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Defending the Title

mediadayOn May 27, 2017, Errol Spence, Jr., with the help of his trainer, Cooper Fitness Center Boxing Pro Derrick James,  defeated Kell Brook and took home the International Boxing Federation (IBF) Welterweight World Championship title.

Now, the duo is facing another challenge as Errol looks to defend his title against former two-division world champion Lamont Peterson on January 20. Derrick sat down to discuss what his training routine with Errol has been like since May and how they’re preparing for the upcoming fight.

Q: A lot has happened since Errol’s victory back in May. Fill us in.

A: After the fight, so many celebrities reached out to Errol on social media to congratulate him─Mark Cuban, Jerry Jones of the Dallas Cowboys and LL Cool J to name a few. It was a cool moment for him. Now, he’s back here fighting in America, so we’re expecting a lot of those celebrities to be present at the fight this month.

Errol and I have been preparing for the upcoming fight by really focusing on a lot of conditioning. We’ve also been monitoring his weight so by fight time, he doesn’t have to drop any weight.

Q: Tell us more about the fight against Peterson. 

A: Peterson is a two-time world champion in two different weight divisions. He’s very tough and he’s going to come ready to fight. So, we need to be prepared and be ready. The fight takes place at the Barclays Center in New York City and will be broadcast on SHOWTIME. This is a really important fight for Errol because he’ll be defending his world title.

Q: Are you doing anything different to prepare for this fight?

A: Peterson moves around a bit more than Brook, who Errol defeated back in May. So, I’m having Errol move around a bit more while training to emulate what Peterson might do. He’s a smarter fighter, too, so we’re working to build Errol’s mental game by improving his reaction time. We’ve also been watching a lot of film on Peterson, so we can visualize his punches and movement patterns.

Q: How do you prepare mentally for a fight like this?

A: I try to think of all possibilities Errol might face in a fight and we practice that over and over again. We come up with a strategy so when his opponent does one move, we react with another to counteract that.

Q: What does your training routine look like?

A: Since the fight in May, Errol and I have been training six days a week, about 14 hours a week. We do a combination of strength and conditioning along with boxing. We’ve been traveling a lot the last seven months or so, but we still train even while we’re on the road.

Q: What preparation is left in the final weeks?

A: We’re less than three weeks away from the fight, which means we only have about two weeks left of sparring in Dallas before we go to New York. It’s really exciting; this fight is going to be a huge, star-studded event.

As far as preparation, we’re just focusing more on strategy, we’re watching film a bit more intently and trying to mentally challenge Errol. We’re both really excited and I think Errol is prepared and ready to go.

You can watch Errol battle against Peterson on Saturday, Jan. 20, on SHOWTIME. Visit cooperfitnesscenter.com to learn more about available boxing sessions with Derrick.






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