If you’re new to the world of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) and the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), one key thing to know is that Joseph Duffy is a pretty big deal. The Irish lightweight is one of only two fighters to defeat Conor McGregor (another Irish mixed martial artist), and he turned to pro-boxing in 2013 after taking a break from MMA in 2011, holding a 7-0 record until returning to MMA last year. The facts are endless but we managed to steal a few minutes with the man himself and discuss MMA and boxing.
How did you come to start training at Tandy Boxing?
I began training with Tandy boxing in 2012 after I moved to London. I was doing Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) at the time and I was training with John to improve my boxing skills. After a short time working together I was given an opportunity to work with John full time as a pro boxer. John had worked with some of the top fighters in the world and I felt it would be crazy not to seize the opportunity to work with a world class trainer.
Talk us through your training routine…
Our routine was demanding as we always wanted to be in shape just in case fights came up short notice.
Monday I would run for 40 minutes at a steady pace and in the afternoon we would generally do pad-work between 8-10 rounds after an extensive warm up of shadow boxing and skipping.
Tuesday was our conditioning day where we really pushed the cardio and muscle endurance to the max. So we might have done an hour of a bag circuits or a circuit with lots of lifting but Tuesday was as much mental as anything. It taught me not to listen to my body or mind and to just keep going no matter how fatigued I got.
Wednesday’s I would spar anything between 6 and 12 rounds. A lot of the time the rounds we done were 3.5 minutes with a 30 second break so I didn’t slow down at the 3 minute mark and my recovery would be on point in a fight with an extra 30 seconds rest.
Thursday was sprint day. We would go down the track no matter the weather and perform this workout;
400m x 2
200m x 5
100m x 10
50m x 10
It was a very explosive session but I felt it helped especially when it came to the bursts of speed, and the cardio you need to perform that.
In the afternoon we would do live drills. These drills would be attacking and defensive, so it was very technical and it taught me to think about where I threw my shots in the ring, how to get them to where I wanted them and to critique my own technique when throwing combos and both blocking.
Friday I would spar again, anywhere between 6-12 rounds.
Saturday was my fartlek running. I would run fast for a minute and then slowly for a minute – this got me used to changing the tempo in fights, rather than just performing at the one speed that my opponents could read and get used to.
Sunday was 12 rounds of shadow boxing. People underestimate the importance of shadow boxing. Here, I can work on new things and really train to the max to stay concentrated for the full fight.
What makes a good piece of training kit? Is there anything in particular you look for?
For me the best training kit is a pair of good quality gloves with decent protection for the hands. It makes such a difference when you hit pads or the bag knowing you can throw full power and your hands are well protected.
What’s the hardest fight you’ve ever had?
My toughest fight was with Gilson De Jesus, I warmed up 3 times for the fight due to my opponent disappearing from the venue but we had a 4 round war.
If you were to give advice to your younger self, what would it be?
I’d have told myself to take up boxing when I was younger.
What’s been the funniest thing you’ve ever read about yourself?
I did an interview regarding my sparring with Chris Eubank Jr. and they asked my opinion off the record, to which I answered honestly (it wasn’t good) but my answer was published so that was quite funny.
MMA comprises of various techniques and submission moves – which is your favourite?
My favourite has to be body shots. They are so under used in MMA.