Mental coach Erik Bertrand Larssen, 49, has taken part in several adventure sports. Now he wants to help professional boxer Bernard Angelo Torres (27) climb to the top of the world.
The mental coach is close to stars like Petter Northug, Suzann Pettersen, Stig-Andre Berge, Martin Johnsrud Sundby and Casper Ruud.
– I had tears in my eyes when Berge secured Olympic bronze, and Johnsrud Sundby finally became world champion. Working with top people is special, Larssen told VG.
Now he works with the “skull” of Torres.
– It’s about figuring out what conditions you need to perform at your best. Bernard is very structured in his daily life, so we focus on combat situations, says Larssen.
Torres from Gran on Hadeland is a seemingly simple man. In the boxing ring, however, he is tireless and has 17 wins and one loss in his career.
After his first pro loss – against Frency Fortunato I in September – he felt like taking action.
– Something is missing, Torres told VG.
See Torres in action on VG+ Sport on Friday Evening:
Roar Sørum’s manager, son of coach Kjell Sørum, contacted Larssen and they arranged a meeting.
– There I heard about the special story of Bernard growing up in the Philippines and traveling to Norway. I met a very pleasant and humble man.
– Automatically there is something in me that wants to help him, says Larssen.
– Erik gives me security, and I can call him any time. He has helped me to focus on the small and simple things, said Torres.
– Have fun and enjoy boxing no matter what. I feel a completely different calm now, explained Torres, who meets Nasibu Ramadhani (33 wins, 17 losses) in the ring on Friday.
Larssen was part of the run-up when Torres crushed Christian Avila in January, and now he will be close again. A win would be a step towards what could soon become an EC match.
– The plan is to be with you all the way to the top, said Larssen excitedly.
– Is there anything about martial arts that triggers you extra?
– I haven’t thought about it, but there is something there… I actually started my career with Berge (wrestling) and Nina Solheim (taekwondo) at Olympiatoppen.
– This is especially interesting with martial artists, because the mental aspect has a lot to say. You stand there alone like a gladiator. Then it’s clear that means a little more stubborn, says Larssen, who also assists MMA athlete Marthin Hamlet.
Manager Roar Sørum believes Erik Bertrand Larssen has taken Torres “up a few notches”.
– He’s very generous, and doing this for free. We really appreciate that, said Sørum.
– The athletes with whom I have worked mostly do it in their free time. There are few athletes in Norway who can afford mental training. I still get a lot in return, and that’s good marketing, says Larssen and concludes:
– What pleases me the most is the feeling that I am one small part of one big success that has been contributed by many people.
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