Hard sparring vs light sparring

Fitness Training

Olympic medallist Tony Jeffries explains the balance you need to strike between hard and light sparring in your training

On this video I give you my opinion on hard sparring vs light sparring. Being retired now since 2012 I look back at some of the sparring I have done in my time, from my very first session when I was 10 years old until my last training camp in Los Angeles. A lot of coaches out there think if it’s not a hard spar then it’s a waste of time, as fights are always hard so that’s what spars should be. 

I’ve spared with some great fighters. Carl Froch, James Degale, Andy Lee and Billy Joe Saunders are a few of the world champions I had been in the ring with multiple times. My sparring sessions with James Degale where normally always light. We sparred hundreds of rounds together before the 2006 Commonwealth Games and 2008 Olympics. They were never hard spars, where you try to hurt each other, but still always competitive which meant we learnt a lot from that. 

The same with Carl Froch. Sparring with him was great as he had a ton of experience. We would speak about the spar before the session. He would mention what we should hope to get from it, then again after the session, helping each other. I learnt a lot from him. 

When I was a pro, I remember sparring with the Mexican light-heavyweight champion four rounds, then the Mexican heavyweight champ for another four rounds straight after. This was harder than most of my fights. I did very well against the light-heavyweight, then started to tire against the big fella and I got my head punched in pretty bad to the point I needed headache tablets after the gym and again that night.

Watch the video below I would love to know your opinion, even if you think I’m totally wrong. (Which I’m not.)


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