Boxing: Big Philly burger off the menu - for now

By Patrick McKendry

Robert Berridge of New Zealand. Photo / Getty Images
Robert Berridge of New Zealand. Photo / Getty Images

Spare a thought for Robert Berridge, a light heavyweight boxer preparing for a career-defining fight, all the while watching every calorie he consumes in a place of many culinary temptations.

Berridge must drop from 82kg to 79kg for his fight against undefeated Russian Vasily Lepikhin. He is confident he will reach his target weight comfortably, saying water retention from his long flight from Auckland was probably responsible for the added bulk, but it's not easy. One of 29-year-old Berridge's pluses is his fitness and strength, but while heavyweight Joseph Parker can tuck into pasta, Berridge is limited to grilled meat and steamed vegetables. He hasn't eaten sweets for years.

The other temptation is a local "delicacy" known as the Philly cheesesteak, a long bread roll filled with chopped steak and dripping with cheese, a meal almost guaranteed to send your weight and cholesterol levels soaring.

Berridge has been trying to trim down by walking in the summer heat here or running on the hotel treadmill. The weigh-in is scheduled for tomorrow morning (NZT) ahead of his fight, broadcast live on NBC television after Joseph Parker's bout against American Keith Thompson, and after he steps on the scales he has some catching up to do.

"I'll go eat one of those famous Philly burgers or steak sandwiches," Berridge said. "It's my job to keep my weight down, so I have to be careful but after the weigh-in I'll hammer a big burger."

Even trying to eat healthily here can have its drawbacks in terms of weight loss, he said.

"The salads are twice the size, I could feed a family of four with them. It's ridiculous, but I try not to eat too much of it."

"I'm enjoying being over here and getting the experience. The culture is different but I'm loving it."

Berridge has been training almost continuously over the past three months. He took a week off due to flu after destroying Brazilian Rogerio Damasco in Auckland a month ago, but he isn't one to take a rest.

"I like my food so if I don't train and keep eating I'm going to get too fat.

"There's no point in getting up to 90kg and having to strip down to 79."

- NZ Herald

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