I’ve been back in Las Vegas for two months now and my 45th fight is now only a month away.
This week I had a pleasure of working out with some hugely accomplished boxers that I would simply classify as “Legends”.
From Zab Judah, a former undisputed world champion, DeMarcus Corley, a former world champion who has fought a who’s who of the boxing world, and my close TMT colleague, Ishe Smith, the one and only world champion born in Las Vegas.
All very successful fighters indeed, having through the years fought the very best available.
I battled with them throughout our competitive sparring sessions. They brought out the best in me, punishing me for every mistake I made.
“To be the best you must surround yourself with the best”. This has been more than just a motto for me, it’s become a way of life and I believe this attitude was paramount to me being signed by Mayweather Promotions.
This week was very productive on all levels. It is always helpful and necessary to be surrounded by people whom I respect and admire, they push me day in day out to be the best I can be.
Over the weekend I was invited to take part in a Photoshoot for a new clothing line, it was good fun and a great initiative to get involved in.
I will be on Sky Sports News this week, being interviewed about the richest fight in boxing history – do look out for it.
I’m getting very excited about my fight at the Palms Casino and hotel on Thursday 30th April, two days before Floyd battles Manny Pacquiao at the MGM Grand.
Las Vegas is always a lively place, but even Vegas will be transformed that week, and there will be thousands of fellow Brits in town and I’m sure that the atmosphere will be amazing.
I had the perfect ringside seat to watch Floyd Mayweather push himself this week; sparring, pad and bag work, jumping rope and then running side by side with him around the streets of Las Vegas.
“The Rumble in the Jungle” was a legendary training camp for Muhammad Ali. It provided a career defining win for him. This training camp is the same for Floyd Mayweather – a fight estimated to be worth between 400 and 500 million dollars.
The richest fight ever to take place AND I get to witness it all from behind the scenes, and soak in what it really takes to be a legendary fighter.
As a British born and bred fighter, to have the unique and very special opportunity to be here as Floyd’s UK guy is a huge privilege.
There is no value in being here and preaching, I’m valuing being here and learning – everyday!
This is my twelfth year as a professional boxer. I’ve shared the ring with some accomplished boxers in that time; world champions Danny Garcia and DeMarcus Corley, world title challengers Delvin Rodriguez and Pablo Cesar Cano, European champion Jason Cook and British champion Lenny Daws. Anyone would say, some of the best of my era.
Fighting and winning in five different countries. St Lucia, USA, Germany, Luxembourg and England. It’s easily said, but believe me, seriously hard to accomplish. Many might say that these achievements are worthy of recognition, and some might even applaud.
It is a sad fact that very few British fighters come to America and hold their own, they tend to drown! The Americans don’t yet respect British fighters, but I’m one of a select few that has won their very hard earned respect.
Most fighters prefer the comforts of staying at home. I’ve found out that by going out to alien territory, with none of my fans in the arena, has brought the best out of me. Behind enemy lines!
When I started boxing in 1988 my dream was always to fight in America.
To fight the very best and to be at my best. As an 8 year old kid my dream was unthinkable. How was I going to do this? I’m from a poor and neglected part of London, crime filled, with low ambitions and opportunities very few and far between.
I’m living my childhood dream now. The number one fighter in the world is my boss.
Very few people set a goal and actually achieve it. Through the years the dream has gotten bigger and bolder. At first the naysayers laughed at me but now many cheer me, and to my surprise and pleasure, some even take the time to inform me “just how great I am doing and how far I’ve come”.
I have to say that I’ve done nothing in my life that has surprised me, as I’ve always pushed myself despite the lack of financial backing, I’ve found a way.
A kid from Paddington, England witnessing greatness on a day to day basis. The brilliant private workouts I get to witness AND I get to see Floyd Mayweather at work. I get to pound the streets of Las Vegas with him. He gives me advice and tells me he’s got my back.
The years of sacrifice, determination and hard work have got me here. Don’t ever tell me I can’t do something. I’ve already made the impossible possible, and here we go again.
It still amazes me just how many people appear to ‘dislike’ Floyd Mayweather, it’s usually because they do not know him, and they will never know him because they dislike him.
When looking back no longer interests you any more, you must be doing something right.
Born and raised in London, I’ll always be proud to be Paddington born, but I have to say I’m so much prouder of just how far I’ve come and how far I can still go.
If you stay within your comfort zone, you’ll never know how good you can truly be. I’ve racked up 37 wins during my career and my target is 50 wins to retire on. I’m getting closer and closer, but I want to fight my eras very best before I walk off into the sunset.
Success is a very, very lonely road. Very few people are willing to endure the pain and the sacrifices to be successful. It’s a permanent uphill battle, and along that road, you’re not going to see many friends. Learn to have your shadow as company as no-one else will share your burden. But what doesn’t kill you on this particular road, will definitely grow you. This is the life I’ve lived since becoming a boxer.
I may not be the best boxer in the world but I’m pushing myself to be the best boxer I can possibly be.
As “The Greatest” Muhammad Ali said; he hated every moment of training, but he did what he needed to do to become a champion.
Training camp is a hard, severe and a lonely time. It is just you and your thoughts to push and support you to your physical and mental breaking points. This life certainly isn’t for everyone.
Week Two of training camp is over. Floyd and Manny Pacquiao held a press conference in LA this week. The scale of this event is unprecedented. I get to see at close quarters the work that Floyd puts in, in order to gain victory over Manny.
Floyd sparred former undisputed welterweight champion, Zab Judah, this week. It was a pleasure to watch.
My own training camp is going perfect. The work never gets easier, but you just have to continue pushing your body, when you’re tired, just keep pushing.
My time out this week was to go on the ‘High Roller’, Las Vegas’s version of the London Eye. Sin City is truly beautiful.
This Friday, The Daily Mail newspaper in the UK will be publishing a weekly column of my thoughts on Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao.
Make sure to grab a copy.
It’s been a big week in Las Vegas.
Floyd Mayweather officially started his training camp for his blockbuster fight with Manny Pacquiao at the MGM Grand on Saturday 2nd May.
My own training camp started for my 45th fight on Thursday 30th April. My coach Nate Jones was back in Sin City to oversee preparations; sparring, pad work and road runs have seen me very content with how we are starting camp.
I’ve had four straight wins since my split decision loss to former interim WBA champion, Pablo Cesar Cano, on the highest grossing fight in the history of boxing, Floyd Mayweather v Saul Alvarez. Now my team want me back against the elite names.
Saturday morning saw the guys and girls hit Mount Charleston for a lung sapping run. It was painful on the legs and suffocating on the lungs.
Friday and Saturday evening saw me at ringside for the fights at the MGM Grand. I was rubbing shoulders with the likes of Denzel Washington, Laila Ali, Deontay Wilder and Zab Judah through some entertaining fights on ESPN and NBC. Boxing is in a good place in America right now.
All work and no play makes Ashley a dull boy. So I attended Zumanti at the New York Hotel and Casino this week. Sitting front row to take in the breath taking performances, I was asked on stage to join in with the cast in a dance sequence. It was a fun night in Vegas. These are sometimes necessary to take my mind off the high expectations that sit on my shoulders.
It all started with a dream. A dream made reality through sacrifice and hard work, taking chances and stepping into the unknown. You don’t know what will happen, but you have to believe, even when you cannot see the finishing line. You need that positive and optimistic mind-set.
I’ve made sure that I surrounded myself with a positive team of associates and friends. Take a critical look around at your inner circle, ensure they are like-minded people like you.
I’m thankful for all those in my life who push me and help me to be the best I can be.
I’m watching history happen right now. I’m part of a legendary training camp. I’m surrounded by goal orientated people, pushing and focused on success.
I’ve come a very long way. I’m from Paddington, London, now I’m in Las Vegas, Nevada. I’ve got far to go but knowing where I was in 2002 when I applied for my boxing licence in London to be fighting in Las Vegas and being promoted by Floyd Mayweather.
I know dreams can come true. I believe in my dreams and I’m always striving to make them the reality of my life.
The biggest and most lucrative boxing match in history is about to take place.
Saturday 2nd May at the MGM Grand Arena, here in Las Vegas, Floyd Mayweather will be fighting Manny Pacquiao.
Muhammad Ali “The Greatest” will forever be remembered for the legendary “Rumble in the Jungle” in Zaire. Floyd is set to break all previous records across the world with this event. Floyd is continuing where legends like Mike Tyson, Muhammad Ali and Jack Johnson left off.
Being part of Floyd’s team I’m very privileged to be witnessing something very special at close and intimate quarters. I get to see the things that many fans and the media will never know or see.
It’s both inspiring and motivating. I’m pushing to be the greatest I can be. So fighting the best fighters in my division is my endeavour; the Lamont Peterson’s and Adrien Broner’s are my target.
I’ve fought on three out of four of Floyds events at the MGM Grand. The venue has become normal to fight in for me now. A kid from a deprived area in London that made his professional debut at York Hall in London has now come a long way.
This will be the sixth training camp of Floyd Mayweather’s I’ve witnessed.
Expectations are always high from Floyd for all his fighters to be victorious come fight time. I’ve won my last four fights. I seem to be getting better with age.
This will be my 45th fight over 12 years as a professional boxer. I’ve been IBF world number 3, British champion, won 3 International titles, fought in 5 countries and now I’m promoted by Mayweather Promotions.
It’s been a hard and unforgiving road, but I continue to work hard and believe that those career defining fights will come for me.
Every day you must be prepared and able to perform when the biggest role of your life is presented on the biggest stage.
Floyd announced his fight on Friday afternoon. The internet went into overdrive. TV and Radio stations went crazy announcing that the fight that has been talked about for six years is finally happening.
“To me, it’s just another day. It’s just another fight. I mean, when you just look at the tale of the tape, I have a longer reach, I’m taller, I’m stronger, and I’m more accurate. I think I’ve seen a major change in Pacquiao … I took my time, I made the right move, and I’m just ready to go out there and be exciting. Be smart and be exciting. I mean, he’s a fighter just like I’m a fighter, and he’s a guy that’s out there to win. The only thing I know is to win, so is losing in the back of his mind? Absolutely! Why? Because he probably lost 3 or 5 times before, so losing is in his mind. Losing is not in my mind because the only thing I know how to do is win” stated undefeated pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather to Ben Thompson at FightHype.com.
It’s not every question that deserves an answer, but this is the fight that every fan demands an answer to.
2014 was very hard work, especially with being away from home for so long, but delivered a successful year for my boxing career.
Three victories last year; two of them in Las Vegas – one at the MGM Grand and another at the Palms Casino Hotel. The last of the year was in Texas at the Alamodome, where I put on a master class in front of my promoter, Floyd Mayweather. He was very happy with my performance and shared with me just what I needed to hear, that I’ll be “back on the TV in Championship fights”.
The hard work and the sacrifice will be worthwhile when I’m back in front of the world’s best. There’s no thrill like being matched against men you view as your equal; Danny Garcia, Delvin Rodriguez, DeMarcus Corley and Pablo Cesar Cano are top talent that have brought the best out of me. This is why I’m happy to be based out of Las Vegas, no matter what the hardship.
I went back home to London for the holidays after nine months in training camp in Las Vegas and New York City.
The UK betting giants, Coral, kindly invited me to White Hart Lane to watch my beloved football team, Premier League ‘giants’, Tottenham Hotspur.
I also had the pleasure of being a guest on the always informative and fun TV boxing show, The Bunce Hour on BoxNation.
I just about had time to hit the first class theatres and restaurants around my beautiful city of London. I even had the pleasure of taking a weekend spa trip to Jersey, to refresh my mind and body for the gruelling and punishing year I have ahead of me.
2015 is here now and I get to start it with a trip to Los Angeles to meet my boss Floyd ‘Money’ Mayweather before accompanying him to Australia on his promotional tour with the rest of “The Money Team”.
Come May 2nd at the MGM Grand, I’ll be focused on bringing home my 38th professional victory.
During my training camp for my 37th professional victory, I had the pleasure of training alongside WBC Heavyweight Champion of the world, Bermane Stiverne.
I even had my Thanksgiving dinner with him, as Bob Ware, the man that wraps Floyd’s hands and is now his cut man, invited us round for dinner with his family.
Bermane lost his crown to Deontay Wilder, the first American Heavyweight Champion since Shannon Briggs in 1996. Wilder can now look forward to clashes with Tyson Fury, Wladimir Klitschko and my friend, David Haye.
I have to remind myself that it has now become just about normal to rub shoulders with some of the stars of my fine sport.
Some people say I’m lucky. That’s nearly an insult to the hard times I experienced on my journey whilst trying to make something of my career in Britain. I found myself left out in the wilderness by Britain’s top promoters; Frank Warren, Mick Hennessy and Matchroom Sports until 8 years later when I won the British Championship and then they all surprisingly found my contact details
This is all part and parcel of having chosen the toughest profession in the most unforgiving industry, yet I’m now really looking forward to a very positive 2015.
“Winning takes talent, to repeat takes character.” -John Wooden
Life is about taking risks. You have to regularly ask yourself ‘what risks have you taken?’ Sometimes you fail, but that’s the only way to find your limits. You regroup and try again. Never let a setback define you.
“In America you can be anything you want to be”. Who am I to argue with that? America has truly been great to me. I came here with a dream, and year by year I have fought hard to make great strides to achieving what many thought I wasn’t capable of doing when I made my professional debut back in 2003. Why put a ceiling on your ambitions?
I have always believed in myself. You have to. If you don’t, no one else will. I’ve been fortunate enough to come across people along my journey who gave my belief a boost with their support and guidance. If you’ve got nothing productive or positive to say, there’s no need to ‘rain on someone’s parade’. Some get off on belittling people, telling them what they can’t do. Why not try to help them and offer advice or positive reinforcement? It costs nothing. They might even surprise you and go on to achieve their dream or endeavour.
My boss, Floyd Mayweather, was ringside cheering me on and offering advice. He shouted out in between rounds.
“I see you’re stealing my moves.”
“Nice shoulder role.”
“You’ll be back to championship fights next year.”
Floyd Snr told me he didn’t know I could box that good, and that my consistency of staying in the gym was paying off.
Floyd’s mother hugged me afterwards and told me she was praying for me during the fight.
After my fight I went into Ishe’s locker room to give him my support. Everything went well during camp. Mentally he was ready. The first half of the fight was pretty close, but Erislandy Lara made some tactical changes which Ishe couldn’t find an answer to. Ishe fought his heart out but on the night it wasn’t enough.
When the best go against each other there has to be a loser. That’s sport. He’ll be back!
After the show, Floyd took everyone out for a meal.
It was a great way to end a punishing training camp.
The day after my fight, back in Las Vegas. I went to the MGM Grand.
Amir Khan put on a display of boxing skills, blistering hand speed, ring generalship and great foot work to beat another former two time world champion in Devon Alexander.
Irishman Andy Lee beat Kotobov to become WBO middleweight world champion across the road at the Cosmopolitan hotel.
It was a victorious weekend for British and Irish fighters in the States.
I’ve been in America just under nine months this year. It’s been hard but sacrifice is needed to achieve anything in life. Three wins out of three.
2014 has been a good year. 2015 I want to be even better, fighting the big names. The elite!
Four wins over the last twelve months with Mayweather Promotions.
I’ve fought in Las Vegas twice, Washington and now San Antonio. It’s been a positive 12 months.
2015 will be interesting with me moving back to the big stage.
With 37 victories under my belt – 40 is the goal for next year.
“To place your dreams before the crowd is to risk ridicule.
To go forward in the face of overwhelming odds is to risk failure.
But risks must be taken because the greatest hazard of life is to risk nothing.” – René Carayol
2014 is coming to a close. It’s been a testing year, but a good one that has seen me beat Angino Perez and Daniel Calzada in Las Vegas, Nevada. Next up is the tough and durable Miguel Zuniga in San Antonio, Texas. To end my first full calendar year with Mayweather Promotions with a 100% win ratio will be a fantastic achievement.
Fight week is at last now upon us. Some of the best fighters in the world will be battling it out in America this weekend; Erislandy Lara v Ishe Smith is the main event in Texas. My friend Ishe has had a great camp and is in a very winnable fight to become a two time world champion. He’s already in the record books as the only Las Vegas born fighter to win a world title.
I’m within days of my 37th victory. 40 will be my target for next year, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves – it’s important to focus on one fight at a time. I’m getting close to 12 years as a professional fighter. I have five more years to continue winning and inspire the next generation in the process. 50 professional wins is a record I’ll be proud to finish with. Very few reach that incredible milestone.
I’ve always believed in myself and I’ve always been the underdog. I’ve always benefitted from proving doubters wrong. It’s normal for me to do everything the hard way. Where I’m from, only the strong survive.
I’ve fought in America, Luxembourg, Saint Lucia, Germany and England. Winning in all those countries.
This is my tenth fight in the United States of America. A childhood dream kick started my journey but that dream did not know just how tough this would really be. The route available to me has been brutally hard and many have fallen by the wayside trying to get to where I am at the moment. It has been incredibly hard and quite lonely at times. It took a long ten years before a promoter backed me.
My determination and perseverance has been worthwhile and paid off when the number one boxer in the world saw my potential, believed in me, and put me on the biggest most lucrative boxing show ever.
I’ve always had to walk the untrodden path to fulfil my destiny. I’ve always had to go against the grain.
Many love me, a few hate me, but most I hope just respect me across the world of boxing.
Being the best I can be is what I demand from myself – every day. Pushing myself into the unknown, and be what people believe is not possible or available to me. I’m not in the business of doubting myself, in fact it’s the complete opposite – I must back myself every minute in that ring and I’ve become used to backing myself in all I attempt. It’s the only way to achieve anything in this tough life we have chosen.
It certainly helps when you have a great team behind you and I’m blessed to have that.
Come this Friday I’ll be looking to end my year with a sound victory and move on to a bigger, better and more lucrative 2015.
I’m in Las Vegas for my third fight of the year. A total of 8 months of training away from home in the worlds fight capital, under the guidance of Floyd Mayweather, the number one boxer in the world. Not bad to working with the Pound for Pound king.
The hard work, the dedication and the sacrifice is an essential part of the profession I chose. It doesn’t make it any easier knowing what you signed up for.
I’m less than two weeks away from my 37th victory on the undercard of Ishe smith and Erislandy Lara. Two of the very best junior middleweight fighters clash for the WBA world championship. Ishe is the one and only Las Vegas born world champion and he aims to be a two time champion. I believe he can do it.
I’m also in a division surrounded by talent and there are some major clashes I hope I can look forward to next year. I’ve already fought Danny Garcia, Delvin Rodriguez, DeMarcus Corley and Pablo Cesar Cano and I’ve beaten former World, European, Commonwealth, British, English and African champions.
You can’t buy that sort of solid experience. I’ve accomplished more than what was expected of me, but there’s always more to achieve.
Other than my boss, Floyd Mayweather, I bring the most victories to Mayweather Promotions. I crave the big fights; Humberto Soto, Lamont Peterson, Adrien Broner, Lucas Matthysse and John Molina are just some of the names that bring entertainment when they fight, win or lose. I want one of them in 2015.
I’m spoilt, surrounded by knowledge and talent at the Mayweather Boxing Club.
Eddie Mustafa Muhammad, Cornelius Boza Edwards, Roger Mayweather, Kofi Jantuah, Floyd Mayweather Senior, Lou Del Valle, Morris East, Bermane Stiverne, Mickey Bey and Ishe Smith. It’s a gym packed with talented fighters and world class coaches.
I’ve come a very long way, a professional boxer for 11 years and a former British champion and former world number four.
I see talented fighters who never reach their potential all the time. For whatever reason, looking good in the gym and then producing those victories on fight night is a total different thing. I’ve by far surpassed what the so called British and American “experts” opinion of how far I could really go.
I was recently offered a fight in Russia to fight former undisputed world champion Zab Judah. Square Ring offered me a fight with Zab back in 2008 on the undercard of a Roy Jones fight. A Las Vegas promoter had signed contracts for Zab and me to fight the following year. Mayweather Promotions tried to get Zab and me in the ring last year September.
Fighting Zab Judah has always attracted my strong interest – maybe one day it will happen, but for now I’m focused on next Friday in San Antonio where I will achieve my 37th professional victory.
“Success happens to those who make sacrifices every single day”.
Nearly 29 years ago, a 20 year old Mike Tyson won the heavyweight championship of the world in Las Vegas.
He inspired a young five year old kid who was so impressed with the energy and the aura that surrounded a young and fearless Tyson.
I started boxing three years later at All Stars Boxing Club in the deprived area of Paddington, London.
Coming to America was always a dream. A scary big dream, but if you’re not scared of your dreams they’re just not big enough.
New York City was my first stop, where I met Harry Keitt (who I still work with) at Gleason’s Gym back in August 2005. We did some good pad work together on my first day there, but I ended up joining forces with former commonwealth champion, Lennox Blackmoore. He was at the time, the head trainer to world champions, Vivian Harris, Wayne Braithwaite and Elio Rojas. I’ve always looked to surround myself with quality – people that had top level experience and were full of rock solid advice.
Harry was working with Dmitriy Salita in 2006. They would fly me from London to New York City for his training camp in the Poconos Mountains, Catskills and Florida. I helped him in his world title challenge to Amir Khan back in 2009.
Stan Hoffman, manager to over 30 world champions, gave me my big break in America, after watching our sparring sessions. He believed I had championship potential. Floyd Mayweather saw the same thing in me 6 years later, which resulted in my signing up with Mayweather Promotions.
For five years I trained at Gleason’s Gym and Starrett City in Brooklyn. Sparring with a who’s who of boxing, world champions and world rated contenders. It enabled me to learn my trade the hard way, and the best way.
I became world rated number four and British champion against all the odds. The next stop had to be Las Vegas, to become a member of the number one boxer in the world, Floyd Mayweather’s promotional company.
Despite that, I’m still always pushing to achieve more.
I’m finishing a successful, but strenuous year with a ten round fight on Friday 12th December in San Antonio, Texas.
The Main Event is my team mate and friend, Ishe Smith against WBA world champion, Erislandy Lara.
Ishe became the first Las Vegas native to win a world title last year. I’m backing him to be a two time world champion on the 12th.
From humble beginnings in London, England to the fight capital of the world, Las Vegas in the United States of America.
Only those who are prepared to risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.