SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ -- Everyone knows it takes hard work, discipline, dedication and perseverance to get to the top, or in my case, to become a world champion. People realize its tough but most think you just have to do it. Not that easy. Its extremely hard motivating yourself as I'm sure most can understand if you try to apply it to everyday challenges: trying to lose weight, quit smoking or drinking, or choosing a healthier lifestyle. You find out that you need some sort of support system to help you along. Here is my journey to winning the WBC super bantamweight world title on Feb 4, 2017, in Houston.

Both the easiest and most difficult decision I had to make was to go away to training camp which we've dubbed "Do The Right Thing!" Due to my daily commitment as a trainer it was imperative for me to focus totally on training. It would be almost impossible for me to immerse myself in training if I stayed in NY/NJ. My first support came in the shape of my husband Matthieu, Yeti MMA and Gleason's Gym. Everyone stepped up to ensure that I wouldn't have to worry about anything but getting ready for my title fight. This made my choice to go to training camp in Florida much easier. Florida was actually a perfect choice. Not only did I have family there (i.e. a free place to stay), it was warm. Something that was super important with running being a staple of training. I'm Jamaican! Warmth is of utmost importance to me.

My second move, was training staff. In order to be the best, you not only have to surround yourself with the best but make certain the chemistry of your team uplifts you and therefore create a conducive working environment. The encouragement and positive energy you receive will contribute to a promising outcome. My trainer Ada 'Ace' Velez was previously a multi-boxing world champion and her personality makes the rigorous training bearable. The 2-3 a day training sessions which included strength and conditioning, weight training, boxing, sparring and of course, running. Coach Ace's mantra? Even on your rest day, you have to run.

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My first 10 days of training in the nutshell:

  • Thursday: arrived in FL.  Evening: Conditioning then run
  • Friday:   Morning: Conditioning, run  Afternoon: weights  Night: boxing drills
  • Saturday:  Morning:  6 rounds of sparring. Late afternoon: run 30 minutes
  • Sunday: Day off - run 30 minutes with weights
  • Monday: Morning: sprints conditioning. Afternoon: weights. Evening: boxing
  • Tuesday: Morning: boxing drills . Afternoon: run
  • Weds:  Morning: 10 rounds sparring - 4 opponents  Evening: leisurely run
  • Thursday:  Morning: running drills. Evening: boxing drills.
  • Friday: Afternoon: 10 rounds of sparring - 3 opponents. Evening: weights
  • Saturday: Morning: beach training including running 
  • Sunday: Morning: 30 minutes run. Afternoon: weights

Training is not glamorous and its without question draining. The one good thing about being in camp is it gives you time for much needed rest in between training. Something I definitely wouldn't be able to do if I wasn't in camp. But for me the prize is certainly worth the pain.

Alicia "Slick" Ashley

Editor's Note: Alicia Ashley, age 48, is training for her WBC super bantamweight world title on Feb 4, 2017, in Houston.  She is documenting her time in training camp and what it takes to become a champion in a series, “Road to a Champion,” that will run in TAPintoSPF. She will share her thoughts and provide inspiration. Alisha is an instructor at Yeti MMA in Scotch Plains.