Coach Colin McCash helps add the final piece of the jigsaw for Phoenix Camp fighter Joshua Holmes

Strength and conditioning coach Colin McCash (left) with boxer Joshua Holmes at Salute Fitness in Burnley
Strength and conditioning coach Colin McCash (left) with boxer Joshua Holmes at Salute Fitness in Burnley

Former paratrooper Colin McCash has told Phoenix Camp fighter Joshua Holmes that he’ll improve as an athlete after adding the final piece to the jigsaw.

The 42-year-old strength and conditioning coach, who owns Salute Fitness in Burnley, has vowed to get his new client in the best shape of his life.

McCash, who previously governed Ultimate Physique in Accrington, before working out of Exercise4Less and DW Gym, has a background in boxing and feels that his own experience and expertise will only benefit the unbeaten super lightweight.

The Dundee-born CrossFit competitor got a taste for the sport alongside Arthur Walsh representing Lancashire Constabulary and then turned professional with Sandygate ABC stalwart Burt Myers.

He made his debut in 2000, drawing with Mark Paxford in Wrexham in a super welterweight contest and followed that up with another stalemate against debutant Dean Walker.

A first defeat at the hands of Neil Bonner in Warrington was sandwiched in-between victories over Chris Steele and Simeon Cover, though his career closed with setbacks against Ryan Kerr and Danny Moir.

“Hindsight is a great thing, but if I knew back then what I know now it would have been a completely different story,” McCash said.

“I wasn’t training properly and I was taking fights when I wasn’t really ready for them. I made mistakes so the advice I would give to any young fighter now is condition yourself from the vein right through.

“There’s nowhere to hide in a boxing ring so you do get found out. That’s what happened to me, I was trying to take shortcuts. I was missing things out, but you need all aspects of training.

“You need the sparring, you need the road work, you need the ground work, the strength and conditioning, the diet. Everything needs to be on point.

“If you start taking any of that away you will get found out somewhere down the line. I’ve learnt that and now I’ll pass that on to anybody who comes here to train with me.

“I live that life now, I train and I eat right. It’s easy for me to pass this information on because I do it day in day out. It works for me, I compete in CrossFit and I do quite well at it. I think it all goes hand in hand.”

The name of the training hub in Disraeli Street is a nod to his former comrades in the Parachute Regiment.

But it’s also indicative of the high octane, heart pumping, almost militant type of sessions that McCash promotes.

While Holmes is new to the discipline, and a gentle approach has been necessary, the one-time Eastburn ABC representative has still been subjected to a gruelling catalogue of exercise.

McCash’s methods are tried and tested, he relies on compound movements, incorporating Olympic type lifts.

These include deadlifts, squatting, lunging, power cleans, shoulder exercises, core work as well as more plyometric routines.

“I’m a bit old fashioned and I’m a believer that you shouldn’t try fixing something if it isn’t broke,” he said. “I stick to the compound lifts and the Olympic lifts and the explosive, plyometric type training, the functional training.

“It will strengthen his core, back and legs. He’ll be less injury prone by conditioning and developing these muscle fibres. It will do him nothing but good.

“It’ll help him as a boxer and as a man. We don’t need to do anything complicated, we don’t need to do anything silly, we just do deadlifts, squatting, lunging, power cleans, shoulder exercises, core work.

“It’s not rocket science, even though some people try to glamorise it as being more than what it is. I just strip it all down. Every fighter needs this, sports science has come a long way.

“This is just a little piece of the jigsaw that goes alongside his boxing. It’s all about what’s in his heart and in his head, his discipline, his dedication, his coaches, his management, getting the right fights at the right time, the right sparring, there’s a lot involved. It’s been a pleasure to work with him. I’m here to help.”

Holmes has impressed in both his professional bouts to date, out-pointing Naheem Chaudhry on his bow at King George’s Hall and then outclassing Dylan Draper at Colne Muni in June.

Ahead of Saturday's four round fight against Swedish southpaw Edward Bjorklund, McCash said: “I think this will help Josh engage his muscle fibres, it’ll help his explosive power.

“There’s no doubt he’s an athlete, he’s fit, he’s shredded, he’s a professional, but after one session he called me to tell me that he was hurting in places he never knew he could hurt.

“We’d hardly done anything so imagine going forward what this is going to do for him. He’ll be engaging those muscle fibres he didn’t know he had.

“We’ll leave no little rocks unturned. I’ve been up and down sparring and the punches just bounce off me because I’m physically strong. It makes a big, big difference.

“This type of strength and conditioning training will make his legs strong, it’ll make him sharper, he’ll be able to get in and out of range quicker. I think it will make him a 50% better fighter.

“This is what’s been missing from his training and he’ll benefit from it massively. He’ll feel physically stronger in there because he’ll be used to moving weight around, it’ll strengthen his hands, he’ll be able to man handle his opponents better in the clinches, he won’t get pushed back as easily, his neck will be strong.”

Meanwhile, Sam Larkin has been forced to withdraw from the card through injury.

The 28-year-old super-featherweight fighter had been scheduled to take on Zimbabwean Taka Bembere in his fourth contest as a professional.