Dillian Whyte rebuilt his body and mind after the Anthony Joshua fight and the heavyweight contender is primed for his upcoming battle with Lucas Browne.
The British heavyweight will be within touching distance of a world title fight if he defeats Browne in a grudge fight at The O2 on Saturday, March 24, live on Sky Sports.
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After a first professional loss to Joshua in 2015, Whyte has revealed how he embraced a new scientific approach to training to address stamina issues and a serious shoulder operation.
'The Body Snatcher' has celebrated six victories since that night and offers insight into drastic changes in his diet, strength and conditioning, and mental approach to the sport.
What caused you to rethink your career?
The fight with Joshua. I found I was lacking in physical and mental condition. I was training by myself. I was doing my strength and conditioning by myself down in London.
I'm a realist with myself, I'm honest. Whenever something goes wrong in my life, I try and sit back and analyse it and think, break it down. When I break it down and think about it, I see that as a fighter I need to eat better and train better and that's what I've done.
Has that helped with your shoulder rehabilitation?
Yes, it's definitely helping me. It's helping me overall. My shoulder, my mind, and my body.
Where do you go for strength and conditioning?
Loughborough University. It's a great university for sport. They create Olympic champions, year in year out. There are all different levels of people. There are beginners, mediocre and top level.
What are the benefits of training there?
It's not just about the facilities. It's about the programme. They have years of experience in sports programmes. In the last Olympics, I think they had 14 Olympic gold medallists, or something like that. Probably more than that across all sports.
How quickly did you notice improvements?
I went from the low level to the best. It took me a couple of years to get up to the standard.
When I first went there, they did the assessment and went: "Wow, I can't believe you are starting at that level. Physically and mentally you are on the floor, compared to an Olympic athlete."
But the gap closed quick because I'm a very adaptable guy, and the gap is still closing. I'm just getting stronger and stronger.
Are you still continuing to make progress?
My numbers are good, but there is always room for improvement, and I always improve on them.
What is your average day like?
Morning, 10am cardio training, 2pm strength and conditioning, 6pm boxing. That is an average day for me, all throughout the week.
With strength and conditioning, obviously other times we go and mix it up, and keep changing it around.
Have you also cleaned up your diet?
I've cleaned up my lifestyle. Not only my diet, my lifestyle, so I'm living better. Eating better all the time around, so it means I have to diet less. Just cut back on a few things.
What I used to do before is train six to eight weeks before a fight, but now I just train all year round and just keep myself in the best condition I can. Let myself go a little bit from time to time, but it's constant maintaining right now.
How has your body changed since the Joshua fight?
I'm a lot leaner. I probably carry a lot more muscle, a lot more functional, and a lot more explosive.
Do you aim for a certain weight?
I just try and come in under 18 stone. I look a bit more disciplined, that's all. I'm not as fleshy.
My strength is the same, my speed is the same, but under 18 stone, 17st 7lbs, 17st 8lbs, that's a successful weight for me I feel, and I feel strong. I look better at that weight.
Are the 12-round wins proof that training is working?
One hundred per cent. One of them 12-rounders was a war and the other was more of a tactical, strategic one. I answered all the questions to myself. Can I stay motivated in a tricky fight? Can I persevere in a fight where I'm not really landing and the guy is awkward and moving around? The other one was a war where can I dig deep when I need to?
I already know these things but knowing them and doing them are like two different things. The kind of fight me and Chisora had - there is not a lot of guys that are going to fight me at that tempo. They will probably be more technical, a bit more tricky, but me and Dereck went to war and he got the best out of me, and I got the best out of him.
Do you need a scientific approach more than ever?
A lot of the guys around these days, they are only doing good in boxing because they are giants. You need to be fit. You either outwork the giant, or you out-strength him, or outbox him, or you just go out and clip him.
It does help to have a strong base. A strong base is very important because if you look back in the day, heavyweights were small and they had to be talented, whereas nowadays a lot of guys are just big guys, they've either got one big punch, just like Lucas Browne. Got one big punch, he hasn't got no great boxing skills.
Would you be much better prepared for Joshua?
Yes of course. I'm more emotionally mature. I'm wiser. I train more scientifically. I've got a better approach to the fight. I'm more relaxed in the situation and more comfortable in the big events.
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I came from fighting at Camden Centre to fighting at The O2 in the bear pit, with 20,000 people there, 16,000 were for him. I've got experience now. Still a long way to learn, a lot more to do, a lot more to come.
Watch Dillian Whyte against Lucas Browne on Saturday, March 24 at The O2, from 7pm on Sky Sports Action