Kristaps Porzingis can take a punch.
Recovering in only one week from his proper ankle bending sideways at ninety levels was no shock to Latvian boxing champion Mairis Briedis.
Briedis, the WBC cruiserweight champion, and Porzingis educated and boxed collectively for 2 weeks in July. Latvia’s two most well-known athletes have remained in touch throughout the season.
In an interview by way of e mail, Briedis advised The Submit in his native tongue he is aware of all about Porzingis’ unicorn methods. Briedis, who’s 23-zero, stated Porzingis might’ve been an elite boxer, too, if that was his focus.
“Kristaps is remarkably gifted as an athlete,’’ Briedis wrote, based on a translation. “It’s not about basketball being his sport. He confirmed expertise in boxing and different sports activities we tried collectively and was a really fast learner. Not everybody understands what’s requested from them and the way it ought to be executed as quick as Kristaps does. If it wasn’t for basketball, he may need been profitable in another sport he would have chosen. He’s very coordinated and sensible.”
Porzingis, 22, made his return to the courtroom Wednesday towards the Grizzlies and appeared very limber in his 18-level, defensive-powered, rim-defending effort. Briedis stated the boxing coaching ought to assist Porzingis throughout this season.
“Boxing let him work on these muscle teams that aren’t used that a lot in basketball,’’ Briedis wrote within the e mail. “It was one thing totally different for him and it helped him to develop his physique to be higher ready for the season.”
Sturdiness has been a query for Porzingis due to his slender, 7-foot-three body, however Briedis stated he believes his work ethic will overcome all.
“His willpower to coaching are on the highest degree,’’ Briedis wrote. “The work he did over the summer time was accomplished very professionally and he by no means seemed for shortcuts. The large quantity of labor he put in has to repay and get him higher and higher from season to season. Proper now he’s nonetheless on his approach to reaching his heights.’’
Porzingis advised The Submit he’d love nothing greater than head to abroad to observe Briedis’ belt unification bout towards WBO champion Oleksandr Usyk on Jan. 27 in Riga, Latvia. However the Knicks are ending up a western journey.
“He’s an excellent man, strong employee,’’ Porzingis informed The Submit. “Us Latvians, our personalites are cool and each of us are calm and like comparable issues. We keep in touch.’’
Porzingis’ relationship with Briedis has…