Jake Gyllenhaal: ‘Southpaw’ Star Joins SportsCenter, Talks About His Fighter Body

Jake Gyllenhaal recently joined ESPN’s SportsCenter. No, he didn’t host a major sporting event. The Southpaw star spoke out about his experience with training for boxing and getting ripped for the film.

Gyllenhaal, 34, says that boxing has totally changed nowadays. He realized that it’s no longer about the sport. Instead, it’s more about the money.

“But I think the sport of boxing is not the same anymore. It’s driven by money than the ideas of will and hope like it was before. I think movies have the opportunity to bring it back, which is why I like this movie because it’s all about family and fighting for family not just what boxing has sort of become recently, which is about money.”

The actor also addressed the reports that claimed he did 1,000 sit-ups a day to get in tip top shape. Jake said that even though he had to do a lot of sit-ups, it required more than that to get jacked up for his role.

“I don’t really know how many sit-ups I did. I only get asked how many sit-ups I did, as if training for boxing is only about sit-ups. I did a lot of sit-ups. You pull a lot of punches from your core and your legs. It’s all about footwork ultimately, so you need that strong core. I was forced to do tons and tons of sit-ups. I don’t know how many, really.”

Gyllenhaal’s transformation was more than physical. He wanted to make sure that he looked like a boxer and had the mind of a boxer.

“My concern was to look like a boxer. The fear of looking like I didn’t know how to box [on screen].”

The actor was ready to transform himself into a professional boxer with the help of trainer Terry Claybon. He told People magazine that Jake had to start from the bottom since he had no previous boxing experience. Terry also noted that it was important for Jake to learn and improve on his footwork.

“We started from the ground level, which is the perfect boxing stance. We started him off with great footwork, great defense, and then we went into sharp, direct punches.”

Gyllenhaal trained hard for the next eight months. Claybon gradually increased Gyllenhaal’s workout routine, which then focused on his boxing skills and strength training. His routine included more than just sit-ups. It also included jump ropes, bag drills, pull-ups, dips, and running. Of course, it included sit-ups, but it wasn’t a big part of Gyllenhaal’s routine, as previously noted by the media.

“We had a 300-lb. tractor tire that we would have to flip over 20 times. Then we had a sledgehammer drill where he’s hitting the tire with a sledgehammer for three minutes nonstop – that was a really intense drill. We also had squat drills where he was doing speed squats for two sets of 100.”

Jake Gyllenhaal’s Southpaw film released in theaters on Friday, July 24. It’s received mixed reviews, so it’ll be interesting to see if it’ll take a hit at the box office this coming weekend.

[Image: Cindy Ord/Getty Images for SiriusXM]