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“I feel like I did need that fight, and it felt good just not having any changes because my past couple fights have been “switch-up fights” where something went wrong and then you go and fight a guy you weren’t planning on fighting,” said Giles, who was once again tasked with making on-the-fly adjustments as he readies for battle. “It was good to have that steady face — that guy you know you’re getting ready to fight and then it goes all the way through and you actually fight him.

“I definitely need that steadiness of knowing, ‘Okay, I’m fighting Bevon’ and then to actually go in there, have the camp for him, and be able to just prepare and go out there and execute. It’s something I needed, and it’s got me some more momentum now, so hopefully I can keep that going.”

Dealing with opponent changes is part of the gig as a professional fighter and has become even more commonplace over the last 12 months as the COVID-19 pandemic has limited travel, altered plans, and wreaked havoc with everyday life.

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But even though competitors know it’s always a possibility, a shift in opponent can be like a pitcher throwing a change-up when you’re sitting on a fastball, especially when it happens late in camp.

“Internally and mentally, you get your mind fixed on one guy and that style,” said Giles, who can at least rely on his wealth of experience in dealing with this latest change in dance partners. “Fighting is stressful, so even getting some ease about ‘this is the guy I’m going to fight’ because you get to see him over and over and over on tape, get used to the way he moves is important.

“Then all of a sudden it’s like, ‘WOW!’ and it’s not him anymore and you have to put an abrupt reset on everything and go fight this new face.”


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