Finding Balance as a Man: Interview with Heavyweight Boxer Edward Latimore
Is it possible to balance attending college, building yourself up as a man, and training to be a professional heavyweight boxer? Ed Latimore, an 8–0 heavyweight boxer, proves that is.
I learned about Ed through his Twitter account — @EdLatimore. Ed’s a smart guy who “gets it,” and I kept my eye on him, as I am committed to finding the best talent and information to share with you.
“I’m Ed Latimore. I’m an 8–0 (5 kos) professional boxer.”
I’m promoted by a major promoter who I wish I could name in this article but I am not allowed to announce that information until they do. The heavyweight division has a weight minimum of 201 and no maximum. It’s where the big boys play and where one punch — even from a mediocre fighter — has the power to change to direction of a fight. I almost suffered an upset in my 7th fight from a guy 2–7–1 because of managed to sneak a good punch in. It’s simple physics: Force = mass * acceleration and bigger guys just have more mass.
I think a lot about my boxing in terms of physics because I am also currently a double major in physics and electrical engineering.
I dropped out of college the first time around because I was 19 and not ready for prime time. Then I spent my 20’s taking odd jobs, volunteering for Americorps, and boxing as an amateur. Right after I concluded a relatively well decorated amateur career of 5 years, I turn professional and joined the Army National Guard to pay for school.
I was originally going to study mathematics in school, but exposure to some military training turned my interests towards electrical engineering.
Once I took my first physics class, I got hooked on that subject and earned a scholarship to Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA to earn a dual degree in Physics and Electrical Engineering.
I am entering my third year of the program and I will be 30 years old when class starts this fall.
For any guys out there that want to go back to school, just remember that if it’s not a STEM discipline, go to trade school or get in sales.
Assuming you’re in school for STEM, work your ass off and enjoy it. All things considered equal, it’s going to easier because you shouldn’t be engaged in the bullshit social scene that most undergrads are in. Plus you get to offer advice on life to up and coming younger guys who most likely don’t know any better about much else besides science.
A lot of people ask me why I decided to go back to school as my professional boxing career was getting started. The boxing landscape is littered with guys that almost got a shot at a title or made decent money and spent it all. You see the same thing in other sports.
Every athlete believes that they are the best and that they’re going to make millions at the highest level. I’m no different, but while I was living in Los Angeles in 2012 I was walking to the gym just managed to evade taking a direct hit by a car that lost control and came up on the side walk. I got some stitches in my leg but was back to the gym the next day.
However, I realized that boxing could be taken from me in ways not directly related to boxing. I’ve always wanted to finish school in something that played to my strengths (mathematics) so once I had a little more money and a clearer vision, I returned to school.
By traditional metrics, I suppose I’m a later bloomer.
I didn’t start boxing until I was 22 and I didn’t return to school I was 28.
I did not have a clear vision for what I wanted out of life and where I saw myself.
We read a lot of stuff about how we’re supposed to use our 20’s to make money, but I’ll be the first to admit that I largely consider my 20’s a waste. Not a complete waste, but I definitely did not make money. My boxing career went fine — as an amateur I won a state title, a national title, made it to an olympic qualifier (where I lost to the eventual olympic representative) and was paid well my last two amateur years by a sponsor.
On the flip side, I drank too much, spent way too much time caring about women, and outside of boxing, I was not building any foundation for the future.
At 30, I’ve been sober for two years and eventually I’ll drink again, but between boxing, school and writing, I have zero time to bullshit.
Balancing school and training is easy but it is because I am incredibly single minded in my pursuit.
90 percent of my time is spent in training or involved with school. I stopped drinking a 2 years ago and I have a girlfriend, so two of the biggest time sucks — drinking and chasing girls — are out the window. She’s an incredible help as well.
I don’t think I have cooked more than 10 meals for myself over the past 2 years. I’m able to focus all of my energy on training and studying. I wouldn’t want to live any other way because I genuinely love boxing and physics.
The ideal of free time is one that I’m very uncomfortable with because there are so many things I would like to do so anytime outside of the gym is almost always spent learning.
The organization of my time is also surprisingly simple. Much of this is because of how boxing practice is set up.
I have to go off on a slight tangent here to make this point clear. I log approximately 18–24 hours a week practicing. What works out to 3–4 hours a day, not including Sunday and not including my running workouts.
Of that 18–24 hours, I would say that 10–18 hours of that is my own work shadow boxing, hitting the heavy bad, footwork and head movement drills without the watchful eye of my coach. The rest of the time I do those activities along with him holding striking pads for me to work on different attack patterns while he improves my technique. The significance of this is that a large part of my schedule is up to me to decide. As long the coach is the gym with me for at least an hour a day I feel good.
I try to get in the gym between 4–5 in the evening. This is easy as class is usually over by 3–4. This doesn’t include the days that I don’t have class and Saturdays where I have a great deal more time to practice without worrying about getting to class. As far as class goes, the actually attending of class never presents a problem because of scheduling, and I study efficiently and effectively and I have not problems as long as I take the time to truly learn the material and complete any assignments due. Yes this takes discipline and awareness, but I’ve got my life set up in such a way that there aren’t any distractions.
If a person has two extreme goals that have very little overlap (heavyweight champion of the world and double degree in physics and electrical engineering), there are a few things I would tell them. First, I would make sure they understand that they are about to do something highly unusual and demanding therefore they will not live like a normal person. This is fine for me, because I never wanted to be normal, but people don’t understand how deep that rabbit hole goes.
You pretty much give up anything resembling a normal social life, if you don’t have a girl you will give up getting laid because you won’t have time to do shit to maintain a decent looking rotation, and you very quickly will lose interest in most things outside of your disciplines.
Discipline is a given, but I have to stress it again. My life is only possible because of discipline.
Most people come home from the gym and want to chill. But I have to study, program or write a lab. Most people want to cut loose on weekends in some form, but I either have to study boxing or do work related to my major. Just because I love it doesn’t mean I’m not human and there are days I’d rather not do it, but those aren’t options as far as I’m concerned. There is another component that makes a difference when pursuing different paths.
If you can find ways to link ideas, your life becomes a lot easier because you are getting a feel for the ideas. Much like comedians who write or professional athletes that get into movies, there are things you can take from one discipline and port it to another. For example, many concepts in mechanical physics have improved my understanding of boxing: specifically, tangential acceleration for rotating my hips to generate power, modeling to help me understanding certain movements make my punches harder, and dynamics to understand defensive postures.
Likewise, because I’m fairly good at knocking guys out and I’ve done a theoretical and applied (i.e., actually knocking dudes out) research on the idea, anything involving impulse-momentum conversion is highly intuitive to me.
These are just examples, but the idea is what’s important: find ways to link the ideas across different topics because it will give you an intuitive grasp of whatever you are trying to master. Intuitive understanding of a subject is always superior to rote memorization
My training routine is broken up into three areas: conditioning, technique, and fighting.
A good training routine will never truly have these three phases of boxing separate, but you have to spend exclusive time focusing on each of these.
Conditioning is my ability to sustain and exert myself effectively in a fight. There start of this is cardio. I run almost everyday and I have three different types of runs: distance, sprints, burn out runs. For distance, I run about 4–5 miles. A good time for this is 27–31 minutes.
My sprint routine is 8–10 hill sprints up a hill for about 80 yards. I estimate the hill is at a 40–45 degree angle. In the burn out run, I try to do two laps around a standard olympic track in under 3 minutes, with a minute rest in between. This last run is extremely difficult and my goal is to be able to do as many sets as the next fight will be. My next fight on September 6th is schedule for 6 rounds. My running is usually done first thing in the morning, even before breakfast.
At the gym, my conditioning routing continues with jumping rope and doing footwork ladder drills. Back home for the evening, I try to do 100–200 pushes (in sets of 50) and 80–100 ab wheel roll outs (sets of 20). Also, a lot of days will hit the heavy bag is hard as I can in combinations so that I can get fight specific conditioning. Running is great and translates well, but nothing beats actually being conditioned to throw punches.
Working on my technique also involves a lot of heavybag work, but my focus is making sure my technique is right when I throwing my punches, making sure they snap the heavybag right and that my fundamentals (hands up, chin down, moving my head, etc) and staying sharp while I throw the punches. In addition to this type of technical work, my coach will do sets with me on the punching mits to help me maintain my technique during different patterns and combinations.
When I’m working on the technique myself on the heavybag its like learning to read music but when I work the combinations and patterns under the watchful eye of my coach, it’s like playing scales on a piano. My technique improves as does my ability to change direction and make adjustments real time.
Finally, comes the fighting. My coach always says, “A coach can teach you how to throw a punch but he can not teach you how to fight.”
My coach teaches how to defend, how to punch, and gives me analysis of my opponent during the fight with suggestions on how to attack. He does not and can not teach me the intuition and insight needed to make those decisions real time. He can’t teach me how to find my most effective range or how to push through the excruciating pain of a liver shot. These are lessons I learned during my 53 fight amateur career and thousands of rounds of sparring over the past 8 years. Sparring is where I continue to work on my ability to fight.
As for a routine, conditioning and technique work is done everyday. Sparring is done 2 to 3 times a week. Unless there are severe storms or the roads are covered in ice, I’m up every morning doing a run. Practice is evening from 4–7 ish except Saturday where we practice in the afternoon.
Diet is important and an area that I have come a long way. I don’t have a strict diet that adhere to. I just follow a simple rule: if a man created it, I don’t eat it. So I consume lots of meat, vegetables, fruits, coffee, tea, and dairy. My junk foods of choice are peanuts and popcorn. I don’t drink alcohol or soda. I drink a lot of water, but I probably should drink even more. Occasionally I’ll have a cheat meal after practice, and eat vanilla cookies or a roll of Ritz crackers or a diet coke. This is only bro science, but I don’t think it has much of an effect on me because I’m doing right after training
I didn’t start boxing until I was 23. This is relatively old to start boxing.
Boxing in Pittsburgh, PA as an amateur heavyweight does not afford many opportunities to fight because of lack of competition. This means that people from our region don’t usually make it to national tournaments let alone win them. However, I won a national title as an amateur, turned pro ranked 8th in the nation, became a sponsored amateur fighter, and even defeated the fighter eventually represented the United States as the heavyweight at the 2012 olympics. None of this is a result of talent. I have, at best, an average aptitude for fighting. It is a result of two traits. These two traits allowed me to do those things as an amateur, have allowed me to become successful as a professional, and they are the reason I have had and will continue to have a successful academic career.
Two traits are strategy and work ethic. Individually, either of these traits are wonderful assets. Combined, there is nothing that you can’t do. For my boxing career, I assessed my strengths early on: I’m was much stronger and faster than average for the weight division, I am very powerful, my conditioning was great and I’m a fantastic learner. My weaknesses were that I was surprisingly uncoordinated and I didn’t have an intuitive grasp of boxing (I’m just now getting this). I knew I would work on these things, but lack of skill and raw physical ability meant that I would get my wins by ko or not at all. In fact, it would be almost 3 years before I won a fight by decision.
In terms of my landscape, I looked and saw that I would need to spar a lot to develop these things and get with the best trainers I could. I also needed to develop my intuition so I trained in many fighting styles, even taking 2 cage matches (which I both lost) and entering in some brazilian juijitsu tournaments. My basic strategy was to gradually improve areas I was weak, win fights where I was strong, and align myself with the right people who had connections and ability to take my to the next levels of my career. I stuck to my strategy, and it’s the sole reason I was able to do what I did in boxing and continue to do in boxing. It’s the same way I apply myself to my studies.
For reason beyond the scope of this post, I believed I was a weak math student. This is a problem if you want to study the only thing worth going to school for, which are STEM related degrees. So in preparation for returning to school, I spent a year relearning mathematics all the way up Calculus 2. I didn’t get learn everything perfectly, but I got my brain to understand math and the relationships in a way that would allow me to excel in physics, chemistry, programming, stats and calculus. I knew that I needed enough to time to become strong at math before taking on the subject matter.
I haven’t taken any individual skills from one sport to the other, but I have come to trust my intuition heavily as well. As it develops in boxing, I feel the real time effect of trusting it and when I’m working on a difficult problem I feel confident enough in my intuition on the correct way to start a problem where it may not be completely obvious. My strategic ability to play, my work ethic to execute those plans and my intuition are the things I carry between both sports.
I started out looking for ways to get laid. Once I figured that out, I realized there was more to the game than just racking up notches.
I was always interested in reading people. I still love watching people interact and trying to figure out their relationships and motives, so I got really into that. From there I got heavily interested in evolutionary psychology and the differences between men and women and their reproductive strategies. So here I am, getting better at meeting and bedding girls, learning how people interact and reading their intentions, and at the same time just starting to understand just how different men and women are and what their goals are. This happened around the age of 23.
At the same time, most of my guy friends were in relationships with girls I didn’t think too highly of. I felt extremely isolated because people I had grown up with were in these shitty relationships while we’re supposed to be out chasing girls. On top of that, they weren’t happy. So I spent a lot of time alone, in the gym, chasing girls myself. I kept searching on the internet for like minded websites because at that point in my life, there was no one to relate to.
Now at age 30, I’m secure enough in my thoughts and actions that I don’t need anyone to related to, but in my early 20’s this was not the case.
I came across Roosh V. From there I read Heartise/Roissy. These sites not only helped me improve my understanding, but it let me know that I wasn’t crazy feeling how I felt about my friends girlfriends or the general state of things with between men and women.
This is how we all find the red pill. Like Morpheus says The Matrix, “You’re here because you know something. What you know you can’t explain, but you feel it. You’ve felt it your entire life, that there’s something wrong with the world. You don’t know what it is, but it’s there, like a splinter in your mind, driving you mad.”
I found the red pill because I felt like something was not right and I sought out like minded people who noticed the same things wrong. More importantly, they noticed what was wrong and I actively started living life to what is true and brings them happiness as opposed to what other people think.
Do you have any questions for Ed? Post them below!
You should also follow Ed on Twitter.
Originally published at www.dangerandplay.com on August 21, 2015.