Edis Tatli and the life of a professional boxer
Edis Tatli is a lightweight boxer and two-time European champion who joined the Gymnation team in the summer of 2021. Edis is probably also familiar to many from the program Tanssii Tähtien Kanssa (Dancing with the Stars), where he was the first athlete to win the entire competition!
On Saturday, December 11, 2021, Edis will fight against the Italian Gianluca Ceglia in the context of the European Championships at the Ruskeasuo sports hall in Helsinki. This match was originally supposed to take place already in May 2020, but it has had to be canceled no less than three times; twice because of covid and once because of Edis' injury. At the moment, the match preparations are in full swing and for this blog we asked Edis a little about his current feelings, how he prepares for the upcoming fight and what his everyday life looks like.
1. How did you become a professional boxer?
At the age of 14, I saw Prince Naceem Hamed's match and decided in that moment that I wanted to try boxing. I had practiced karate for 4-5 years before that, and even though my father said that boxing is very different, I didn't care. We were going to Kosovo on vacation for two months and my father said he would take me to a boxing gym after the trip. I couldn't wait, but had to get to the gym in Kosovo to test the sport. I immediately felt that boxing was my thing. I started training regularly and already three weeks later I had my first match in Turku.
2. Do you have a role model in boxing?
Muhammad Ali, Prince Naseem and Floyd Mayweather are the most important boxing role models for me.
3. How are you feeling before your upcoming match?
Really good at the moment. I've trained hard; I have prepared well and everything has gone well. A few more hard days ahead and the last week before the match I'll take it a bit easier - and then we will be ready for the match.
4. You got injured before the last game and it had to be canceled. What happened and how did you get over it?
I broke my thumb during match practice, which was of course a tough one, especially when I'd waited for the summer match against the Italian Ceglia for so long. There have been injuries in the past, but never in such a way that the match had to be postponed. A day or two, I thought about how this is possible, but pretty quickly I came to the conclusion that this is just something that happened and there was nothing I could do about it. The hand was in a plaster for six weeks and I had to take it easy. So I decided to enjoy the end of summer and not worry about things I couldn't influence.
5. What does a match day usually look like?
I refuel and eat well throughout the day and maintain a good mood and a good flow. I try to live have normal day and not think too much about the match. I sleep late, eat a good breakfast and do a light warm-up workout during the day where I might go through the match a little bit in my mind. Then I jump in the shower and go home until it's time to go to the competition venue. If I'm bored, maybe I'll watch a bit of boxing. :)
6. How much and what do you train in a week?
It varies a bit depending on how close the match is. The so-called pre-match training camp usually starts about 3-4 months before the match. The week includes about 10-11 workouts; on weekdays a couple of training sessions per day, on Saturdays one training session and Sunday is rest day. If I feel that my body is pushed too hard, I do a restorative workout somewhere in between. Of course, I train the sport itself, i.e. boxing, but I also do various strength exercises and endurance training. I do quite a lot of different running workouts, which include, for example, stair running, intervals and hill runs. My coach Pekka Mäki makes a boxing training program that I follow, and Aki Sipilä and Antti Heinonen do my strength and fitness training programmes.
7. How do you make sure you eat enough during training season?
I consult professionals if necessary, but having already done this for 20 years, I know pretty well what to eat and what fuel my body works best on. When the match is getting closer and there are more tough training sessions, I fuel up properly, especially before the match practice, to make sure that I have enough energy and can pull off a hard training session. The last intense training session is about 10 days before the match - and since it's more relaxed after that, there's no need to fuel up. I eat vitamins every day and good protein always after training. I like basic grub; one standard dish that I often eat before match training is chicken pasta - it always works.
8. How do you recover from training?
Now that I'm a little older, it's important to do proper post workout stretching. Hanging is a versatile stretching movement that also improves mobility. I also eat nutritious food and snacks and take it easy. A couple of hours after training I don't do anything, I just rest and let my body recover in peace. I go to a masseuse once a week and for a couple of months I have been doing cold treatment 1-2 times a week. I recommend trying it!
9. What advice would you give someone who wants to take up boxing?
I recommend just working up the courage to go to the boxing gym and see how it feels. There you won't start punching right away, but first you practise a lot of things, such as technique. If you want to start boxing and get better, you have to be focused and ready to do a lot of punching for many, many years. It's not enough to train hard for one season, you have to maintain your fitness constantly. Boxing gyms have trainers that you can ask for help, and it's worth taking a beginner's course. Ringside Gym, where I train myself, also organizes beginner courses.
10. What is the best thing about boxing?
The first thing that comes to mind is the feeling of excitement when you are walking into the ring before the match. When the adrenaline flows freely in the veins. And of course winning! Boxing is also a very versatile sport that exercises the whole body as well as your endurance, coordination and strength. In addition, it is suitable for all ages.
11. Why did you join the Gymnation team?
Great, high-quality products above all. I thought for a long time which brand would be a good partner for me and when a mutual acquaintance and Gymnation Ambassador Jessica Reiman recommended Gymnation clothes, I decided to get in touch. That's where it started. There is also a nice team behind the brand, with whom I get along well. I have been wearing Gymnation clothes for half a year now, and especially the men's sleeveless shirt has been in heavy use during training.
Thank you Edis for the interview and good luck with the match!! Follow Edis on Instagram here.