Chiefs hooker Hika Elliot might have just returned from a New Zealand Maori and then All Blacks rugby tour but touring life didn't hinder his boxing training for next week's Fight for Life.
Elliot has been matched with NRL rugby league hard man Paul Gallen for the Auckland event on December 15 and he says he is fitter than he has ever been thanks to his on-tour training.
"I knew prior to going on tour that I was going to still train pretty hard but I just had to do it on my own time," said Elliot, who started training well before he went on tour because he did not know what opportunities he would get in Britain.
"So that's what I did. I just went into any boxing gym I could find and said: ‘mate, this is my situation and how can you help me out'.
"I got hooked up with a few sparring sessions so that was good."
Google became Elliot's best friend as he sought out boxing gyms to train at wherever the Maori or All Blacks teams were based at the time, even working out in one trainer's double garage that had been converted into a gym.
"It worked out pretty good. I probably got in four sessions a week so that's enough and now I'm just ramping it up to double sessions since I got back two days ago.
"I'm stacking it in now and I'll probably start tapering off on Thursday next week," he said.
Elliot, who said he had got down to 112kg before touring but thought he might have gained another 3kg through a protein diet and weight training in the UK, said he was not only fitter than ever but living a much cleaner lifestyle.
"It's doing wonders for me."
He has never boxed before but has been involved, along with his older brothers and sisters, in martial arts since the age of 3 or 4, including various forms of kick boxing and mixed martial arts in recent years. "In terms of the basic crossover between martial arts and boxing there is a lot of similarity in the footwork and things so that all helps."
Not only did Elliot let it be known very early via his agent that he was keen on taking part in the Fight for Life but is keen on being involved in mixed martial arts in the future.
"Dean Lonergan is talking about having a Fight for Life in the cage and I said to him if that happens I'll be the first to put my hand up."
Elliot is not daunted by Gallen's reputation as one of the hard men of Australian league, saying reputations counted for nothing once you stepped in the ring and it was man-on-man.
"We've just got to do what we've got to do and at the end of the day you can't count on anyone else. I'm really looking forward to it.
"I think I'm as well prepared as I could be, given the circumstances and what I've been up to over the last month.
"I knew a few months ago I would probably be on one of those two tours so I started training earlier than the other fighters and lucky I did," Elliot said.
- © Fairfax NZ News