Ben Edwards: Glory 16

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Ben faces off against Errol Zimmerman on Saturday, May 3 at Glory 16 in Denver, USA. His last showing was an impressive third round knockout against Belgian juggernaut, Jamal Ben Saddik. He gives us the lowdown on the lead-up to Glory 16.

How’s your preparation?

The last three months, it’s been like Groundhog Day. Everything is good; everything is on track.

Errol Zimmerman is a pretty serious customer.

Zimmerman asked for me; I know that for a fact. He asked after I fought Jamal [Ben Saddik]. That’s fine; I would have asked for him. I’d rather fight the favorite first, when I’m fresh. I think it’s a good fight.

I would have thought Jamal was tougher.

I think Errol’s the much harder fighter. I fight better against guys who are much taller, because I prefer the ‘in-close’ fight. On paper, Errol is the tougher fight because we are similar in height. His hands are similar to mine, but a bit faster. He’s the closest guy in the league to me in size and style. I think he’s slightly taller.

Tovarovic-vs-ZimmermanWhat’s the plan?

The way I look at Errol, he’s naturally talented, so he doesn’t tend to work that hard in the gym, so he gases early. The only thing I’ve done differently this time around is having a full-time strength and conditioning trainer. Everyone says it before a fight, but this really is the fittest and strongest I’ve ever been.

What about the other two?

Well, Sergei [Kharitonov] is a tough old war-horse. [Anderson] Silva is more the purer kickboxer-type. I’m not thinking too much about it. If I don’t get past Errol, there’s nothing to think about.

Who’s doing your corner?

Stu McKinnon from Bulldog Gym will be doing my corner. My manager, Nick Boutzos, and my trainer, Jamie McCuaig, with be there, also.

Who was your last fight?

November 24 of last year, I fought Jamal Ben Saddik. For the first 30 seconds or so, I was nervous. I threw a silly punch and went arse-over. When I looked up, I saw Floyd Mayweather. He had a look on his face that suggested he wasn’t impressed. Looking back [afterwards], I was pretty happy. I stuck to the game plan. The two things I took out of it were that I threw too many single shots, and not enough [shots] to the body. Once I started hitting his body toward the end of that third round, he started sticking his chin up.

I think he was setting aesthetic goals in the gym, not performance goals, and he lost too much weight coming into the fight. 25kg is a lot of weight between fights. We both weighed in at 117kgs and he’s a lot taller than me. I think the plan was to keep me away with long kicks and his jab and just move around. He’s a big guy; that’s going to wear you down over three rounds.

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Tell us about your strength and conditioning coach.

Billy Giampolo. He actually owns the gym where we train out of. He’s been wanting to help me for years, but I’ve been a bit hesitant because what we’ve been doing has been working. I’ve been doing a lot of squatting and dead-lifting, to strengthen my posterior chain. I’ve been training with him for the past three months and I can actually say it’s been life-changing. I’m really happy I did it.

Billy is both positive and realistic. He’s also an endomorph, and he’s shown me how to eat for my body type. I’m eating the right thing at the right time, rather than restricting calories.

I’m going into this fight at 123kg and fit and looking better than I did at 115.

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Who have you been sparring?

Lucas Browne and Steve McKinnon at Bulldog Gym in Castle Hill, Sydney. Next week, I’m flying Paul Slowinski down from Adelaide to Canberra for three days of sparring.

Edwards, you’re a beast. We wish you well.

Cheers, mate.

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