Jared “The Storm” Lovett - Pete Moscardi
Everything about 22-year-old Jared
Lovett reflects the very essence of a
fighter. In fact, it would be difficult to imagine this street-hardened light heavyweight doing anything else. Jared’s up close and personal relationship with the world of pugilism happened when he was just eight when he was introduced
to the Malvern Boxing Club in Johannesburg’s ‘deep south’. At nine he had his
first fight. Today the adult Lovett is a young man with striking good looks - as
his numerous female followers will attest – which do little to conceal the cold menace in the deep-set eyes.
“I later moved to a club in Regents Park
where I live which was then named the
W H Coetzer Boxing Club. Later my Dad, Aubrey, took this club over and in 2000
he started the South Side Boxing Club, which is where I still train today. My dad
has had a total influence on my boxing career and is my chief sparring partner,”
he says. That statement would hardly evoke feelings of envy in anyone as a
cursory glance at Aubrey Lovett reveals a battle-hardened fighter who was a
more than useful amateur junior-middleweight and who was, at one time,
chief sparring partner to the late Charlie Weir.
Jared’s amateur career was highly successful
and he bagged a number of titles
before turning professional. “I had 86 fights as a junior and senior of which I won 75. I was a district champion eight times and a provincial champion three times, twice as a senior. I won the South African light-heavyweight title in 2003 and, in the same year, also won my weight category in the SA Games. The last time I lost was back in 2002,” he recalls.
Lovett turned his back on the amateurs
in April 2008. Adopting the appropriate
nick-name of “The Storm”, he joined up with the Hot Box Gym’s stable of fighters, placing his professional career in the capable hands of leading trainer, Colin Nathan and his business partner, Brian Mitchell. Jared opened his account in
the professional ranks with a 2nd round TKO win over Gerson Singo at the Emperor’s Palace.
One does not have to probe too closely
to discover that Jared Lovett is not your
ordinary run-of-the-mill fighter. For starters, he has adopted a bizarre training
regimen. The fighter, who is so reminiscent of the movie character, Rocky in
so many aspects, gets up at around 10.30 and does 3km of endurance roadwork.
He then goes home and consumes a vitamin shake and some fruit before relaxing until 14.00. He will then run the 10km to the gym where he puts in a strenuous 90-minute workout, which includes training with weights.
Back home he will relax and catch a
few hours sleep. Then, at around 22.00
he will be back on the road again when he will again run to the gym. Although
almost impossible to perceive, Jared does his sparring between 23.00 and
midnight – spending a further 60 minutes working out in the ring before going
home to sleep until 10.30 when his day starts over. This strange timetable is carried out four days a week. On Sundays Jared will be found in the squash courts.
It’s 17h00 and the South Side gym in
the tough blue-collar suburb of Regents
Park is a hive of frenetic activity. Some 30 aspiring boxers, with ages ranging
from six to 20, furiously punch the heavy bags and shadow box. Outside on the
concrete forecourt others go through a skipping routine. But the standout figures
in this compact and crowded sweatshop are Jared and Aubrey Lovett. Aubrey controls the activities in the gym with rigid discipline – but this is interspersed
with frequent words of encouragement to boxers who have recently
competed in tournaments, with congratulations offered where applicable and commiserations to those who failed to get the win. It is obvious that he has a devoted following in the kids who train there.
Today Jared is
only having a light
workout. His upcoming
Oosthuizen is still weeks away. After a session of impossibly demanding callisthenics with a heavy medicine ball – which defies imagination – he breaks off to talk about his fight against the unbeaten Oosthuizen.
Looked at in the cold light of day, it is
a fight between two novice professionals
whose total fight records between them amount to no more than 17 fights. Yet
this fight on Rodney Berman’s Golden Gloves promotion on 11 July at the Emperor’s Palace will command top-of-the-bill status. This is something almost
unheard of – yet understandable considering the bitter rivalry between the two,
the enormous bands of fans and followers they both have, and the fact that
Lovett’s eight wins have come via the short route as have his opponent’s nine.
I ask Jared whether this is a genuine
grudge fight and whether they really do
dislike each other - or whether this is all just media hype to build up the fight. “I
would greet Tommy if I was to bump into him, but I would not go out of my way to be over friendly. I don’t have a problem with Tommy – but I know he is obsessed with beating me. I think it all stems from the fact that he was bitter that I picked up the Prospect of the Year Award at the last BSA Awards. But to me Tommy is just another opponent – whom I respect as I do all my other opponents.
“I am a fast starter, and if I can get in
close – as I intend to do – I don’t see
this fight going beyond three rounds. I can box if I have to, but my natural style
is as a fighter and I am going to make sure that I will be in Tommy’s face from
the start,” he says with genuine confidence. It will come as no surprise if this
‘main event’ fight between these two novice light-heavyweights really does
manage to steal the show on this mammoth Golden Gloves bill. Fans will be advised not to blink in this ‘bombs-away’ encounter.