Former world boxing champion Ana "The Hurricane" Julaton, boxing coach Angelo Reyes and UFC fighter Frank Mir. Photo from www.AnaJulaton.com
MANILA Philippines – Former UFC heavyweight champion Frank Mir appears to be making his way back to title contention thanks to his Filipino coach.
Mir, who lost four straight fights, broke out of the slump by wrecking Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva in UFC Fight Night: Brazil barely two minutes into the first round.
Silva’s doom began when Mir caught him with a sneaky left hook that came right off the jab. He then trailed the Brazilian giant to the ground where he finished Silva with several elbows to the head.
Mir credited Filipino-American boxing coach Angelo Reyes, who reintroduced him to the boxing basics.
Reyes, who is now based in the US, also works as the striking coach of former world boxing champion Ana Julaton.
“Now my boxing, obviously it's improved, Angelo Reyes, he's put me on a different level now,” he said during a post-fight interview.
Mir said Reyes drilled him on the importance of the jab and how it sets up power punches.
“Angelo said, hey 'switch back to orthodox.' So I did… learn to box the correct way, got back to the roots, got back to the jab, set it up, it sets up everything,” Mir said.
Following his loss to Alistrair Overeem in February 2014, Mir took some time off from the sport to allow his body to heal from injuries. He then hooked up with several coaches, including grappling expert Ricky Lundell, to revamp his fight game in preparation for his return to the octagon last February.
“I added that last piece of the puzzle, Angelo Reyes, I started getting back into boxing, switching back to orthodox… I realized that boxing's under-utilized in our sport,” he said.
Before moving to the US in 1985, Reyes studied Kenpo karate while he was still living in Makati City. He received his blackbelt at the age of 21.
He began training students in martial arts in 1989 and began coaching in amateur boxing in 2002. Julaton became one of his students.
Reyes also said he received help from boxing legend, Freddie Roach, the famous trainer of Manny Pacquiao.
“I met Freddie Roach in 2006 and introduced him to Ana later that year. We all started working together shortly after and I'm lucky to have learned from a legend of the sport for so many years,” he said.
While preparing Mir for Silva, Reyes said he emphasized to his student the importance of the jab. Part of the strategy was introducing Mir to Julaton, who boasts an excellent jab.
“As you know Ana Julaton is considered by many experts to have one of the best jabs in boxing. So I had Ana show Frank how she threw her jab-left hook combo and how it sets up a right hand,” Reyes told ABS-CBN News in an interview. “I also had Frank watch [Oscar] De La Hoya, Joe Louis, Arturo Gatti, Thomas Hearns... etc.”
“We constantly worked on ‘sharpshooting’ with his Jab and a drill we call the ‘jab read’ which actually opens the opponent up for a quick left hook. Once Frank dropped Silva we all knew it was going to be over as Ricky Lundell teaches the most effective ground and pound finishes in all of MMA.”
Reyes believes that with continued training, Mir will be able to work his way back to title contention.