There’s No City Like Las Vegas
I’ve been in Las Vegas for the past 4 weeks. Having stayed here for so long, it felt a bit strange not being here since June last year.
It’s been great to support two of my good friends, former world champions, Badou Jack and Ishe Smith, in their respective boxing matches.
They didn’t get the results they desired and worked hard for, but life goes on. But they both have their health and families.
I picked up my 46th professional victory in Tijuana, Mexico and brought my total of countries I’ve fought and won in to 9.
No other active British boxer has more victories than me. Eddie Hearn was in contact with me whilst I’ve been out here in Las Vegas. I haven’t fought in London in 8 years.
I’ll be having my homecoming fight this year which will also be my final one in my hometown.
It’s been good to see the boxing community out here in the United States. I’ve been out here in the USA since 2005, so to see many boxing reporters career blossom has been good. Hard work and belief in yourself will eventually pay off.
I was privileged to be invited to speak at Cimarron-Memorial High School, to talk to a class of teenage girls about positivity, their future and achieving their goals. I had a fantastic time and they seemed to enjoy it. I’ve got a little bit of demand now. I’ve been invited to speak at more schools in Las Vegas and some more schools back home in London.
I’ve lived in the United States under the 3 Presidents: President George W. Bush, President Barrack Obama and now President Donald Trump. All were at times controversial, and disliked by either the left or right, but President Trump has to be the most divisive. Consequently, the mid-term elections where very important to both parties, but especially for the Democrats and they managed to win The House but didn’t make much gains in The Senate. This might just enable them to launch a serious challenge against Trump’s more extreme policies.
The lengthy shutdown of Government was maybe the first of the tougher stances we will see playing out in coming months. Life got tough for far too many government employees.
People are tired of politics both here in the USA and back home in the UK, with Brexit. In both nations it’s become a daily fight that plays out on the airwaves. It makes me feel strongly that basic politics should be taught in schools.
Despite the serious implications of voting today, far too many still are not that aware of the tough choices they have to make and why everyone should turn out and vote.
It has never been more important to make your vote count both in the USA and in the UK. We have to become more aware and more responsible. All votes matter.
My focus right now is to finish my professional boxing career in one piece and with my health in the same good place it is at the moment.
I’m working very hard on opening my first Treasure Boxing Gym. Boxing is a positive outlet. Boxing training and discipline helps adults keep in shape and mentally healthy.
It’s also great for youngsters to get them into a positive mindset and keep them off the streets and away from the gangs. Boxing can help youngsters in education by giving them some self-esteem and a goal focussed approach.
Anything that helps eradicate knife crime has got to be worth trying and getting behind. I know disadvantaged London and I’ve lived disadvantaged London. I’m on a mission. Everyone deserves someone in their corner. I’m keen to make a tangible difference to those that don’t quite believe in themselves.
Boxing has always done great things for so many youngsters across the world. Not just those who went from rags to riches like Gervonta Davis, Anthony Joshua, Floyd Mayweather and “The Greatest” Muhammad Ali – boxing can take you all the way. But it can help many to turnaround their lives and achieve goals away from the sport.
It’s the toughness of the preparation that is the beauty and the gift of the sport.
“The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.”– Friedrich Nietzsche
Oh, What a Night and What a Year!
What an incredible and unforgettable weekend of top-quality boxing it has been.
Boxing right now is going through a golden period of sustained success right across the world, and the Brits appear to be at the centre of much that is good that is going on.
Anthony Joshua, Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder have brought the near forgotten about heavyweight division alive.
The much-welcomed return of sharp competition amongst the leading promoters is really paying off. PBC are doing great things in the USA and a resurgent Top Rank is still going strong.
Again, the Brits are playing their part; Eddie Hearn and Frank Warren are having some of their best moments promoting British boxing and keeping it at the centre of the world stage. We must also sing the praises of Sauerland, who are doing a fantastic job with their commitment and innovation with the World Boxing Super Series.
The sport of boxing is in a good place going into 2019. Hot and hungry global competition enables the best fights to take place and drives better rewards for the fighters and importantly, more frequent big shows.
A very special mention for Tyson Fury. He has battled depression, drink, drugs, unhealthy weight gain and yet still came back to fight for the WBC World Heavyweight Championship. That alone is an outstanding feat.
After a 30-month absence from boxing, and having ballooned to some 28 stone (390 lbs!), Tyson Fury lost 140lbs and to the surprise of many, reclaimed his old form. It was magical stuff, it was like he’d never been away.
At the end of a truly gripping fight, with 12 hard fought rounds, Deontay Wilder seemed overjoyed with the draw. Tyson Fury was clearly and understandably disappointed. Most experts and fans believed that Tyson had clearly won the fight, but despite the global success, unfortunately, boxing never fails to surprise and disappoint us with questionable decisions. The massive effort and huge skill that Fury gave from the first bell deserved much better.
Eddie Hearn and Anthony Joshua will now have to wait until after the obvious rematch, before the difficult negotiations commence with the winner (or indeed the loser). Even more exciting times ahead for the division.
Adonis Stevenson, who was lucky to get a draw against Badou Jack in May, defended his WBC light heavyweight title again on Saturday. He lost by a late knockout against Oleksandr Gvozdyk, and is now tragically in critical condition and in a coma. For what can be such a beautiful sport, there are many dangers facing us each and every time we step into the ring. We have to put everything on the line and there are always huge risks.
My thoughts and prayers are with Adonis and his family during this sad time, and we all wish him a speedy and safe recovery.
I achieved my 45th professional victory in Poland over the weekend. This latest victory means I’ve now fought and won in 8 countries. 10 countries is my target and so is reaching 50 career wins before hanging up my gloves.
2018 has been a great year for me, both professionally and personally.
Over the past 12 months I’ve fought in Germany, USA, Hungary, Ghana and now Poland. 2019 I want to have another active year, but boxing again in London is a real and special goal of mine.
Eddie Hearn has Ricky Burns in his stable and I would love to fight him. During his latest win, two weight division world champion, Badou Jack, messaged and encouraged me whilst he was watching him fighting to say I’d beat him.
Brandon Rios has just signed with Eddie Hearn. That’s another fight I would love and I believe I can win. I was ringside when Danny Garcia stopped him in February. He boxed good, but it’s a winnable fight for me.
Frank Warren has Terry Flanagan, a very good fighter at 140lbs. He’s lost two on the trot now. I’d love to fight him, as he’s a former world champion and a fellow Brit. Maybe in 2019 we can make all of this (or at least some) of this happen.
For all the growth and success, boxing is still a very hard sport to succeed in, just last week, we saw current IBF European super featherweight champion, Ronnie Clarke, trying to sell his championship belt on eBay to raise money to buy his kid a Christmas gift.
I haven’t boxed in the London now for nearly 8 years. That’s a sort of achievement in itself. Without boxing in my hometown, I’ve still been active and made a living through boxing abroad and endorsements deals with Vitabiotics and Di Nardo Boxing.
I was pleased to write a chapter in René Carayol’s latest book, “SPIKE! What are you great at?” The book is doing really well and I’ve had some nice feedback on my chapter!
We did a Podcast last week, where we spoke in a lot more detail about my life after boxing and starting my very own, Treasure Boxing Gym in Paddington, where I’m from.
Derry Matthews, Shawn Porter, Tony Jeffries and Tommy Coyle are 4 boxers that have successfully opened their own boxing gyms and I aim to join them. I’m looking forward to following in the footsteps of Isola Akay MBE, who started All Stars Boxing Club over 40 years ago. He helped me and many others across London and beyond. It’s my turn now to help those who feel disadvantaged and who need a little support and encouragement.
I’ve not done anything like this before, but most of the time, stepping into the unknown is scary, but that is when you really discover your strengths and face up to your weaknesses.
Once I’m told it can’t be done, I am at my most energised and most determined.
Here’s to 2019 and I’m ready, excited and impatient for whatever it may bring.
As a kid, I could never forget watching moving and memorable footage of Muhammad Ali whilst he was in Africa. I was amazed by how happy and uplifted he seemed during his time on the continent. He spoke powerfully as an African American, he was back ‘home’ and it felt good.
Arriving in Accra, Ghana this week, I’ve felt the same. I’m in love with the country. I’m in love with the people, the food, the scenery, the sun and the smell of the place. I too, am very happy here. Amongst beautiful people, I’ve felt at home and been made to feel at home. In the streets, men and women have asked me if I’m Ghanaian. They have taken the time to cheer and greet me with affection.
Mr. Isola Akay MBE, the founder of All Stars Boxing Gym is Ghanaian, so when the opportunity to fight here appeared, I jumped at it. He’s inspired me, motivated me and cheered me on through the 30 years of knowing him. I wanted and needed to go to his homeland.
Boxing brings people together from all over the world. Ghanaians wished me luck for my fight with Frank Dodzi, but told me they had to support their brother. I’m used to fighting in enemy territory, as it just brings out the ‘killer instinct’ in me. I’ve fought and won in 6 countries before coming here.
This was always going to be the 7th.
Every day I took the time to visit a different gym during my time in Accra. I loved every minute of my stay here. I had two private training sessions, and the onlookers were impressed. Coach Steve Palmer and I have been putting in serious work at All Stars Boxing club since I fought in Budapest, Hungary on July 7th.
I’m coming to the end of my fighting career, but my plan is to end it going from country to country. I’m capitalising and benefitting from the hard work that saw me signed to Floyd Mayweather’s Mayweather Promotions for 5 years in Las Vegas. During this time, I was headlining in Las Vegas and fighting at the MGM Grand, not once but three times.
I’m keen to have a ‘Homecoming’ fight in London before walking away from the sport that I have served well over the years. Eddie Hearn contacted me just last week, to ask me if I was interested in being on one of his shows. I of course am interested, but he now knows that Ricky Burns is the fighter I really want to face out of his stable. But that is not the name he keeps mentioning. I’m pleased to say that Eddie keeps raising his offer, so I do appreciate that.
Whatever happens in the near future, I achieved my 44th professional victory here in Accra. 50 wins is my ultimate aim, but at my age, its important to be sensible and I therefore take every fight seriously and one at a time.
If I walked away from the sport today, I’d feel very content and proud of myself, but it’s important to have a new focus. Boxing is an all-embracing way of life and doesn’t leave much space for anything else. Many retired athletes hit hard times when they retire, as they no longer have something to push for. Being forced to change your way of life is scary, hence many of us experience periods of depression and mental breakdowns.
The vision and strategy for Treasure Boxing Gyms is developing and it’s something I’m really excited about.
2019 is the year I’d love to open my first gym in the disadvantaged area of London I grew up in. It will take hard work and commitment – and I’ve been well trained for that.
My goal is to give back to the community I was born and raised in. To help give a lifeline to so many kids that have their hopes and dreams crushed by the negative environment they live in.
For now, I came to Ghana on a mission. My mission has been accomplished and I’ve left with my 44th professional win, and with the beautiful country of Ghana and its unforgettable people in my heart.
The late and great Maya Angelou captured Ghana’s quality best, “While the rest of the world has been improving technology, Ghana has been improving the quality of man’s humanity to man.”
Learning from the Best
The Heavyweight division is back, and the British pack are right up there.
Anthony Joshua kept up his winning streak with a victory over the brave and strong Alexander Povetkin, at a packed but cold Wembley Stadium with a stunning 7th round knockout.
The so called ‘lineal’ world champion, Tyson Fury, and WBC Heavyweight Champion (the only belt that AJ doesn’t yet have), Deontay Wilder, have agreed to fight in the USA on December 1st.
The winner will be the favourite to face AJ at Wembley in April next year. AJ’s promoter, Eddie Hearn and AJ want the deal with Wilder agreed before December.
Anthony Joshua is everything what is good about boxing. He came from humble beginnings, found himself hanging with the wrong people and got in trouble with the law in his teenage years. He then found boxing, and given the focus and discipline his new sport demanded of him, his life changed for the better.
Given the terrible tragedies that are currently happening in London with the youth and knife killings, boxing can be a part of the solution. Bring boxing back into the schools and support growth and development of local boxing clubs. The sport has moved on and has improved the safety and care of all involved in it. The training and discipline will also help fight the growing obesity crisis.
This work needs many different stakeholders to come together and bring their different skills, experiences and care. It will require, in my opinion, the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, to help kick start this vital initiative.
I’m working on the Treasure Boxing Gyms, which will be there for kids and adults in London to have a fun boxing workout in a safe and pleasant environment. This will also importantly, help them escape the ‘pull of the local gangs’.
Last night’s post-fight press conference was really enlightening. AJ and Hearn openly shared with the audience and the media their plans for the future.
With an authentic confidence, Anthony said “I’ll knock them all down one by one. Wilder or Tyson.” He spoke really well and named April as the date he’d like to fight, and that it is Wilder that he is really after.
Eddie Hearn has done good business with AJ. Together with the resources of Sky Sports they have worked hard and successfully to put British Boxing on top of the world. Whether you like or loathe Hearn – that’s the truth.
The really big money is still to be found in the USA and AJ has stated that he wants to fight in Las Vegas. So, it’s only a matter of time.
Mike Tyson was the reason I got interested in boxing back in 1985. It’s 2018 and Anthony Joshua is inspiring the next generation of potential boxing champions.
The sport of boxing is in very safe hands.
Going Back to My Roots
I was born in Paddington, London on 30th August 1980 at St. Mary’s Hospital, which like many other vital local facilities, has now been demolished for some smart, fashionable and expensive apartments.
I was happy in my childhood, surrounded by family and friends. Growing up in a neighbourhood that I understood and had many good friends around. Like many around me, I didn’t notice there wasn’t much money in the household. I had everything I needed.
I attended Our Lady of Dolours RC primary school and then went to Cardinal Hinsley RC secondary school.
I went on to get my GCSEs and a GNVQ in Leisure and Tourism along with my BTEC Media qualification.
Instead of going on to university, I pursued my dream of a career in boxing.
I’ve fought and won in 6 countries. I reigned as British champion, I’m a four-time international champion and a world championship challenger. As well as moving to Las Vegas to work with Floyd Mayweather, the best boxer of the last 30 years.
Having travelled wide and far in my career, London is the best city in the world, but right now we are going through some serious and worrying problems.
Street crime among youngsters is rising and seemingly uncontrolled. Far too many youngsters have been needlessly and recklessly murdered and injured. Something needs to be done. It’s become scary for many parents raising their kids in the capital.
Boxing has helped change many lives and Anthony Joshua is the biggest contemporary example. He’s the current superstar boxer in the UK. He got into trouble as a young man, but boxing steered him away from that. Just look at him now. He’s the most wonderful example and role model for so many without hope, or who can’t see a positive way forward for themselves.
Last year I had the pleasure of working with Momentum and helping Jeremy Corbyn during the general election. He saw and felt the real problems many youngsters are facing and connected with them.
In June this year, I was a special guest along with Olympic and world champion, James DeGale at the opening of the new Moberly Sports Centre in Westminster. This is an important and positive initiative for all in the area. Having cohesive communities no longer happens naturally. We all need to take a moment to think about what more can we all do to build the better Britain we all need and deserve.
We need more positive activities that bring us together and vitally, remove the more dangerous choices that attract those with nothing better to do.
In August, I attended a fundraising event for the survivors of the Grenfell tragedy. It is vital that we never forget what happened and continue to do what we can for those who are still suffering from all the adversity that such an incident brings.
All Stars Boxing gym over the years has helped hundreds, if not thousands of disadvantaged kids and adults in the community. I’ve been a keen attendee here for many years now. I’ve been donating my time and headlined a special workout class, so participants could have the opportunity to donate to the gym.
I’ve recently developed strong relationships with a handful of local young boys to spend time with and look to inject some positivity into their lives. There are many issues and challenges that face these youngsters and far too many fatherless homes in the communities across London. I’m happy to be engaged with them, and I’ll do what I can to offer some hope to these kids.
This is what my life will focus on after my career in boxing is over. The privilege of being able to ‘give back’ in my own small way. We are carefully and cautiously building an appropriate plan that will involve some like-minded partners to enable us to do this on a significant scale.
It’s a natural extension of what I have had expertise and experience in that I’m working on getting my own boxing gym where I can help youngsters to be the best they can be.
Everything starts with a dream, then a plan, then if the right resources can be found, then its down to courage and hard work. That I can do.
The Future is Always Golden – When You’ve Given Your Best
You have a goal, it’s your dream and only you can visualize it.
Sometimes the only person you can really count on in the toughest of moments is yourself.
It’s quite amazing what I’ve managed to achieve over the last 15 years – even if I say so myself. Especially considering that for 10 years I was alone in this challenging and beautiful sport.
I still somehow compiled 39 professional bouts across five countries. With NO promoter and NO manager. I still became British champion and the World number 4. On three occasions I became International champion, with just my loyal coaching staff supporting me.
The life of a boxer isn’t easy but it’s the life I chose and I’ve given my best and eventually reached the mountain top.
I joined Mayweather Promotions 5 years ago and have fought at the MGM Grand three times, challenged for the world championship, headlined a boxing card in Las Vegas and was based in the city as part of Floyd’s “The Money Team”.
This is the stuff dreams are made of, but all good things must at some stage come to an end.
Currently, there is no other active British boxer with 42 professional victories and I achieved that feat on Saturday in New Hampshire in the USA. 3 weight world champion Ricky Burns, has achieved 41 victories.
It’s a hard and unforgiving sport which takes its toll on your mind and body. Quality longevity is something only a few manage without damaging themselves forever after.
I recently returned to Las Vegas, wanting to know what more I really have left. With the relentless march of aging, no sportsman can stay at their prime forever, but slowing down the aging process is key. Roger Federer and Serena Williams are perfect examples that it’s possible.
I’ve had a great time with my coach, former world champion, Lou Del Valle and assistant Marcele Johnson. Going carefully and professionally from 166lbs to 152lbs in the space of about ten weeks. I’m feeling great but perhaps being even more thorough and careful with my preparation and lifestyle is paying off.
Laser focused discipline is everything.
I picked up the victory in New Hampshire on Saturday 28th April against veteran journeyman, 6’1” Larry Smith. Larry has fought Olympic gold medallist Felix Diaz, world champion Jermell Charlo, Brian Vera, James “Buddy” McGirt Jr, Wale Omotoso and Gary O’Sullivan, who was tipped to fight GGG recently when Saul “Canelo” Alvarez pulled out of their fight on May 5th until Vanes got the opportunity.
China, Panama and Germany are all exciting options for my next contest. The continent of Africa is top of my list to fight in. The motherland beckons!
I’ve been fighting on the lonely road abroad for half of my career now, and would you believe that I haven’t fought in London for 7 years!
A dream of a fight with the soon to be new 140lbs WBO Champion, Terry Flanagan, would be great and is on my radar. A match up with multi-weight world champion Ricky Burns, would also be a hell of a good bust up.
Eddie Hearn has for a full 12 months kept mentioning my name as a decent hurdle for his young stars. He has yet to come forward with an appropriate offer
Unfortunately, it sometimes seems like all bark and no bite – but there is still time, Eddie?
Whatever level you are at in boxing it is always hard, as there are other fighters just like yourself battling hard to get to the next level and provide a decent life for their loved ones. That’s why all boxers, at all levels, deserve huge respect.
Untimely deaths, homelessness, mental breakdowns are all far too commonplace and affect far too many of us in this the toughest of all professions. Once boxers have retired, the years of lonely sacrifice seems to catch up with far too many of us, like no other sport.
Don’t get me wrong, this is in no-way a complaint, we know the risks involved but our eyes are firmly fixed on the golden prize of recognition and reward. Only the fortunate few ever really get there, but the fact that some do, is all the motivation we need. Just look at how Britain has benefitted from a golden period of boxing. Our world champions have become huge local role models for a generation of young and talented fighters. I’m very proud to have played a small part by doing my thing uniquely abroad and proving us Brits can do it anywhere.
The competitive and successful environment has re-energised the once disinterested UK TV channels and in turn, this positive and available coverage has further sparked more interest with a new demographic, and in turn the UK has surpassed even the US for relative success.
But having a viable plan for life after boxing is as important. Far too many boxers continue to fight long past their prime as sadly, that’s all we know.
I’m in the final stages of my career. So, opening my very own “Treasure Boxing Gym” would be another dream come true.
Professional boxers Tony Jeffries, Derry Matthews and Tommy Coyle have all been successful in doing this. I hope to follow in their footsteps. Building a place for kids to come to be healthy, workout, make friends and keep them off the streets along with adults wanting to stay in shape or get fit.
I’m doing all I can at my sport but also thinking about my life after boxing. I’ll share all with you, as without the golden and unsolicited support so many of you have given me through your wonderful messages of support, encouragement and recognition
I salute all of you – as your continued support fuels me to keep going – sensibly.
“Growth is not a 1-day thing. It’s a lifetime process. When you’re 17, you want to be better at 18, when you’re 50, you want to be better at 51. Some progress every day will add up to an amazing life.”
Being the Very Best You Can Be
The WBA, IBF, IBO Heavyweight Champion of the world, Anthony Joshua by way of Britain collided with the WBO Heavyweight Champion of the world, Joseph Parker from New Zealand on Saturday night in Cardiff, Wales at the Principality Stadium.
Two undefeated champions going head to head. The last time this happened was when Mike Tyson fought Tony Tucker over 30 years in in 1987.
Funnily enough I often see Tony Tucker at the Mayweather Boxing Club in Las Vegas. Joseph Parker has had his training camps out here in Las Vegas also. He regularly goes to Sub-Zero Recovery, where I do my cryotherapy and normatec sessions.
Anthony went the full 12 rounds for the first time and showed that he can do it comfortably. Many questioned his stamina but for this fight he came in 13lbs lighter and showed he’s ready for Tyson Fury and WBC Heavyweight Champion, Deontay Wilder.
British boxing is flying right now. Promoters Frank Warren, Eddie Hearn and Nisse Sauerland have seen their hard work pay off.
Roughly 80,000 fans packed into the Millennium stadium. The atmosphere looked electric watching from Las Vegas on Showtime. I was privileged to witness first-hand when Anthony fought the legendary Wladimir Klitschko at Wembley Stadium last year.
90,000 fans came out to support the Brit. I was also luckily enough to be at Carl Froch vs George Groves fight, when 80,000 attended. British boxing is in a great place right now and boxing promoters around the world are envious.
Anthony is the perfect ambassador for British boxing and for boxing as a whole. He shows that despite coming from humble origins and not having the best start in life, you can still go on to great things if you find something to channel your energy into.
With the growing knife crime and gangs in London and teenagers dabbling in crime. Anthony Joshua shows them it’s never too late to change from negative to positive.
Anthony is always praising the Finchley Amateur Boxing Club for helping him get to where he is today. He regularly goes back to inspire the young there.
Boxing is a fantastic sport to help troubled kids from inner cities. It’s only right I launch my very own, Treasure Boxing Gyms, as I’ve learnt so much from the All Stars Boxing Gym and Mayweather Boxing Club. I’d like to help the next generation be the best they can be.
Well done Anthony. Congratulations on wining and for continuing to inspire many by your achievements and authentic personality!
Never Ever Give Up
It’s been over 7 years since I fought in Germany. When I last fought here I picked up the IBO international championship in Munich back in 2010.
This time I flew into Berlin with the mission of leaving here as the German International champion.
Germany has been good to me over the years. Since 2006 I’ve picked up three championship titles and I’m undefeated on these shores.
I last fought in August at Sam’s Town Casino in Las Vegas as part of the Floyd Mayweather vs Conor McGregor preview show. My 10th fight with Mayweather Promotions over 4 years.
Floyd is currently on tour in China. While he spreads “The Money Team” brand in Asia. I’m representing in Europe.
I’ve now won 5 championships out of 6; British champion. IBO International champion. German International champion and 2 x Global Boxing Council champion. Falling short whilst attempting to claim the WBA world championship from the four-weight legend, Adrien Broner.
2017 has been an interesting year for me. UK promoter, Eddie Hearn seems obsessed to get me back home to compete. I appreciate the attention. It’s over 6 years since I fought in London, as British champion at Wembley Arena. Back then it was televised by Channel 5 and even Tyson Fury was part of the show. We were both British champions at the same time. Great memories!
50 professional matches spanning 14 years – 41 victories, 1 draw and 8 losses.
Surprisingly, half of my career has been spent fighting across the world, From St. Lucia, Luxembourg, USA, to Germany are all places that I’ve picked up victories.
From making my debut at the York Hall in Bethnal Green, London, and fighting without a promoter for 10 years. What I’ve achieved is unheard of (even if I say so myself).
This is a brilliant sport to have had the privilege of having competed in, but fighters can’t compete forever. At my age, I’m far wiser and far more careful with my health and it’s a well-planned year by year process. I’m making the plans for my “Treasure Gyms” the focus for life after boxing, along with motivational talks for the young and not forgetting my TV work as well.
The Legendary Miguel Cotto, had his farewell fight tonight. He lost a points decision against Sadam Ali from Canarsie, Brooklyn, which used to be my base away from home before I headed to Las Vegas to join Floyd Mayweather ‘s team.
On this day exactly a year ago, I headlined in Las Vegas for my 40th professional victory. Another landmark! December 2nd is a momentous day.
Roger Federer and Serena Williams have shown it’s possible to continue to compete in our late 30s. Despite feeling blacklisted for many years in Britain by the UK promoters, I stayed dedicated to my craft, worked hard and believed that one day I’d be on the big stage.
In 2013, that happened when I fought for the first time in Las Vegas at the MGM Grand Casino. Now there’s 18 months left of my 6-year deal with Mayweather Promotions. Another world championship challenge is the target, with the WBA and IBF champions on my radar.
It’s a great time to be a British athlete; Harry Kane, Anthony Joshua, Mo Farah and Lewis Hamilton all right at the top of their respective sports. I’m also a proud Brit, and an even prouder Londoner!
“Don’t fear failure. In great attempts it is glorious even to fail.” – Bruce Lee
This was the biggest week of the year in the city of Las Vegas, which has big weeks every week. The top-drawer elite of the entertainment industry flew in mainly by private jet, and they were joined by the world’s media, who came in their droves.
It didn’t seem to matter whether you were a fan of the spectacle of Mayweather vs McGregor or not. It was just the only place to be. Nevada was rocking yet again.
I kicked off the fight week at Sam’s Town Hotel and Casino against on Tuesday. He’s a tough, gritty Japanese fighter based in Mexico. He is trained by the great Nacho Beristain, so I knew going into my fight I had a tough night’s work ahead of me.
Yes, on paper I was the favourite, but this 26-year-old had fought 4 times in the last 12 months compared to my solitary fight over the same period. He had lost 2 of those fights by majority decision, which he could easily have won. He gave all of his opponents a hard night at the office.
He got a very close call, which many thought I had done enough to win.
You have to always believe in yourself, but I’m realistic nowadays to know judges make bad decisions all the time, so nothing is guaranteed in boxing.
I’ve had 21 fights abroad; 15 in the USA, 4 in Germany, 1 in Luxembourg and 1 in St. Lucia.
When you have everything to lose and nothing much to gain from a fight, that is when you are at your most concerned.
The Floyd Mayweather vs Conor McGregor ‘fight week’ wasn’t as big as many had expected. I’ve got to experience many of these build ups since 2012. This was a very different type of ‘event’. It was something to be part of and to have ‘experienced’, it was less about championship belts and so much more about providing something that a much wider public wanted to see.
The fight night made up for it, with Conor putting in a good performance of speed and skill. Floyd lived up to his word and “walked the much bigger man down”.
I had shared with all who asked me, Evening Standard, BET365, Sky Sports and the Daily Mail, that Floyd would stop McGregor in rounds 9 or 10. I was pleased to be proven right.
What an ending to a fine career? 50-0 surpassing the great Rocky Marciano and beating all the best fighters of his generation in the process.
Badou Jack, made me a very proud man indeed by becoming a two-division champion on the undercard. He put in his best display to date. He’s mixed with the very best available; Anthony Durrell, George Groves, Lucian Bute, James DeGale and Nathan Cleverly.
He’s fought 5 world champions back to back. He should definitely be in the pound for pound top ten. Not many fighters face such a high level of competition back to back. To top it all off, he called out Adonis Stevenson who holds the WBC 175lbs title. Badou’s coach, Lou Del Valle also used to hold the WBA light heavyweight title.
Sunday saw me celebrate Badou’s victory at his house with his close friends and family.
I then went to the Thomas and Mack Centre to support the ‘JLeon Loves Celebrity’ charity basketball game. Even Floyd took part in it, along with Chris Brown and other stars.
I even ended up giving Chris Eubank Snr a ride to his hotel after the game.
The night ended at Floyd’s mothers house to celebrate his 50th professional victory.
“We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
Sky Sports followed me around for all of Friday. This made for an interesting change to my boxing camp routine.
We had arranged to meet at Sub Zero for them to witness my daily cryotherapy treatment.
Then we all jumped in my car and we headed to the barber shop for my weekly haircut. They were after an authentic insight into just what it was really like to be that Englishman abroad, especially someone who had taken the challenging route I had and then end up being signed by Mayweather Promotions.
It was now time to get down to the real business of the training camp, so we headed off to the Mayweather Boxing Club.
They got some special footage of my training regime with Badou Jack, Chris Eubank Snr and Chris Eubank Jnr also hard at their training.
This footage and the various interviews I did for them will all be part of the preview for the money spinning and ground-breaking Floyd Mayweather vs Conor McGregor extravaganza.
I also gave some time to the excellent Sky Sports News, and I understand this will be broadcast on Thursday.
My excellent head coach, former world champion, Lou Del Valle and my focused assistant coach, Marcele Johnson, have done a great job getting me ready for my 49th professional fight. As always, I gave everything and more, and left no stone unturned.
This is my 10th fight with Mayweather Promotions over the last four years. It’s been an incredible journey.
I’ll always have love for Floyd. He got me that elusive world title shot, he believed in me and helped me. He even bought me a car so that I could get around Las Vegas.
I go into my fight on Tuesday with an 83% victory percentage. On paper, I should have too much for my Japanese opponent, Shoki Sakai. He has a respectable record of 30 fights and 7 losses. He interestingly made his debut in Mexico, and has had the majority of his fights there, so he’s definitely battle tested.
I expect a hard and unforgiving fight, but as always, if I bring my sparring form into the fight then I’ll have no issue.
Multi world champion, Terence Crawford, put in a scintillating display to unify all the belts at 140lbs against Julius Indongo. He was so cool, calm and collected.
This has definitely inspired and motivated me for my fight on Tuesday. Believe in yourself and the rest will handle itself.
The stress that a training camp can bring is rarely ever spoken about. There are negative outside influences can affect your mind during training camp, but you have to remain as focused as possible.
I’ll be fighting Shoki Sakai at Sam’s Town Hotel and Casino on Tuesday 22nd August in Las Vegas.
Not bad for a boy from Paddington, London.