Abel Sanchez on training GGG and Gassiev

By Przemek Garczarczyk

Trainer Abel Sanchez has a seemingly difficult task: preparing, two undefeated world champions at the same time for their upcoming bouts. Gennady Golovkin (September 16 vs. Canelo Alvarez) and Murat Gassiev (possibly middle of October vs. Krzysztof Włodarczyk).

Photo: Gassiev Instagram

“There’s no trainer in the world who would not like to trade places with me now,” Sanchez told Fightnews.com®. “Two guys like Golovkin and Gassiev working with you every day? You forget pain. You are part of a great story. This is my family. GGG motivates Murat, Gassiev does the same to Golovkin. I’m just watching.”

My first thought, when World Boxing Super Series announced cruiserweight pairing and possible dates was how will Abel Sanchez survive training two of the hardest hitters in boxing, Gennady Golovkin AND Murat Gassiev – at the same time?!

You kidding me? I love it! I work 24/7 anyway. How does the schedule work? I will have to leave Murat for maybe a week, when I will be with GGG in Las Vegas (for the Canelo fight). But I have a great assistant in Big Bear, so no problem. The daily schedule is simple. Starting around 11 AM for “just in case” training sessions, around 3PM two hours for Gennady, then Murat arrives.

Time wise, no doubt doable…but I’m more worried about your body after consecutive pad workouts with Gennady and Murat. I’m tired just writing about it.

There’s no trainer in the world who would not like to trade places with me now. Two guys like Golovkin and Gassiev working with you every day? You forget pain, you are part of the great story. This is my family. GGG motivates Murat; Gassiev does the same to Golovkin. I’m just watching…

Scene in the Moscow locker room after 23-year-old Gassiev just became IBF champion by beating tough as nails defending champ Denis Lebedev. With GGG, we are waiting for Murat. You were happy about the win… but you also said Gennady has to talk to Murat about finishing fights when he can…

Did he?

They always talk about everything. How to fight, how to behave in certain moments, how to be in command inside the ropes. GGG is a father figure for everyone in the gym. For me, the most astonishing thing about Murat is his age – he’s 23, a baby in boxing years. And already a world champion who understands what’s in front of him.

Important: there are no world champions in my gym. Belts stay at home. It’s just work to be better. Gassiev’s experience with Lebedev already manifests during training camp. He remembers when he got Denis down but didn’t finish him. Moments like that, when Murat will fight Diablo Włodarczyk in the World Boxing Super Series tournament, you have to finish the job. We have a different camp now in comparison with training problems we had before Lebedev. No problems with sparring partners, when people were vanishing from the gym after just a couple of days in the ring with Murat. This time we have a bigger budget. I have the people I need to make Gassiev even better than he was in Moscow.

According to bookies, no one is a bigger favorite in the WBSS cruiserweight quarterfinals than Gassiev over Diablo.

I don’t care about that. Means nothing. I have a young fighter who will challenge a long time world champion with all the experience in the world. Remember Super Six, when a fighter with just 20 fights, without any spectacular fights, arrived and won all? Nobody gave Andre Ward any serious chances when Super Six started. This tournament is a peculiar beast: no second chances. You don’t have your best day, it’s over. And another thing: no off fights because, at least on paper, every next fight will be tougher than previous. I always hoped for a tournament like that.

When we last spoke, you were surprised that Włodarczyk needed a split decision to beat Noel Gevor.

I was, but I’m also convinced that we will see a different Diablo. You just go through the motions when you know you’re better. This is what happened to Włodarczyk in that fight. I also have big respect to Diablo trainer0 (Fiodor) Łapin to keep his fighter so long at such a high level. It’s a difficult thing, because a trainer gets tired of the fighter and fighter gets tired of the trainer. Włodarczyk knows that this time he has to be at his best to beat Murat. We know the same. Murat – if the chance arrives – has to knock out Włodarczyk. No one talks in my gym about what’s next, how we will approach winner of the excellent bout between Dorticos and Kudryashov. Diablo only.

You mentioned the difficulty of training a fighter for basically a six-month tournament when there are no off days.

I have the feeling that energy is no problem because I have 23-year-old in the gym who can fight every two weeks. You cannot overdo it. It’s better to give a fighter in this situation a couple of days off than just overtrain him. After the fight with Włodarczyk – assuming, that Murat will be victorious – maybe 10 days off. And the beauty of it – another great experience for Murat, so in the next fight he’s even better!

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