Reagan Oliver (UK) inspires many people with his determined level of training. “If you knew what kind of kid I was, you wouldn’t believe it,” says the local amateur boxing prodigy.
Reagan became the very first ambassador for the SPARBAR® brand and achieved the National Champion title at the age of 16, but spent time in jail from the age of 17. Now, at the age of 23, Reagan is making an inspiring U-turn, moving from the streets to the podium.
“I was in trouble with the police for stealing cars and I was in and out of jail,” says Reagan, who now spends every day at a local boxing gym on a training programme.
Not only is he finally on the right track, thanks in part to his girlfriend and two children, but he has also returned to competing in a very short time and is now competing in the English national finals. “I always knew it was boxing,” Reagan says of his vision to turn his life around and find a way to support his family. We interviewed him:
Your coach John Homer says you didn’t have to deal with „ring rust“ when you started competing again in no time. Would you say determination is all it takes?
It takes determination, hard work, and the will to win. And just to give my family a better life.
What does your weekly training programme look like in detail?
My weekly routine: Wake up Monday morning 7 o’clock, be at the gym at 8 o’clock, do an hour session of conditioning, that’s the running machine, sprints. Then I come home at 9 o’clock, have about 1.5 hours rest until about 10.30, go to John’s gym, do some boxing, come home, have my lunch, then I would rest until about 5.30 then I have my dinner and go back to John’s gym for technical sparring for 1.45 hours.
On Tuesday I wake up at 7 o’clock, go to the gym about 9 o’clock, do some strength, I come home after about an hour, rest until about 1 o’clock, have my lunch, then rest again until about 5.30 then I have my dinner, then I go back to John’s gym and do a boxing session, foot work, holding the pads, going on the pads, sparring, just a whole 1.45 hour session.
On Wednesdays I wake up at 7 o’clock, I go to conditioning at 8 in the morning, come back have my breakfast, at 12 o’clock I have my lunch, 5.30pm I have my dinner and then at 7.15 I go to yoga for an hour, and then I come home and rest.
Thursday mornings are a repeat of Tuesday mornings.
Friday mornings are a repeat of Monday mornings.
Then on Sundays I go to the gym, or every other Sunday for a 10k run.
What are your training goals at the moment, and how do you work on them?
My main goal is to turn pro and to become World Champ. Because I had so long off, I needed to get my name back out there, I needed to win the elites, which then became my goal. So then I came back for 6 to 8 weeks, entered the under 20s, got to the finals of under 20s after 8-10 weeks, and then April 2022 I was meant to go into the elite championships but four days before that I got an injury to my left ankle, a little hairline fracture, which took me out because I couldn’t really move. I was before in the semifinals with broken fingers and just numbed it. But the foot is a different game when you’re boxing because you need it for your range and everything. So I had to make a decision which knocked me back a bit. I had to sit out for that. And now I have to make the decision to turn pro because I’m 23 and it is my main goal to turn pro, and I don’t want to waste any more time. I got two kids to provide for. Amateur is not really bringing me anything, so I need something for my future, for my kids. This is why I need to turn pro. And I was looking for a good promoter, but as it looks you have to start from the bottom and work yourself up. I am willing to do that.
Is there a specific diet you follow, and what does it look like?
In the morning I have a porridge with honey and my protein mixed with the milk, I have a coffee and have my vitamins which are A, B, C+ vitamins, I have immune system support vitamins and I have omega cod liver oil, then I have Vitamin D seeds that I put in my drink. For lunch time I have a prep meal about 1 o’clock, then I have a prep meal about 5.30, have fruits throughout the day, little yogurts for snacks.
You have two little kids now, and a girlfriend that is supporting you on your tough journey to make it from amateur boxing to pro. Can you tell us about how your family motivates you to follow through?
Since I was about 14/15 I wanted to become a World Champ, that’s my goal, I’m gonna earn my money from boxing. Even at my lowest times I’d think I don’t care I’m gonna be a boxer, even if I wasn’t even boxing – I just thought that anyway. Even when I was in jail people used to say ‘let’s go big on the weights’. And I used to say ‘nah, I’m gonna do boxing, I need to stay sharp.’ I always said it even if I wasn’t doing it at the time. Then I got to a point in life where I needed to get back on it quickly because I need to chase my dreams. Then when I had kids – probably if I didn’t have kids now I’d still be doing all the bad stuff – but my kids have shown me that I don’t want to be in and out of jail, not seeing my kids grow up, not giving them what I would have wanted. I want to give my kids the best life so I thought I need to get back on it, prove all the ones that doubted me. That’s what keeps me going.
For anyone considering boxing, what is the core benefit this sport has given you?
The main benefits for people that want to do boxing: it keeps you focussed, it keeps you fit, it keeps you healthy – health is wealth. You can’t go wrong. At the end of the day, if you put everything into you’re going to see the rewards. Train hard, put your all in it, and just be determined to win, to do better for yourself. You’re not losing, you’ll be fit, you’ll be in the best shape of your life and you will make some positive changes.
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