Young has been with Alexander for the entirety of his current training camp.
Written by John Archibald, Resolution Sports
Needless to say, Atlantic City welterweight Anthony “Juice” Young (6-0, 2 KOs) has been gaining invaluable experience working alongside Devon Alexander in St. Louis as the IBF Welterweight Champion prepares for an upcoming title defense against Kell Brook in February. Young originally landed in the Show Me State on December 2nd for two weeks of work before an injury to Brook caused a change in the bout date, as well as a restructuring of camp, and he has now been back with Alexander since January 6th.
“Camp has been going well. Devon has been looking sharp, and we’ve been getting in some good sparring,” Young confirmed. “When I got here the first time, he was just starting his strength and conditioning, so he was a little stiff, a little sore. This second time, it was like he picked up right where we left off. I took the three weeks I had at home to rest up, but Devon obviously stayed on it because he’s getting ready for a world championship fight. From go this time, he was looking really good and strong.”
Another huge benefit of working with Alexander for Young has been the guidance he receives from trainer Kevin Cunningham. The two originally met in Atlantic City when Cunningham was in town for Adrien Broner’s dismantling of Antonio DeMarco in November, and they immediately hit it off.
“We were talking, and he showed me a couple of his fights on YouTube, as well as some sparring sessions and whatnot,” Cunningham recollected about their first meeting. “Above all, he seemed like a really nice young man, and I just took a liking to him. He had the boxing ability to give us some of the similarities that we see in Kell Brook. He’s not the only sparring partner, but we wanted to give him the opportunity to come to camp and be around a world champion, getting the exposure and experience. Plus, he’s doing a great job at what we want him to do, too, so it has all worked out pretty good.”
Being someone who has been around the game of boxing for as long as he has been, Cunningham is able to quickly determine if a fighter has the tools to have true success in the sport. After spending as much time as he has with Young, he says the Atlantic City native definitely possesses some of those traits.
“You can’t say enough about him,” Cunningham stated. “He has a great attitude. He has the talent. He’s a young up-and-coming fighter with a lot of potential. When he got here, I was telling him that two years ago, Adrien Broner was in camp with Devon Alexander. I told him the same way I told Adrien: ‘If you keep working the way you’re working, you’re going to be in the same position.’ Look where he is today.
“Juice is in camp with a great attitude, and he has a lot of talent and potential. He’s working hard, and he’s learning a lot being in there with a world champion like Devon.”
On the flip side of the equation, Young was quick to return the compliments when asked how it has been to work with Cunningham.
“Working with Kevin is fun because he’s very animated in the gym, but, at the same time, he’s serious,” he remarked. “Everything is work, work, work with Kevin. You wouldn’t get that from him outside of boxing because he’s so cool and relaxed, but he knows exactly what he’s doing. He’s arguably one of the top trainers in the game. Virgil Hunter, Robert Garcia – they get a lot of accolades –but Kevin is right there if not on top of them. He’s been doing this for a really long time. Overall, it has just been such a pleasure working with him and Devon.”
In terms of Alexander, a three-time world champion who holds a 24-1 record with 13 knockouts, Young says the time he has spent in camp with him has been continually elevating his own skills.
“Devon is a helluva champion. Besides that, he’s a good person,” he commented. “He’s at the top of his game, and that’s making me get on the top of my game. The more you’re in the ring with him, you have to make sure your stuff is together, or you’ll just get steamrolled. But Devon does know how to work. He’s not in there to bomb you out. What is he going to get from bombing out a sparring partner? He’s not getting paid to fight me, I’m getting paid to spar him. At the same time, it’s difficult being in there with him. That takes my game to a whole another level. Seeing first-hand what you have to do to be where these dudes are, it takes my boxing to a different level.”
Editor’s Note: Young’s own trainer, Ray McCline, was recently named the Trainer of the Year by The Press of Atlantic City.