Ben Askren has enlisted the help of legendary boxing coach Freddie Roach ahead of his anticipated showdown with YouTube celebrity Jake Paul.
Askren, the former ONE Championship and Bellator welterweight titleholder, will meet Paul in an eight-round pro boxing match on April 17. The bout will air on pay-per-view at a price of $49.99.
Ahead of the fight, Askren made a pitstop in Los Angeles to absorb the wisdom of the legendary Roach, who has previously handled boxers like Manny Pacquiao, Miguel Cotto, and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., as well as former UFC champ Georges St-Pierre.
“I’m only in L.A. for a week, so I’m gonna get as much as I can out of Freddie Roach,” Askren told MMA Junkie. “I’m gonna pick his brain. So I started training, maybe six weeks it’s been. First couple of weeks was just like strength and conditioning, let me get back in shape because I couldn’t really start training until Dec. 1 because of my hip surgery. I couldn’t do anything until Dec. 1.
“So it’s like, ‘Hey let’s get back in shape,’ so I did a couple of weeks strength and conditioning. I was working with Duke (Roufus) and ‘Cush’ (striking coach Scott Cushman) and Mike Rhodes, former UFC fighter, old teammate who’s been helping me a bunch,” Askren added. “And then I brought in this guy ‘K9’ Cornelius Bundrage from Detroit. He reached out on Twitter. He’s been really good. It’s been a lot of fun. So I brought him in twice for a week and I took Sunday off, but before that, I had boxed 18 out of 19 days.”
While Askren has never boxed professional before, he’s a former Olympic wrestler and enjoyed an incredible mixed martial arts career before he retired in 2019. His previous accolades, coupled with his recent preparation, have him feeling very confident that he’ll beat Paul this April.
“I’m trying to be as good of a boxer as I can,” Askren said. “I’m not under the impression that I’m gonna be a pro boxer. I’ve been top 10 in the world in four different sports. I know what it’s like to be world class. I’m not gonna be a world-class boxer, but I don’t gotta be a world-class boxer. I just gotta beat up Jake freaking Paul. That ain’t gonna be that hard, guys.”
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