On Wednesday 14th June at around 1230am in the morning, there was a devastating fire at the Grenfell Tower block in Latimer Road. This is close to where I grew up.
It’s heart-breaking to see the footage of the building on fire. I had friends that witnessed the Tower block in flames with the screams of the residents for help gripping their chests so tightly.
I had tears in my eyes as I watched the news that morning.
I met a few survivors but there were 120 flats with 600 occupants. Under 100 people have been rescued, so logically, there are 500 that are still “missing”. Days have now passed by and they still have not been found.
For whatever reason, the media are reporting low numbers of deaths. Everyone on the ground knows it’s in the hundreds. Tension is building!
Residents of the surrounding area are upset and mad at the lax manner that the situation has been handled by the council that runs the borough of Kensington and Chelsea. There is no support on the ground from the council or the Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation (TMO) that badly managed the blocks in the first place.
Those who are responsible for this tragedy need to go to prison as too many lives have been lost, and all due to the continuous cost cutting measures.
It is worth just reminding everyone that this was corporate manslaughter, this is already clear from the available information and the stories of the survivors.
The leader of the Labour party, Jeremy Corbyn visited the area and many locals were very pleased to see him and instantly rallied around him. He met with survivors and showed genuine concern.
Prime Minister, Theresa May, came twice and never met any survivors. I happened to be there to witness the anger and frustration of the locals as Theresa rushed away into her Range Rover. She appears totally out of touch and has no understanding and has zero empathy with what they have been through.
Her handling of the situation has been terrible and shameful.
As I looked at Grenfell Tower, I was filled with sadness and sorrow for the people that had to go through this catastrophic event. Its soul has gone. The women and men, the elderly and the kids that died in there is beyond cruel.
Survivors have heart rending stories about tripping over bodies on the landings and on the staircase as all tried to save their lives and the lives of those who were struggling to get out on their own.
I was born a mile away from Grenfell Tower. My heart goes out to everyone who lived in that building – alive or dead.
It’s been touching and progressive to see London come together, volunteer and donate but under these circumstances it is too high a price to pay for us coming together – it’s very painful.
I’m a proud west Londoner. We are more than a community. We are family. It will never be the same again in that neighbourhood.
“Bad things do happen; how I respond to them defines my character and the quality of my life. I can choose to sit in perpetual sadness, immobilized by the gravity of my loss, or I can choose to rise from the pain and treasure the most precious gift I have – life itself” – Walter Anderson
It’s been a very long training camp that saw me start off in London and end it this week in Las Vegas. Five months of work for one victory.
Sacrifice and dedication have lead me to my 40th professional victory in my 14th year as a professional.
Only three other active British fighters have more wins than me. Being active for so long is hard to do in boxing. I’m on the final stretch of my career, but what a career it has been.
British champion, International champion three times, world title challenger. I’ve now fought and won in five countries.
I’m proud of myself but I’m not done – just yet.
I attended the recent mega fight between Andre Ward and Sergei Kovalev at the T-Mobile arena. This fight was the biggest since Floyd Mayweather fought Manny Pacquiao.
I was sat next to boxing legends Lennox Lewis, Pernell Whitaker and Ronald ‘Winky’ Wright plus current WBC super-middleweight champion, Badou Jack. Not bad company to be surrounded by. The UK’s number one promoter, Eddie Hearn, was sat just behind us.
Robert Byrd, who refereed the mega fight, has been keeping his refereeing skills sharp at the Mayweather Boxing Club. It was a fantastic experience to have him work closely with us, refereeing my sparring sessions.
2017 looks to be a massive year for me. I closed 2016 headlining in Las Vegas. I’m a kid from Paddington, west London. Floyd Mayweather has let it be known he wants me to get back into big fights, so that’s great motivation. The hard work and incredible story continues.
To think I made my debut at York Hall in Bethnal Green. Some 13 years later I’m headlining in Las Vegas and part of Floyd Mayweather’s boxing team.
I’m lucky to have great team around me. Without them I would never have gotten this far. So, thank you to them.
What a way to end 2016 with victory number 40.
Surround yourself with people who have dreams, desire and ambition; they will help you push for and realize your own.
Ashley ‘Treasure’ Theophane was born in Paddington, London on August 30th, 1980. He dreamed of becoming a professional boxer as a child. At 5 years old, he would stay up watching all the big fights in Las Vegas and hoping to one day become part of the boxing industry. After taking up boxing in his younger years, Ashley decided to make his dreams a reality when he turned pro at the age of 23. He is now based in the entertainment capital of the world and has elevated his career within the sport of boxing as part of the Mayweather Promotions team. Read below to find out more about our featured fighter, Ashley Theophane.
Q: Which athletes did you look up to the most growing up and why?
As I was growing up, I looked up to Michael Johnson, Mike Tyson, and Andre Agassi. They were the best at what they did and entertained audiences at the same time. I took up boxing, tennis, and other sports because of them.
Q: What’s the best part of being a professional boxer?
To me, there are many positive aspects when it comes to being a boxer. I’m originally from London and now based in America. I’ve had the opportunity to travel the world. I’ve had fights in America, Saint Lucia, Germany, and Luxembourg. I’ve met so many people throughout my career. I would never have the opportunity to meet these people if I wasn’t a pro boxer.
It’s an amazing feeling to achieve your goals.
Q: What is the most challenging thing for you in this sport?
The most challenging for me is the sacrifice you have to make to achieve your dreams. You need tunnel vision. You need to work hard and dedicate your all to what you’re doing. I’m very focused. All my energy goes to this sport. It takes a very strong-minded person to be a pro boxer.
Q: How did you get involved in boxing?
I used to watch boxing with my dad when I was around 4 or 5 years old. It was just something I always wanted to do. I would see all the big fights in Las Vegas and just remember thinking that I wanted to be a part of that industry. It has motivated me to continue accomplishing my dream. Thirty years later, I’m now based in Vegas and signed to the number one boxer in the world. That’s an incredible experience in itself.
Q: What has been the biggest motivation for you to pursue your goals?
Like I’ve mentioned before, I’m originally from London. I was born in the city of Westminster and raised in Brent. I was surrounded by poverty and crime as a youngster. I didn’t want that life for myself. I wanted to go out into the world and live my dream. Making a better life for myself has always been the motivation.
Q: What are the most memorable moments in your career?
Some of the most memorable moments for me were fighting in my father’s homeland of St. Lucia, becoming the British champion, beating Delvin Rodriguez in July 2010 was a surreal experience, and not to mention, getting signed to Mayweather Promotions. That’s just incredible. These are the four things I’m most proud of. I feel incredibly blessed. All these experiences all lead me to where I am now.
Q: You have twenty seconds to give advice to someone who wants to pursue a career in this industry. What would you say?
You need to surround yourself with a great team. That’s the key. You only can do so much by yourself. You need a great team to support you and believe in you. The people behind you can lift you to great heights if you work hard and dedicate yourself to the sport.
Q: If you could act as a character in any movie, which character would it be and why?
I’d love to be Superman! I would love to have the ability to fly around the planet and save people. That would be so much fun. I have to admit though that sometimes I feel like I have super powers!
Q: What other sports do you enjoy playing or watching?
I really enjoy swimming! That’s something I like to do in my free time. I watch tennis, soccer and other sports, but tennis and soccer are mostly what I gravitate towards.
Q: What would you like to say to your fans?
I’d like to thank my fans for the support and well wishes. I’ve received so much love in London. It’s amazing. My fans in America and across the world have all really shown me a lot of support as well. I just want to thank them all so much for all the love!
Against all the odds, I got myself to the pinnacle of boxing. The Mount Everest of my sport.
I fought the biggest name in my division, and held my own for eight rounds.
Two of the judges had me winning rounds one and two. Through eight rounds of boxing I won four of the rounds on the judge’s scorecards. There was four rounds to go with absolutely nothing in it.
I had won rounds six and seven. Adrien seemed to be feeling the pace. I had started the fight well. In the middle rounds I closed the gap. Then suddenly the referee stopped the fight, immediately after I was hit with an illegal low blow in the ninth round. He completely misread my reaction – I told him I’d just been hit low and to my amazement, he stopped the fight.
I was shocked, stunned and hugely disappointed by his actions.
Many in attendance and viewers watching across the world were as confused by the referee, Luis Pabon.
Leonard Ellerbe, President of Mayweather Promotions, had just come to my corner to say “You’re doing good”.
My dream was shattered by a bad mistake from the referee. I gave my all for eight rounds, therefore I have no regrets.
Over the next two days, the residents of Washington DC surrounded me and were warm and generous with their praise and their feelings. They showed me genuine love. I honestly couldn’t go to the bathroom without being asked for a photo. It really mattered a lot to me.
The many messages of support from across the world were really heartfelt and touching.
Floyd Mayweather shared with me that after a couple more wins and I’ll be fighting for the world title again. I appreciate this man so much.
People don’t get to see the caring side of him and what a good and huge heart he has. I’ll forever be grateful to him.
Adrien Broner sent me a text message and tweet to say what a great fight we had and how tough I am.
For a 12-1 underdog, I held my old with a four weight world champion, a young legend.
I’m still disappointed I didn’t win. It hurts me that it didn’t go the twelve rounds. I believed 100% I would win.
Floyd told me before the fight. “Go out there and give your best. Win this title and be a part of history”. I really tried, but referees make mistakes and the referee’s one mistake, cost me the fight.
The last few months have been amazing. My training team did a remarkable job. I was in the best shape of my life, so huge thanks to Dave Brown, Nate Jones, Bob Ware and Marcele Johnson.
Floyd Mayweather, Al Haymon, Leonard Ellerbe and Dejuan Blake thank you for the opportunity to change my life. I’m forever grateful.
Last but not least, René Carayol, we met exactly five years ago. We had a goal to get to where we now are, and thank you for seeing the potential in me I really never saw.
To my Mum, Dad and my brother. It was great to see you guys here in America. Thank you for believing in my dream for so many years in London.
I owe you guys everything.
I’ll be back! Stay tuned.
So, we are here in the nation’s Capital. Washington, DC.
I’ve always wanted my career defining fight and Floyd Mayweather has kindly delivered it for me.
Adrien “The Problem” Broner, the four weight world champion.
The biggest name in my weight division. And of course I’m the underdog, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’ve been the underdog my whole life, my whole boxing career.
It’s been a hell of a struggle, but at the same time I’ve had loads of joy along the way.
I became world number 4 against the odds. I became British champion. I have shared the ring with some accomplished fighters like Delvin Rodriguez, Danny Garcia, Pablo Cesar Cano, DeMarcus Corley and Lenny Daws.
I signed to Mayweather Promotions in 2013. I’m very proud of myself.
I now have my biggest challenge, Adrien “The Problem” Broner.
I’m relishing it and looking forward to it, as I believe I can win. I set high expectations of myself.
On Fight night, I aim to make myself proud with my career best performance.
We had the final press conference today. Adrien was his usual self. I kept calm and composed. I’m confident. It’s just about performing on fight night.
The weigh in is tomorrow at 1pm and then battle will commence Friday night at the DC Armory.
I’m currently WBA world number 9. Friday I aim to be the WBA world champion.
My career defining fight is now less than four weeks away.
I’m a big underdog. But, what’s new? When have I not been?
Having been born in one of the poorest parts of London – surrounded by unemployment, crime and poverty and a distinct lack of hope or ambition.
To have got this far is already an achievement in itself.
If I only focused on what people thought of me, I’d stay in bed instead of pushing myself every day. I respect any person who has to work for their dreams and goals. It surely isn’t easy.
Boxing Legend Eddie Mustafa Muhammad had offered me some words of wisdom as three of his world champion fighters, Iran Barkley, Michael Bent and Herbie Hide all caused huge upsets, when they were not given a chance. “You can beat this guy, Ashley.”
I’m privileged to be surrounded by champions Floyd Mayweather, Badou Jack, Ishe Smith, and Roger Mayweather. Positive energy is everything. These guys have achieved what I crave, so their knowledge is something I respect and soak up.
From the moment when four time world champion, Adrien Broner, called me out, back in October, after he reached legendary status with his fourth championship at the age of 26 years old – it’s been ‘go’ time.
I joined my promoter, Floyd Mayweather for his recent London appearance, as part of his European tour, at the London Hilton Hotel on Park Lane.
I did a number interviews with Sky Sports, and many other channels and news outlets.
I’ve put in my work at the All Stars Boxing Club in Paddington, London and I’m finishing it off at the Mayweather Boxing Club here in Las Vegas.
I’m in great shape right now, and I’m looking forward to fight night. It’s going to be extremely hard. I’m not preparing for a boxing match, I’m preparing for an all-out war. From round 1 to 12 inclusive – I expect us to be giving our all.
The champion has gone on the record that he is going to “knock me out within 4 rounds”. Make no mistake, I will be going straight at him. As former world champion, Mickey Bey said “This could be one of the fights of the year.”
Just a week ago, I was in the nation’s capital, Washington, D.C. for the press conference for my fight.
It was the first time Adrien and I were actually face to face for our fight.
He seems confident. And I’m very confident.
I believe on April 1st – I will be world champion.
“Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you’ll start having positive results.” – Willie Nelson
What an absolutely amazing week this has been; from the fighters arrivals on Tuesday at the MGM casino hotel to Wednesday, and the fan workout and autograph signing. Without stopping to catch our breath, straight to Thursday, and the undercard press conference. And then Friday, the weigh in and straight down to business on Saturday – Show Time. On Sunday we finished up at Floyd’s mum’s house to celebrate with him and the rest of the team.
This might be the last time I ever get to witness a boxing week this unique and of this magnitude. To be a part of it is something very special.
I sparred hard with Floyd in the lead up to his fight with Andre Berto, former IBF world champion, Ishe Smith, commented that I did better than Berto did against Floyd. I feel hugely privileged to have fought on this historic card. A small but important footnote, I brought about the only British victory on the bill, as George Groves failed in his bid to beat my friend, Badou Jack. Badou proved he belongs with the big boys – Chavez and Bute look like being the two fights that most interest my friend now.
I won for the 39th time during a 12 year career. My 6th straight with Mayweather Promotions. I’m feeling pleased and proud, after all the hard work, the continuous sacrifice not to mention the hard yards. It’s a beautiful feeling to see all the hard work pay off. I’m so hungry and ready for the big fights now. Floyd shared with me a week ago he’d like me to fight Adrien Broner. I’d really relish and love that fight.
Let’s make it happen.
Floyd won his 49th victory on the trot, with the now accustomed masterful display. The very best are always criticised, and Floyd is no different. He beats all comers – making it look easy, but if it was really was so easy a lot of fighters would have achieved such a milestone.
He’s made a breath taking $700 million during his career. $300 million made in his last fight alone against Manny. He’s been the highest paid athlete over each one of the last three years. He stands unique and alone. He has the highest grossing boxing event ever to his name. He brings millions of dollars to Las Vegas. Many still are blind to his giving to homeless people and helping the kids. His foundation is making a positive difference.
He’s about to shortly embark on his European tour soon – don’t be surprised if you see me by his side.
Mission Accomplished! The boss got his 49th win and I got my 39th win.
Destiny Awaits! Stay tuned…
As four weight world champion, Adrien Broner, won his latest world championship, when asked by Jim Gray who he wanted to fight next, he called my name – Ashley Theophane.
On Saturday 5th September, Floyd Mayweather told me at his appreciation dinner party that he wanted to make a fight with me and Adrien, because he believes I can beat him.
Strangely enough, after I had beaten Steve Upsher, I was tempted to ask Floyd for that self-same fight.
In the convoluted world that is elite professional boxing, Steve had fought Andre Berto a year ago. Berto then went on to fight Floyd Mayweather. Steve was then due to fight Broner just before AB got his latest world title shot. So therefore why not AB and me fight next?
Whilst I was on Boxnation TV on Monday 7th September I shared that when I beat Upsher that Floyd said “Broner is next for you”. Boxnation got the exclusive!
Just last week Adrien Broner confirmed he wanted to fight me next as Floyd Mayweather believes I can beat him.
He appears a little nervous about our fight, demanding that it be held in his hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio. But I’m cool with that, as a ring is a ring to me. I’ve been fighting away from home for some time now.
However, I still firmly believe that the MGM Grand in Las Vegas would have been the best place to hold this match, as all the big fights happen there.
I spoke to Floyd Mayweather last week about his interview with Ben Thompson from FightHype.com, when he criticised Adrien after AB said “F*** TMT” during an interview. I know I have Floyd’s support and backing which is great and confirms my own confidence.
Ishe Smith, Mickey Bey and Badou Jack were all big underdogs when they got their respective title shots. None of them were given a chance to win their world title fights. I’m in the same position as them, and also backing myself, which is the hallmark of the TMT fighters.
I’ve been ranked world number 4 and British champion. I’ve fought some really good fighters during my career; world champions Danny Garcia and DeMarcus Corley, world title challengers Delvin Rodriguez and Pablo Cesar Cano, British champion Lenny Daws and European champion Jason Cook. I’ve always done it the hard way.
Now I’m on the verge of my career defining fight, against a young and super talented fighter in Adrien Broner.
I believe 100% I will beat Adrien Broner when the time comes. I have no doubt in my mind.
It doesn’t pay to listen to the ‘doubters and cynics’, but they can serve to spur you on to never give up. But do listen to those that back you and are there for you – the fuel that eternal optimism and a positive mind-set brings makes you stronger and hungrier
My career is a real life British version of the Rocky story – it is now down to me to provide the happy ending.
Fight week is at last here. My opponent on Floyd Mayweather’s undercard is Steven Upsher. He fought Floyd’s opponent, Andre Berto, a year ago. Andre is now obviously fighting Floyd Mayweather so a win will bring me nearer to the big fights I’ve been waiting for and am fully pumped up for.
Adrien Broner was scheduled to fight Steven Upsher recently until he was presented with the opportunity to fight for the WBA world title.
After I get through Chambers I’d love to fight Adrien for the WBA 140lbs world championship if he is successful on October 3rd.
It’s been a really great week of sparring. This camp has been 11 weeks long and it’s been yet another positive camp. Perhaps my best one yet.
I’ve sparred Floyd Mayweather, Yuriorkis Gamboa, Mickey Bey, Steve Forbes and some of the best young fighters America has to offer. It’s been hard and challenging, but as I’m now a veteran in the sport, there isn’t nothing I haven’t already seen or experienced.
I’m used to pushing my body hard and I’m used to being alone. Focused on a dream many boxing people in the UK said wasn’t possible. Because I was prepared to be different and believe in myself – they called me “deluded”.
I met Floyd Mayweather over three years ago and he believed in me from the off. He told me “I’ll get you the fights you want but it’s up to you to win”. Six fights later, over the last two years – five wins. I’m certainly getting better with age.
I never put a limit on what I might achieve. I’m the same age as Serena Williams and she’s the number one female athlete in the world. Floyd Mayweather is 38 years old, he’s the number one male athlete in the world. They have many similarities; both are hugely determined and self-driven individuals that are unjustly criticised by the ill-informed. I guess that’s the price of being the best in your generation.
We all learn that you can’t please everyone. If I had taken notice of the negative comments from some of the boxing press, coaches, managers and promoters in the UK all those years ago – I wouldn’t be where I am today.
So I’m ready to go. Steve Upsher believes he’s coming to upset me. As I said we should believe in ourselves, BUT I’ve sparred better fighters than him this camp. I’ve fought some of the best fighters of my generation from the European scene to the world scene; Danny Garcia, Delvin Rodriguez, DeMarcus Corley, Pablo Cesar Cano, Lenny Daws and Jason Cook. All good fighters and all better fighters than Steve Upsher.
We finished the last week of camp with the Floyd Mayweather appreciation dinner at NOVE restaurant in the Palms hotel and casino.
The Mayweather family BBQ was on the Sunday. We work really hard but we make time to have fun in between.
We are ready to rock and roll.
You can catch me on Boxnation TV giving an interview ringside just before WBC champion Badou Jack fights George Groves and Floyd Mayweather fights Andre Berto.
We are at the business end of proceedings now – let’s get this show on the road.
Yet another week down and it’s all systems go. It’s been an extremely hard and unforgiving ten week training camp. There is only one more week of hard work and then its ‘fight week’. This is where Las Vegas really comes into its own and the media and fans roll into town.
It doesn’t seem that long ago that I watched this type of extravaganza from London as a fan, now I’m not just here but I’m an active part of it. This is more than incredible – some might even say ‘unbelievable’.
I had my own vision, and fuelled that vision by believing in myself. I never knew if it would happen, but I knew I had what it took to get there so I never stopped working.
I was alone for years. I achieved a great amount on my own, but René Carayol witnessed me lifting the British championship at ringside. He really believed that I could achieve so much more. He had a vision of me inspiring kids from humble beginnings like myself that had never had anyone believe in them. In fact it was worse than that – people just didn’t care what became of them.
Ted Baker and Wellman vitamins backed his vision. Wellman vitamins putting me in thousands of magazines and billboards across the United Kingdom. Our partnership with Wellman has gone from strength to strength. They provide me with all the nutritional support that an elite athlete desperately requires and in return I continue to act as an active ambassador for their great products and programmes. We are building something special and will appear together wherever those who aspire to get fit and healthy and remain so gather; trains, buses and who knows, television commercials. We have just signed a two year extension which will take me into 2017 working with this great company, Vitabiotics.
I’ve been part of Floyd Mayweather’s sparring team for this camp, which is something extra special in itself. I’m helping him to get victory 49, which looks like being his last fight ever.
This week we had the busy but essential media week, so I did quite a few interviews with some TV stations and some of the best boxing reporters in the business.
I hit 35 years young on Sunday. I celebrated by having an afternoon of fun in the Las Vegas desert on an ATV (all-terrain vehicle) and fly boarding in Lake Las Vegas. And then the perfect day was finished off with an evening of fine dining with a superb meal at Alize in the Palms Hotel and Casino.
I’m in the final stretch of my career. Every fight is important. I’m so close to victory 39 but I want to reach 50 before I walk off into the sunset. I’m feeling great. Looking great. I’m ready for September 12th.