Gennady ‘Triple G’ Golovkin on Training for His MSG Fight and How It Feels to Land a Knockout Punch

Gennady ‘Triple G’ Golovkin is ready to get back in the ring. After losing in 12 rounds in his last fight to Canelo Alvarez—the first loss of his career—the boxer is set to take on Steve Rolls on June 8 at Madison Square Garden. It’s his return fight, the first in a three-year, six-fight deal with DAZN.

The former WBA (Super), WBC, IBF, and IBO title holder has fought five times previously at Madison Square Garden, and it’s something that never gets old for Triple G.

“I mean, come on, it’s New York City and Madison Square Garden,” Golovkin told Men’s Journal. “It’s a dream for any boxer or athlete. Fighting there is on a different level. You feel the support from the fans at MSG and the city itself. It’s an iconic place and an exciting place to fight.

Following his loss to Alvarez, Golovkin brought in a new trainer for his fight against Rolls, a hard-hitting Canadian who has an undefeated 19-0 record. While Golovkin didn’t have much time to prepare with his new trainer—about three weeks—he’s confident: “He prepared me well for this fight,” Golovkin said. “We worked on some new techniques that I’ll be ready to show off on June 8.”

Amanda Westcott/DAZN

Golovkin spoke with Men’s Journal ahead of the fight against Rolls about how he trained for the fight, what it’s like to land a knockout punch, and his pre-fight nutrition.

How do you prep for a fight? What’s your training like?

For a fight like this, there are a wide range of things I need to work on, including speed, timing, strength, distance, and endurance. We did a lot of bag work this time around to help me prepare my technique, and I also did a lot of work in the gym to prepare as well. We did some isolation drills to help strengthen certain muscles in my body, and we also have been doing weighted neck crunches and chin pushups. I don’t do that much heavy lifting for these fights, it’s more about perfecting my technique and making sure my timing and speed are sharp. All of that has really helped me get ready.

Did you do anything different?

Yes and no at the same time. For casual fans, they usually see boxing as boxing. But the people who watch closely know there’s a lot of nuance and intricacies in the strategies and moves. Boxing is a very individual sport. You have fighters who are right-handed, left-handed, short, tall, and so on, so you have to prepare for the individual in front of you. We decided to do some different things to prepare specifically for Steve Rolls, like working on my jab punches more, but at the end of the day it’s about coming to the same goal: to win and have a successful fight.

DAZN has made a big investment in boxing. How does it feel to be one of the faces?

It’s a very interesting feeling and very exciting for me. I see the new perspective that DAZN brings and the way they’re planning for the future. Thanks to DAZN, we have big plans and I think we’ll achieve some great results and have success as we go forward. To be a partner feels good and it means a great deal to be a part of this as things continue to grow in the sport.

LAS VEGAS, NV - SEPTEMBER 15: Gennady Golovkin punches Canelo Alvarez during their WBC/WBA middleweight title fight at T-Mobile Arena on September 15, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Al Bello/Getty Images

What’s some of the best advice you’ve received in your career?

Early in my career, I learned how important stretching is. I’ve kept that with me all through my fighting career. If you stretch, you keep yourself loose and limber, and it helps prevent injuries when you’re fighting and when you’re training. You can’t stop injuries from happening, but stretching at least puts you in a good position to avoid them.

What’s your nutrition like when preparing for a fight?

I work with a nutritionist for a fight like this and I can see the difference it makes for my body. Having a nutritionist helps me get what I need, making sure everything is clean and lean to help me build the strength I need. I think athletes need to follow the advice of nutritionists to help be the best. I really like to eat fish and meat, things like ribs, shrimp, and chicken, as well as steak. I’ll eat steak once or twice every week. I won’t eat bread, sweets or junk food, and no sodas at all. I also make sure not to overeat, so I’m at the right weight for the fight.

What does it feel like to land a knockout punch?

My knockout punch isn’t as sharp right now as it used to be [laughs]. But basically, you feel like you’re a superhero. It’s a unique feeling and it feels like everything you worked on has led up to that moment and it all comes together to earn a win on that punch.

Gennady “GGG” Golovkin takes on Steve Rolls on DAZN this Saturday, June 8, live from Madison Square Garden. Find out more on how to stream the fight here.  

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