionally, I am using Isotonic to provide me with carbohydrates as well as ensure I’m hydrated in the Las Vegas heat.”

What’s it like sparring with some of the biggest names in boxing like Floyd Mayweather? How important would you say it’s been to your career?

“Sparring with more experienced fighters is how you improve and allows you to gauge where you are. Floyd Mayweather did the same thing as a kid. He’d spar all the big names. For me sparring these big names made me know I’m good enough for the top level.”

Having fought in the likes of MGM Grand, Aintree, and Wembley to name a few, what’s it like to fight on such a big stage? Have you any favourite venues to compete?

“It gets no bigger than a Floyd Mayweather fight at the MGM Grand; it’s really the pinnacle of top level boxing. However, I really enjoyed Wembley Arena as I won and defended my British title there.  Fighting in Saint Lucia was special for me as my father was born there and having 10,000 people in the crowd, cheering me on is one of the highlights of my career.”

If you could give your younger self or any young and potentially upcoming boxer’s a word of advice, what would it be?

“If I could give my younger self advice it would be, “everything works out for you.” To any younger boxers, it is surround yourself with a positive team that wants the best for you and work super hard. Nothing worthwhile is ever easy.”

Where does your nickname ‘Treasure’ come from? 

“Treasure is my mother’s maiden name and my grandfather’s last name so; it’s a way of using both my mother and father’s names.”

UK fans have really embraced boxing in recent months due to fighters like yourself, Nicola Adams and Anthony Joshua. What’s your opinion on the UK’s current boxing landscape?

“British boxing is on a high; it’s in a healthy space right now and can only get better. Female participation in the sport has increased which is nice to see.  My career shows British boxers that everyone’s path is different. I’ve had more success abroad than at home and serves as a great example that sometimes you have to walk the untrodden path.”

The Mayweather vs McGregor fight has recently been criticised by media suggesting that it’s all for the money and no longer about the sport or fans. What’s your view?

“It is for the money but what’s wrong with that? This is professional boxing, it’s about getting paid and there is no professional fighter in the world that wouldn’t fight a mma fighter for 300 million dollars. It is obviously for the fans, as they are the ones helping the fighters make so much money but all those criticising the fight will still watch it.”

Finally, we couldn’t finish without asking; what’s your favourite boxing movie and why?

“I have to say Rocky. It’s a classic and the soundtrack is so motivating.”