For all three local fighters, the holiday season won’t really begin until that night ends. There’s no room for dessert — except for maybe a tiny slice of sweet potato pie, admits Lamont — when you have to make weight in order to compete. And there’s no taking a break from the gym when you know each missed workout makes you more susceptible to a knockout.
The rest of us are allowed to keep our guard down, considering the fiercest opponent we’re likely to face in the next few weeks is a box of peppermint bark. But if you’re looking to burn holiday calories, it couldn’t hurt to pay attention to some of their techniques and consider copying some of them at home.
So let’s head back to Thanksgiving Eve at Headbangers. The Petersons had already gone on a three-mile jog by the time I arrived and were shadowboxing to warm up. Then they alternated turns sparring in the ring — mostly with other opponents but a few rounds with each other.
Just watching the bobbing, weaving, lunging and pounding was making me sweat, so when I heard Anthony finally announce it was time for Playstation, I figured he deserved a break. When I looked around, however, there wasn’t a video-game console in sight.
Turns out the term is a cruel joke. “Playstation” is an endurance routine that strings together a series of one-minute drills with no breaks in between. That day, Anthony was apparently looking too “fresh” so he earned three extra rounds of (1) running on a treadmill set to the highest speed and incline, (2) holding dumbbells while punching as fast as possible, (3) jumping in and out of a tire while gripping a medicine ball, (4) lifting and lowering a 30-pound kettlebell and (5) hoisting up a medicine ball and circling it around his head.
“It ain’t ever easy when you’re dealing with me,” coach Barry Hunter announced when more guys joined Anthony, who had sweat so much by that point that towels were needed to prevent people from slipping on the floor.
But Anthony says he wouldn’t have it any other way. “I’ve never felt like this in a fight. No man can ever make me feel like Playstation,” he says. “It makes you question yourself and your will and your skill.” But when he manages to get through the ordeal, even when it includes the dreaded “wishing well” — jumping down into the hole made by stacking two tires on top of each other, then launching back up — he knows he can get through anything.