Hill training fightersIt’s been nearly two years since Virgil Hill last fought, and he still wants one more send-off bout in North Dakota. But in the meantime, he’s found a way to stay in the game.
BISMARCK (AP) — It’s been nearly two years since Virgil Hill last fought, and he still wants one more send-off bout in North Dakota. But in the meantime, he’s found a way to stay in the game.
Through his gym in New Jersey, former world light heavyweight and cruiserweight champ is now training fighters.
“Training really helps take the place of being in the ring,” Hill said. “You still get to compete even though it’s in a completely different way. Even though I’m not in there myself, I get to help them prepare.”
The 45-year-old Hill admits he has a different attitude toward preparation when he’s in the role of mentor than he does when he’s fighting.
“I’m a very strict trainer, which is funny, because sometimes I would be a little lax in training,” Hill said.
Hill said he doesn’t take the lead trainer’s role. Instead he defers to Mike Hall and Al Larsien, his longtime cornermen, to run the show.
“I don’t take the middle,” he said. “I carry the spit bucket and stay on the sides. I still have to learn.”
Hill is not just working with boxers. He is helping to train mixed martial artists, where his background in youth wrestling is a plus.
“I follow (MMA) about as much as I follow boxing, not a lot. But when the big fights come on, I think it’s great,” Hill said.
Though Hill hasn’t fought since losing to Firat Arslan in November 2007, he said he’d like to fight at least one more time in the state where he made his name. He said the details still have to be worked out.
“I’ve always considered all of North Dakota my home, not just one particular place,” he added. “... I would like to have one more send-off fight there.”