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Joanne Calderwood: Sparring partner in ‘strict quarantine’ to help prepare for Valentina Shevchenko

Joanne Calderwood
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Joanne Calderwood has had to take special precautions in her preparation for her UFC title fight with Valentina Shevchenko and even has a sparring partner in “strict quarantine” to help her sharpen her tools for the highly anticipated bout.

“Jojo” revealed that her bout with the flyweight queen had been postponed on this week’s episode of MMA Fighting’s Eurobash podcast. Shevchenko subsequently confirmed to MMA Fighting that the fight would happen at a later date than it was initially scheduled for - UFC 251 in Perth, Australia on June 6.

That being said, Calderwood is still readying herself for the biggest moment of her career.

“Considering what we’re going through right now, everyone knows the world is kind of upside down right now, apart from that everything is going really good,” Calderwood told Eurobash.

“I’m lucky enough to be engaged to my coach and training has not really stopped. I’m just missing all of my training partners. To be honest, this time around we’ve had a lot more time to do fight study and game planning, so I’m kind of enjoying this downtime.”

Calderwood admitted that the pandemic is causing some anxiety when she sees how some people are reacting to the push for self-isolation.

“It’s crazy, it kind of makes me worried because even last week there were lots of kids in the park,” she said. “I’m even seeing on my social media, even with people who are part of the gym, they’re out meeting other people. But this week, I think, people have kind of gone, ‘Okay, sh*t - this is serious,’ because obviously, Trump has now ordered another 30-day [quarantine]...he’s extended it to April 30 before everything goes back to normal, so I think people are starting to get it.”

Calderwood, on the other hand, has been doing everything by the book:

“I was always the one who was on the bandwagon straightaway; I kept myself to myself. I’m one of these people that doesn’t want to do anything wrong. Even if people are saying, ‘This is bulls*it,’ or, ‘I don’t believe in it - it’s just a flu,’ I’m one of these people that lives by the rules. Straightaway, I was on top of this. It’s strange times, I feel like I’m living in a movie, but I’m trying to stay positive.”

As well as the virtual reality sparring sessions she has posted online, Calderwood revealed that she has one sparring partner who is quarantined for the cause ahead of her title bid.

“We have another girl who is in strict quarantine, so we’re keeping our circle small. Obviously we’re cleaning the gym before and after. Everything is closed, but she’s the only person. It’s only me and my coach and her right now. She’s a really great, hard, southpaw training partner. We’re getting some great work in and I trust her. We’re just doing lots of drilling and lots of game planning.”

Check out Joanne Calderwood’s interview on this week’s Eurobash. It begins at 15:30.