The following interview takes a close look at one of New Zealand's talented, young Professional fighters in the Boxing arena ‘Robert "The Butcher" Berridge' who recently fought on the undercard for the Tua vs Friday fight.
Robert currently trains himself out of his gym Robust Fitness (10, unit 21 Airbourne Rd, Albany) and is one of the New Zealand fighters to look out for in 2010.
Here's how it went:
NZF: Hi mate, tell us a bit about yourself.
RB: My name is Robert Berridge, alias ‘The Butcher'. I'm a professional
boxer/personal trainer. I run a gym up in Albany with a mate called Shane. I just enjoy getting people fit and getting in the ring and fighting.
NZF: Tell us a bit about your fighting background, where did it all start?
RB: It started over in New Lynn, down at Rebel Lee Gar with John Conway. I trained there for a few months doing Muay Thai. Then went to boxing with Peter Derrick over at North Side just because it was closer; just over the shore. I trained hard and got into amateur fights.
NZF: What's your record now days?
RB: Amateur, I think I've had about 27 fights. About a 50/50 wins to losses. I think my style of fighting doesn't suit amateur, so then I went to Pro Boxing and now I'm 4/0 with 3 KOs.
NZF: When did you go Pro?
RB: I went Pro, with my first fight in 2009. I fought at ABA. I had a first round TKO, and went from there.
NZF: When was your first Boxing fight and what was it like getting into the ring for the first time?
RB: It was back in 2005, it was out at the Mangare East Rugby club against one of the Kia Kaha guys. It was pretty out-of-it for my first fight, but I got a win out of it. I was really nervous; I guess you need the nerves though. Walking out there, seeing all those people was like ‘wow' this is going to be pretty cool.
NZF: How did you feel after the fight?
RB: After the fight I was so relieved that all the training had paid off. Just to have all my mates there was a really good feeling.
NZF: What you do for a job and how do you keep balance between work and being a fighter?
RB: My main source of income is personal training and running my fitness classes out of my gym (Robust Fitness). I've picked up a sponsor who helps out a little bit (Precision Components). The classes are filling up and I'm getting a lot of people through here, and the boxing is another side earner that I intend to make a full time thing one day. We have up to two classes here a day and I also do my one-on-ones.
It's good as my days start in the afternoon when I take my classes. I'll train in the evening after classes finish at 7. Then Vasco (Kovacevic) comes up and does some pad work and stuff like that. I also do a training session in the morning, usually around 9.30 or 10.00. My mate Chris (Ivill) also comes in and we do kettlebells and sledgehammer work.
NZF: What's your pre-fight training consist of?
RB: A basic day would be just waking up and having a good feed. Training: mornings always conditioning, like Abs work. Then I rest up during the day, do my work then have my fitness/pads with Vas. I work out twice a day and if I need to I go and have a sauna in the afternoon, but I haven't had to do that for a while as I'm not super middleweight anymore.
NZF: Do you do any weight at all?
RB: Yeh, I do weights twice a week. I'm doing a 5-3-1 programme that Chris has shown me. We just work on that and use the Kettlebells after a weight training as well just to finish off. The weight sessions usually go for about an hour and a half, and the fitness in the evening will go for about the same time, six days a week.
NZF: What's your strategy for fighting a southpaw?
RB: I came up against a Southpaw in my third Pro fight. I came in with straight lefts, following it up with a right, lead hook. I had to keep away from him as he was a big swinging guy, so I was just jabbing and moving. I won on points that night and went six rounds.
NZF: How do you prepare mentally for a fight?
RB: I just focus on that fight and think about that fighter. If someone asks who I am fighting next I just don't worry about it and keep the fight at hand on my mind and just worry about that. If I can I find out about the fighter and have watched a video, but you don't know if it's going to be the same: if they are going to be faster or fitter.
NZF: From the moment you get to the changing rooms to the moment the fight starts, in that window of time do you have a particular routine you follow?
RB: I just chill-out. I joke around and get my hands wrapped. I take it serious, but I also joke around a lot. It helps keep the nerves at bay. I do a bit of shadowboxing, make sure I chill out with my mates Vasco and Shaneo. I don't do pad work but do a few minutes of shadowboxing. I don't like doing pads, it just exerts me. I don't like going out with a sweat on.
NZF: When is your next fight and who is it against?
RB: My next fight is on the 21 May, this coming Friday against Monty Fauea. It should be an interesting fight since he came down to light heavyweight. I am looking forward to it as per usual.
NZF: Do you think Boxing changed your life?
RB: It's definitely helped. I wouldn't be off the rails but at least it's put that little bit of anger into something else. It has focussed me on something and has given me some discipline.
NZF: What's your advice to the youth who want to get into the ring or want to start training.
RB: Fitness and/or Boxing takes hard work. You need to put the hard work in and then you can't go wrong. It's that old saying "the more you sweat the less you bleed."
NZF: What are your plans for the future?
RB: I definitely want to get the New Zealand title. The key now is to get to 12/0, that's my goal now. I heard that if you get to 12/0 you can get in to the top 15 in the world. That's the goal at the moment. I will keep fighting. I enjoy it too much.
NZF: Anything else you'd like to add?
RB: I'd like to say thanks to Vasco for one, coming up every night and helping me train. To Shaneo, and to my sponsors Precision Components and LA Muscle who have helped out a lot. I always say thanks to my mum and her partner for supporting me even though she hates me fighting. I hope Boxing keeps growing as it is doing.
NZF: That's great, we will see you at your next fight.