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Sun., Mar. 08, 2015 1:30 PM PDT
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Heavyweight D.J. Fluker Goes the Distance by Boxing
Everything the offensive tackle does, he commits himself to 100%.
Overall, the second-year man out of Alabama was satisfied with his impressive rookie season. He was an All-Rookie Selection by the Pro Football Writers of America and was voted the Chargers Co-Most Inspirational Player, which is a rarity for rookies.
Still, Fluker felt he could have been stronger down the stretch, which is why he’s going the extra distance to improve his stamina and fitness. To that end, the 6-5, 339-pounder has fully committed himself to boxing, spending countless hours after practice at the House of Boxing.
“I had a good season, but I know I can be even better,” he said. “I’ve had no prior experience boxing. This is my first time doing anything like this, and I really think it’s going to help me a lot. It’s a lot of footwork and mechanics, but I think it’s really going to help late in the season, especially with my stamina.”
Fluker admitted he had a tough time playing in Denver’s high altitude, which is another driving force in his commitment to exhausting every avenue to improve himself.
“I also think it’s going to help playing in certain places like Denver when the air is thin,” he explained. “The way you breathe when you’re fighting is similar to that.”
Strength and Conditioning Boxing Coach Dale Soliven has worked with numerous NFL players over the past five years, but Fluker is the first offensive lineman to seek out this form of training.
“I’ve never had the opportunity to train an offensive lineman,” Soliven said. “The parallels between boxing and football are that they are both physical contact sports. The only difference is that football is a team sport and boxing is an individual. So the mental toughness of the boxing relates to football.”
Soliven also has a detailed workout plan catered to Fluker’s needs.
“We’re focused on strength, conditioning, stamina and footwork. I’ve studied the offensive linemen footwork very carefully, and it’s very similar to boxing in that they back step and backslide. What we’re working on for him is that burst of speed…It’s a match made in boxing heaven.”
The results of Fluker’s efforts have inspired his teammates to follow in his footsteps. Ladarius Green was the most recent Charger to visit the House of Boxing for a training session, and other teammates intend to visit the gym as well.