Dunne leaving no stone unturned for WBA title bid
Bernard Dunne has established a world class training camp in Belfast ahead of the biggest night of his boxing life. Dunne challenges for Ricardo Cordoba’s WBA Super Bantamweight title on the Hunky Dorys World Title Fight Night at The O2, Dublin on Saturday, March 21st in what promises to be a huge night for Irish sport. From nutritionists, to specialist strength and conditioning coaches to world class sparring partners Dunne is determined to leave no stone unturned as he goes in pursuit of the ultimate prize.
The Dubliner’s began his sparring with former European featherweight champ Alberto Servidei, an Italian who is undefeated in 28 pro fights before moving on to former World title challenger and KO specialist William Gonzalez of Nicaragua. Dunne’s trainer Harry Hawkins has been more than happy with his charge’s preparations to date. “Bernard’s been red hot in sparring. Servidei is a very good technical fighter and he was able to mimic Cordoba to a tee. Gonzalez is in at the moment and as well as being very similar in style to Cordoba he has that extra insight because he’s actually fought him so he’s been very helpful on that front.”
While long term trainer Hawkins has been overseeing Dunne’s preparations the former European Champion has made a number of other additions to his training team. Having studied anatomy during a sports scholarship at Trinity College prior to turning pro Dunne has always had a keen interest in the science of sports specific training. He’s taken that one step further for this fight by bringing nutritionists Blue Shinners and Jason Kenny on board to oversee his dietary requirements, “I’ve been working with Blue and Jason on the nutritional side of things and I’ve found them a great help. Because the training sessions I’m doing are so intense it’s vital that I’m getting the right fuel back in my body so they have been invaluable. They will also have a big impact on the time between the weigh in and when I step in to the ring as it’s very important to re-hydrate in the correct way.”
The nutritionist’s expertise has complimented Dunne’s work with strength and conditioning specialist Mike McGurn who has vast experience working with professional athletes including a stint as the Irish rugby team’s strength and conditioning coach. “Mike has had a bigger influence then ever before for this fight. I’ve been doing a lot of weights sessions with him but it’s not about bulking up and packing on muscle because at the end of the day I still have to make the 8 stone 10 pound super bantamweight limit.
“What Mike is about is giving me the right type of weight training to increase my power and strength but also adding explosiveness and actually increasing my speed. Mike’s been pushing me hard and I can really find a difference in my boxing at the moment.”
Another component of the Dunne backroom team is Alec Doherty, a Belfast man who has trained a number of mixed martial arts fighters. “Alec has brought some fresh, new ideas. His motto is that if you train like everybody else, you’ll be like everybody else so he’s freshened things up and the work is pretty intense. His sessions are really focused on building a strong core so there’s a lot of abdominal work and he certainly has some innovative and punishing ways of doing it!
“Although we’ve added a lot of components to the team ultimately they are there to compliment my boxing training and not to take away from it. This is my fifth week in camp in Belfast and there are another three to go and even before I got up here I’d been working very hard at home in Dublin. The sessions are draining and intense but there hasn’t been a day yet when I haven’t looked forward to going to the gym so I’m really enjoying it. This is the fight my whole career has been building to so there’s definitely an extra edge to me for this one.”
Dunne’s bid for the WBA Super Bantamweight title headlines a historic night for Irish sport at The O2 that combines the professional and amateur codes. Olympic medallists Kenny Egan and Paddy Barnes are also in action alongside World and European champ Katie Taylor and reigning World Junior champ, Ray Moylette, the professional side of the bill features unbeaten Cavan star, Andy Murray in a clash with Italy’s Massimiliano Chiofalo for the European Union Lightweight Title while Jim “The Pink Panther” Rock also faces Italian opposition as he takes on Alessio Furlan, unbeaten Dundalk prospect Michael Kelly also features with one further amateur and professional fight to be confirmed on the 10 bout event.