Hot super lightweight boxing prospect, Richardson Hitchins represented Haiti in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, and has racked up seven knockouts since turning pro the following year. Now set to fight for both the WBC Silver and IBF North American championships, this 25-year-old is nearing the end of his preparations to face the more experienced Jose Zepeda on Sept. 23 in Orlando, FL, in what will prove to be a defining moment for both competitors.

M&F talked exclusively to Hitchins, who fights out of Brooklyn, NY, following one of his grueling cardio sessions, and we soon learned that the fighter utilizes interval training to be sure that his conditioning is just as on-point as his jab.

Richardson Hitchins (16-0-0) appears unstoppable as he goes into what many boxing critics believe to be his toughest test yet against Jose Zepeda (37-3-0), in his third fight since signing with Matchroom boxing. Zepeda, now 34, has knocked out 28 of his opponents and has the clear advantage as relates to experience, but the young lion Hitchins has fought on the big stage many times, from the Olympics to Madison Square Garden, and has certainly come a long way since witnessing shootings and violence on the streets as a 12-year-old kid who watched WWE wrestling for the escapism that he needed.

Boxer Richardson Hitching leaning on a street mural of him
Richardson Hitchins

It was during the WrestleMania 24 pay-per-view (in 2008) that Hitchins first became familiar with Floyd Mayweather, who was a special attraction on the show, facing off against “The Big Show” Paul Wight in the Super Bowl of pro wrestling. “You know, he came on WWE, and he was talking a lot of junk,” remembers Hitchins fondly. “I started looking at Floyd on YouTube and I started seeing him, and Oscar (De La Hoya), and how he was talking s**t and still winning, and after that I just fell in love with [him], like I’ve never seen a guy talk so much s**t and be so confident, and he always wins! I was like; ‘I don’t know how he do it,’ but I fell in love with the sport after that.” As his interest in becoming a boxer in his own right piqued, Richardson Hitchins learned that being around coaches would keep him off the streets and make sure that he got fed.

“It was God’s plans,” says Hitchins. “I’m not gonna lie to you. It sounds clichéd, but at that time my sight wasn’t being on being a famous boxer, or to be like Floyd Mayweather, or make money … I was just a guy that walked into a boxing gym, I was around guys like Christopher Cobert, Bruce Carrington, and other great fighters coming up, and it was like a brotherhood. I was seeing things in boxing that I couldn’t see without boxing. We were sleeping in hotels, being taken out to restaurants. Or, If I’m leaving the gym, I’d make my coach take me to Denny’s or other restaurants to eat. These are the things, these are the luxury’s that I wouldn’t have got, if I wasn’t going to the boxing gym.”

The young upstart threw himself so hard into becoming a serious contender that he represented Haiti during the 2016 Games in Rio, and incredibly, it was there that he met his hero Mayweather, later being signed as a protégé. Mayweather gave Hitchins a great deal of encouragement and tools to succeed, perhaps seeing a younger version of himself, and although Hitchins is now signed to Matchroom boxing and is attempting to blaze a path towards a world title, it’s hard to miss the similarities between the former master and his student. Richardson Hitchins is lightning fast, and understands the importance of having an edge over his opponents as far as conditioning is concerned. A huge part of his arsenal is to utilize interval training in order to build his levels of stamina.

What Is interval training and How Does It Benefit Athletes?

Interval Training is the process by which an individual will vary the duration of their cardiovascular workouts as well as their rest periods. Interval training with sprints has been shown to promote beneficial physiological adaptations, improving the capacity of healthy adults as relates to oxygen uptake and overall cardiometabolic health, providing the same results in significantly less time than regular steady state exercise. In contrast to High Intensity Interval Training, Interval Training may reduce the potential for overtraining since the lower-intensity recovery periods allow the body to adapt to stressors. Mixing up the duration and intensity of your workouts can also make training more mentally stimulating, reducing the chance of disengaging.

Boxer Richardson Hitchins lthrowing a right hook at the camera
Richardson Hitchins

How Does Richardson Hitchins Utilize Interval Training?

“Being conditioned is the number one rule in boxing,” says Hitchins. “Guys always try to come and if they can’t beat me in a boxing fight then they put on the pressure, and go to the body. And for me to be able to last in a fight, I’ll always have to be able to (throw) that snappy jab, have that footwork to evade and (have) that illusiveness because I’m not a still target, I don’t stand there for nobody, so I’m a guy that’s very tricky, very illusive, and I use a lot of movements in the ring, so I think to be able to do that for 12 rounds, versus a high calibre guy, your conditioning is the number one thing, because if a guy like me is conditioned, with my skills, and my talent, it would damn near be impossible to beat me unless you catch me with a lucky punch and knock me out, and I don’t see that happening.”

Richardson Hitchins embarks on a daily run of varying distances. “I run anywhere from 3 miles, to sometimes 8 miles,” he shares. And, the undefeated boxer also practices Interval Training inside the ropes. “Sometimes I’ll box anywhere from 8 rounds to 15 rounds,” he explains, adding that his team will even vary the duration of a round. “Sometimes we’ll put it on 4 minutes, and sometimes we’ll box 9 minutes straight,” says the fighter. It’s little wonder that Hitchins says he’s always entered a fight feeling that his conditioning is on point.

Of course, this hot prospect will need to be at the top of his game when he faces Zepeda on Saturday, broadcast live on DAZN from the Caribe Royale Hotel in Orlando, FL. Fortunately, Hitchins is backing himself all the way, and has undoubtedly learned a few lessons in confidence from his legendary mentor. “It’s like, I’m damn near perfect, you know what I’m saying?” asks Hitchins. “With the athleticism, the speed, the jab; one of the most masterful jabs in boxing, the most important punch. The defence, range control, everything that you would want in a fighter, I have. I think now, it’s just about my experience, getting experience in the ring to make me that complete fighter.”