Catching up with National Team Member Duke Ragan

Feb. 27, 2017, 1:57 p.m. (ET)

After two weeks in Kazakhstan, the elite men of Team USA are heading back to Colorado Springs to prepare for their first tournament of 2017, the Chemistry Cup. USA Boxing caught up with newcomer Duke Ragan who currently stands as the number one bantamweight in the nation and joins the USA Boxing High Performance Squad for the first time. 


  • You began 2017 by spending almost a month at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, how was that first training camp for you?

My first training camp was really good. I got to work with a lot of different boxing styles and fighters, and working with the coaches and learning how they teach. It’s all new to me, but I liked it.


  • What were your expectations or goals for your first National Team Training Camp?

My expectations and goals were to show USA Boxing and the coaches that I came to work and not to play. I did everything they told me to do or even asked. My goal was to prove that I was a workhorse.


  • What is the day-to-day schedule like when you are training in Colorado Springs?

My day-to-day schedule while training in Colorado Springs would start with weigh-ins, followed by our morning run. We would have strength and conditioning, and then we would go rest or go to any appointments or meetings that were scheduled. We would have our boxing session around 3:00 or 4:00 for a couple hours to close out the day.


  •  What is the biggest difference between training at the Olympic Training Center and your home gym in Ohio?

The biggest difference in training in Colorado Springs than home is the climate. It was really hard to breathe,  especially with it being my first time out in Colorado. I wasn’t used to it, but by the end of camp I got used to it. 


  • You spent two weeks training with Team Great Britain during January’s multi-nation camp, what was it like training with them?

The first Multi Nation Camp with Great Britain was great training with them. Like I said before, I  got to work with a lot of different styles, like pressure fighters, slick fighters, all types of fighters. It was also my first time ever even working with an international fighter. I loved it!


  • What was the biggest thing you learned from training with them?

The biggest thing I learned from them was to just stay on my jab no matter what kind of fighter  I am boxing. Whenever my jab is working, I'm doing great.


  • Your first international trip with Team USA was to Kazakhstan for your second Multi Nation Camp, what was the day-to-day routine like there?

We had weigh-ins in the morning followed right after was breakfast. After we ate, we got to rest for about an hour or two before going to strength and condition or going for a run at the track and field. Once that morning workout was done, we would go shower, have lunch and then get about an hour of rest. That afternoon we would go as a team to the boxing session with everyone, then have dinner and go to bed!


  • What was the most important lesson you learned from your time in Kazakhstan?

The biggest thing I learned from Kazakhstan camp was to not let other fighters and the crowd get in my head because I kept getting off focus in the ring when I was hearing them. I felt like I have to get more of a tunnel vision, because it is going to be like that now that we will be fighting internationally.


  • When not boxing in Kazakhstan, what did you do? Did you get to explore or go see any sights?

We played a lot of games on our free time. We also went to the mall a few times and to an outside museum. I even got to feed pigeons for the first time!


  • You had a week in between Kazakhstan and the next training camp, what were you looking forward to the most during your week home?

My daughter was born while I was away, so all I was looking forward to doing was meeting and spending time with her and the mother of my child, because before you know it, I will be gone again.


  • What are your goals for this upcoming training camp before heading to the Chemistry Cup?

My goals are to get in complete condition, give my all, work hard and stay focused. I know I'll do great at Chemistry Cup because everything starts with condition, condition will beat talent any day.


  • What are your goals and expectations for the Chemistry Cup?

My goals and expectations is to fight hard, give 100% and bring back the gold to my family. I know there will be tough fights, but I'll get through them day-by-day.


  • Being apart of Team USA means a lot of time away from home and a grueling schedule, what keeps you motivated to get through these camps and long team trips?

My family back home, my daughter and the mother of my child. Me being away hurts because Allah knows how much I wanna be there with them, but I try to look at it as I'm doing all this for them. I tell them everyday that I'm doing this for them and that I'll be home soon.


  • What are your goals for the rest of 2017?

My goals for the rest of 2017 is to win and train hard, while taking care of my family.  I have to keep grinding and stay focused.