IT may not be everyone's idea of the perfect place to train for a championship fight, but Willie Limond finds that Glasgow's Southern Necropolis, which has become something of a tourist attraction, fits his needs perfectly.
The Commonwealth light-welterweight champion discovered that the burial ground's steep terrain is ideal for stamina training.
Glaswegian Limond, who is due to make a first defence of his title against Cumbernauld-based South African Mitch Prince at Bellahouston Sports Centre a week tomorrow, resisted the urge to indulge in a spot of black humour by suggesting that he is a "dead cert" to "bury" his opponent.
However, he nevertheless raised a smile yesterday when describing the stunned expressions on the faces of visitors taken aback at the sight of him emerging from behind gravestones at speed while at the same time shadow boxing.
"They must have wondered if they were seeing some sort of apparition," he said. "There were a surprising number of people walking about with cameras taking photographs, but I don't suppose it's the sort of thing you expect to see in a cemetery.
"It was my conditioning coach George Fleming's idea. The gym was closed for work to be done on it and George suggested that the cemetery would be the ideal place to train because of the steep hills.
"It felt brilliant running in the fresh air in such peaceful surroundings. Mind you, some of the hills are so steep that you would need a harness to reach the top.
"But I enjoyed the experience and I would happily do it again. I used to go running up the Campsie Hills but now I don't need to when I've got the cemetery 10 minutes from my front door."
Limond says that his preparations have gone according to plan and that his trainer, Peter Harrison, has got him in tremendous shape, adding: "I will need to be because while it's hard to win a title, it's even harder to hold on to one.
"But I have only ever once lost a belt in the ring. The others I have given up voluntarily and I don't see me losing this one."
In Limond's last outing he stopped fellow Scot Eddie Doyle in just 116 seconds after stepping up a weight to win his Commonwealth strap in January. It was in sharp contrast to his meek display 18 months ago when he suffered a crushing British lightweight title defeat to Anthony Crolla.
This time, however, Limond has promised a show. He said: "I always like to better my last performance. I know bettering my last one will be hard but I've got myself in the best possible shape that I can."
Prince added: "I could not have asked for a better training camp and this is the fittest I have been in my life.
"In fact, I am in better shape than I thought possible, which is just as well, given that this will undoubtedly be the toughest fight of my career against a very good boxer.
"But I think the decisive factor will be that I am hungrier than Willie. I think I want it a lot more than he does because I have never been here before.
"When I win the title, it will be the biggest achievement of my career and propel me on to bigger and better things. I'm going to do it on June 7 – or die in the attempt."
Promoter Tommy Gilmour, who manages both fighters, added: "There is a huge amount at stake for both men beyond this fight in terms of European and British rankings."
Scottish middleweight champion Gary McCallum, from Castlemilk, will defend his crown against Wishaw's Ryan Scott, who is also undefeated, on the undercard.
Tickets priced £50 ringside and £40 unreserved seating for the seven-fight bill are available by calling 0141 810 5700.