AHEAD of the highly anticipated homecoming for his undefeated protege, Luke Jackson’s head trainer Billy Hussein is confident his fighter is primed to perform.
Hussein is a meticulous planner and for that reason amongst many others, he is seen as arguably the most credible trainer in the local industry.
Speaking from their Hobart base, Hussein spoke exclusively with Aus-Boxing about the latest training camp for the reigning Australian featherweight champion.
“The preparation has been a bit different,” said Hussein in an exclusive interview with Aus-Boxing. “I’m really impressed with this training camp we’ve had,”
“Everything has gone smooth.”
“Every training camp I’ve gotten to know him better. I’ve gotten to understand him as a person, his style, what he likes and what he doesn’t like.”
“For me as a trainer, I tend to want to learn more about the fighter. It’s a duty of care I’ve got,”
“Their lives are in my hands a lot of the times, so I want to know everything about them.”
“I need to know how they sleep, how they wake up, what they are like in the dressing room, before a fight and after a fight,”
Hussein’s attention to detail has paid dividends thus far, with Jackson looking relatively unchallenged in his short eight fight campaign in the paid ranks.
With Hussein by his side, Jackson is yet to lose a professional fight and in his previous outing the former Olympic captain captured the coveted national strap.
Their latest challenge sees Jackson pitted against the seasoned campaigner and former world title challenger, Nouldy Manakane, a fighter who has fought at the highest level.
Despite the storied resume of Manakane (29-17-2, 18 KOs), Hussein speaks with confidence when discussing Jackson’s most recent training camp and his maturity as a fighter.
“I’m seeing a different Luke Jackson,” Hussein continued. “He is different mentally, physically and even his attitude in every training camp,”
Given that Jackson lives in Hobart and Hussein in Sydney, the fighter-trainer relationship shared by the pair is unique.
With that said, Hussein has faith in the training regime that they have set over the past five weeks.
“I have a lot of faith when he is back home in Tasmania before he gets to Sydney with me. I only wanted him for five weeks because I knew he’d put the work in before he gets to me,”
“For bigger fights I’ll get him to come up for eight weeks – but for eight rounders – I’m happy to have him for five to six weeks at a time,”
“It’s been a different preparation to what we had for the Australian title,” Hussein quipped. “It’s been a bit smoother,”
“He didn’t have to make featherweight, so I’ve eased up and done more technical stuff and slowed things down,”
When pressed on what makes his team so successful, Hussein was quick to praise the work of Jackson’s manager Mike Altamura, a confidant that Hussein shares a close bond with.
“I have a great relationship with Mike Altamura,” said Hussein. “We manage and train guys together. I’ve been doing things with Mike from day one,”
“Our plan for Luke was to fight against the former world title challenger here and see how he handles himself at that level,”
“I expect him to dominate the fight; I don’t care about the knockout. The win here is much more important.”
“I want to see how he handles himself in front of his home crowd,” said Hussein in closing. “I know he can handle the pressure,”
“It’s new territory for him fighting in front of his home crowd. I just want to see how he goes with a real seasoned veteran.”
Although Hussein is not one to give bold predictions, he is of the impression that the looming fight with Nouldy Manakane will give him a better understanding of where Jackson is headed.
“This is a guy who fought Koki Kameda for the WBA world title. I hope he passes with flying colours,”
“We will definitely know a lot more about Luke Jackson after this fight.”
Luke Jackson vs. Nouldy Manakane will be televised live and free of charge via Live Boxing (excluding Tasmania)
Photo: Jimmy Emms Photography