A BOXER has been acclimatising to fight in the extreme heat of the Middle East – by training in Sunderland.

Super-lightweight Darren Surtees is preparing for his fight in Saudi Arabia by training at Sunderland University’s multimillion pound science complex, which has a heat chamber designed to give elite athletes exposure to extreme temperatures.

The 24-year-old, from Durham, will have to contend with temperatures of more than 40 degrees in Jeddah, where he is on the bill for the fight between George Groves and Callum Smith in the WBSS super-middleweight showpiece tomorrow.

The Northern Area light welterweight champion is taking on Kane Baker.

He said: “The chamber recreates the conditions that I’ll be fighting in and it’s been helpful in getting me used to higher temperatures. It’s hard work but it’s necessary for when you’re fighting somewhere like Jeddah.”


Overseeing the training was Dr David Archer, senior lecturer in exercise physiology and sports nutrition.

He said: “Temperatures in Jeddah will be in their 40’s during the day and in the 30’s at night, so it’s essential Darren’s body is suitably acclimatised to this.

“We exposed Darren to the higher temperatures over the period of a week, meaning that by the time he flew out to Saudi Arabia, he was, physically, already adjusted.

“This type of acclimatisation is essential when a boxing match takes place in such extremes. Darren could be fighting for between 30 and 40 minutes and to cope in that kind of heat his body needs to be adapted.”


Joining him in training was Sunderland Commonwealth title holder Glenn Foot, 30, who is getting ready for a fight at Newcastle’s Metro Arena on October 13.

He said: “He said: “Unlike Darren, I’m not fighting in extreme temperatures but the climatic chamber has been brilliant in giving me the edge to my training that I need.

“You work harder, you sweat more and it takes a lot out of you, it just adds another dimension to the work you’re doing.”