Lynden Hosking on Whitehead comeback: “It’s always in his system”

THE last time former Australian heavyweight champion Justin Whitehead laced up a pair of gloves, Kevin Rudd was still Australia’s prime minister.

Whitehead (5-0, 2 KOs) will make his return to the paid ranks on Friday night when he faces durable Kiwi journeyman Clarence Tillman (11-22-2, 6 KOs) at L’amour Reception in St Albans.

Aus-Boxing caught up with Whitehead’s trainer/manager and former Olympian Lynden Hosking to talk about Whitehead’s preparation for his unlikely comeback.

“The last time Justin fought was back in 2010, that’s when he beat Colin Wilson for the Australian title,” said Hosking in an interview with Aus-Boxing.

“He’s been back in training for the past six months now. He’s regenerated himself and is training pretty well,”

“Justin has his weight down and is really looking forward to Friday night,”

“He is looking good, he is feeling good and he’ll be raring to go.”

Whitehead, 44, has had a short albeit accomplished career as a professional. The Bendigo-based Whitehead scored credible wins over Colin Wilson, while also becoming the first man to defeat Solomon Haumono.

Hosking, who works with several notable fighters – including glamour female duo Susie Ramadan and Shannon O’Connell – hopes that a win over Tillman will be the catalyst for a career resurgence for his maturing charge.

“Justin has lost about five kilos,” explained Hosking. “For someone at his age at 43, he needs to train a bit differently than the younger guys,”

“Being a heavyweight is easier than the lighter guys. He had to change the way he has trained in the past.”

“For this fight, he hasn’t done a lot of roadwork; he has done a lot of cycling. He hasn’t had to do as much hard sparring anymore,”

“It’s been more about light sparring lesser rounds. We have had more emphasis on range and timing. He has been sparring with Joe Lloyd, which has been good, as they have helped each other out,”

“I think he is really focused to get past this first fight back,” added Hosking. “After five years out there will no doubt be a bit of ring rust there. The aim is really to just get him through this fight against Clarence Tillman,”

Although few are expecting Tillman to upset the more credentialed Whitehead, Hosking understands the role that this fight will play for the development of his fighters comeback.

“Clarence is a big guy, he is a journeyman and he is tough. But we are hoping to get him through this. We will then revaluate and get him ready for another fight in November, being my show and looking to step up from there.”

Boxers by their own nature are a rare breed. More often than not, those that choose to retire are tempted back to the sport.

And while their reasons may vary, Hosking admits that a return to the ring for Whitehead was inevitable.

“Fighters will understand that it never leaves the blood stream,” continued Hosking. “He has had a long-time to think about it during his retirement. He thought he had a few chapters that hadn’t been closed,”

“Before it was too late he just wanted to one last crack at it.”

“It’s always in the system. I know a few people think it’s not ideal for him to come back,”

“But he’s his own man; he wants to do it and doesn’t want to leave the tank empty I suppose. He felt like he was running out of time and felt like he needed to do it now.”

“I think you will see him with a really good jab,” said Hosking in closing. “He has been working on that a bit. You will see a guy in really good nick and I have no doubt he will get the job done, no problems.”

Photo: Bendigo Advertiser



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