My First Time Sparring A Pro Boxer | FightCamp’s Coach PJ

My First Time Sparring A Pro Boxer | FightCamp’s Coach PJ

Hear what it was like for FightCamp Trainer Coach PJ to spar with a professional boxer for the first time. What lessons can you take away from his experience?

Published: December 29, 2022

Topics: Trainer Spotlight, Training

Author: PJ Shirdan

FightCamp Trainer Coach PJ shares his experience about the first time he ever sparred a professional boxer.

As Coach PJ likes to put it, way back when he was a 4-0 amateur boxer at West Virginia University, he was given the opportunity of going toe to toe with someone who just so happened to box for a living. Needless to say, it was a humbling experience.

The Young Up and Comer

When Coach PJ first started his boxing career, he quickly found out that he was pretty decent. While at college he started off undefeated, winning almost all of his first four fights via knockouts. Like most in his shoes, he definitely had the inner confidence, almost cockiness, as he likes to put it, that most experience in their career when starting off on a winning streak, let alone only in his first year boxing.

FightCamp Trainer Coach PJ

During a weekend trip back home Coach PJ met up with a close friend, Bryant Jennings, (who just so happens to have fought legendary heavyweights such as Wladimir Klitschko), during one of his training sessions.

The Rec

ABC Gym, or The Rec as some call it, in Philadelphia was one of Coach PJ’s favorite gym experiences ever. The doors were up, the heat was on, and everyone was putting in hard work. Jennings was kind enough to let a kid, just starting off on his boxing journey, get in the ring and move around a little bit with him.

Shortly after they had stepped out of the ring, a new fighter entered the gym looking to do a little bit of sparring. PJ thought to himself, ‘I like sparring, I’m good at this.’ Little did he know that the man he was about to spar with was no other than, Gabriel Rosado, a former title contender with fights against the likes of Gennady Golovkin (GGG).

Round One - Spar!

During their first round of sparring, PJ noticed that they were both just moving around a bit, as PJ was throwing a couple of jabs here and there, while his opponent was not really throwing anything back at him. His opponent was taking his time, mostly making PJ miss pretty easily. Slightly frustrated, PJ threw more jabs, and eventually tried to move inside, but it did not go well.

Professional Boxer Gabriel Rosado

Image Credit: @kinggabrosado

After all this movement, as soon as Coach PJ closed the distance, Gabe decided to unload with a quick jab, landing home right on PJ’s nose. This was the first time PJ had ever been struck by a professional fighter. Unbeknownst to PJ, Gabriel was actually taking it easy on him, as Gabriel was mostly working on his defensive movements. It was after that session, that PJ learned there are different levels to this sport.

Levels & Abilities

As Coach PJ learned, there are different levels of boxers' abilities. Amateurs aren't the same as pros, pros are not the same as contenders, and contenders aren’t champions. This experience was an awakening for PJ - he was good but not as good as he could be. He had a lot to learn and a lot to grow. But that in and of itself is the great thing about boxing. It is a discipline that you can never stop learning. That is the beauty of it and why today it is known as the sweet science.

Starting With The Basics

FightCamp Trainer Coach PJ

With so many different areas of focus in boxing, from footwork to conditioning, to balance and timing, to rhythm and defense, it can be a bit much to really understand where to start. With the FightCamp app, there are different modes you can train in to help you along your journey. Learning the basics to more advanced moves, from stikes to slipping a punch are valuable tools to help you become a well-rounded boxer and not just a puncher.

Train Like a Fighter

Take your workouts to the next level and train like a fighter with the at-home connected fitness solution used by world champion boxers Mike Tyson and Floyd Mayweather. FightCamp has everything you need to work out on your schedule, with premium boxing equipment and hundreds of on-demand strength, conditioning, kickboxing, boxing, core, and recovery classes led by real fighters. As Mike Tyson said - “FightCamp is the next level of training!”

PJ Shirdan

PJ Shirdan is a FightCamp Founding Coach from the Philadelphia area. He found boxing as a way to heal and rebuild his life as he became a competitive fighter. PJ is a NASM, TRX, and USA Boxing Coach certified.

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