IN THE PRESENCE OF GREATNESS
I don’t know of any other British fighters doing what I’m doing. I travel the world’s best gyms, learning from the very best fighters. Many fighters like staying in their comfort zone. Not me! I want to be pushed. I want to learn as much as I can. Boxing is a global sport, and I love being an active part of the world of boxing.
My second and unfortunately, last week at The Mayweather Gym in Las Vegas was truly amazing. Over the last two weeks I have pushed my body through fifty hours of gym and road work. It has been both punishing and exciting! I go to bed each night fired up and looking forward to the next day.
I arrive at the Mayweather gym at around 1pm, complete my workout then watch Floyd do his thing. I just can’t tear myself away, and I end up leaving there after 7pm. They were long days, but worth every minute as I allowed the knowledge to really soak in.
Watching Floyd Mayweather train is inspirational and motivational. I learnt so much just by watching him workout, he is very special and I will implement everything I learned and observed into my game.
On Monday there was a ‘who’s who’ gathered at his boxing gym. World champion, Yuriorkis Gamboa, was working out as I started my own workout.
I sparred with five fighters over the course of three days in the gym. One of the coaches at the gym said that ‘normally British fighters get bashed up in sparring here’, but I represented. I travel well as my record shows with wins in Saint Lucia, America and Germany.
Former world champions, Hasim Rahman, Zab Judah and Eddie Mustafa Muhammad all came to watch Floyd Mayweather spar. 50 Cent was in the building all week, supporting his friend.
Floyd dismantled Omar Henry, who was way out of his league. Then Floyd finished up with another stocky middleweight, Bastie Samir. Floyd sparred for around thirty minutes just stopping for sips off fluid every five minutes. He was sharp, fluent and commanding – a master class.
Watching Floyd train you could see the desire and hunger in his eyes. He pushed himself hard, with his team shouting ‘hard work and dedication’ as he dug deep.
Floyd’s training sessions were like a ‘friends and family’ get together. Around fifty people watched him train while music was pumping. The gym has a special aura about it on days that Floyd trains.
Bastie Samir, a strong middleweight earned his sparring partner wages on Tuesday. He stood ‘toe to toe’ with the pound for pound king. Watching up close, I knew that Floyd would make Bastie do more rounds as he wanted to break him down. There were times I thought Mayweather might knock him out, but Samir showed he has a great chin. Floyd has six sparring partners and chooses who he is going to spar when he arrives at the gym.
It is extremely tough and demanding work, but they are well looked after and it’s the best boxing learning available.
In the locker rooms on Wednesday, Floyd was saying that he fights at whatever weight he walks around at. He refuses to drain his body to make a particular weight. Floyd Mayweather is always in fantastic shape and never really goes much above 150lbs. He is a good example of how professional fighters should be. There are obvious reasons for all to see why he is one of the greatest fighters to ever walk the planet.
His uncle and trainer, Roger Mayweather thinks he is second only to the great Sugar Ray Robinson. Watching Floyd work it is clear to me that he is an all-time great, and can only be compared with the very best in history.
Floyd has a great commercial team around him, who deal with the business side of things. That along with his massive talent is why he is so marketable.
Floyd took a day off from sparring, after going three days straight. He started off with some shadow boxing; he then moved on to the pads with Roger Mayweather and followed this with the body bag with Nate Jones. He then went onto the heavy bag, then back into the ring to hit pads and the body bag. He finished up with some strength exercises. To think that his fight is still seven weeks’ away; he is fit enough now to do a twelve round fight, but Floyd is the very best for a reason.
Floyd shouted out whilst he was in the ring with everyone watching him that he liked my Treasure T Shirt. The man has great taste as well.
I took a photo with Floyd after he had finished his training session, and I had a chat with Leonard Elberbe.
All the guys at the Mayweather gym have shown me love. I will definitely be back.
J’Leon Love gave Floyd his best sparring session whilst I was there, and even impressed Roger Mayweather who thought he was the best out of the six sparring partners at the gym for Floyd. J’Leon can box and fight, so he and Floyd had some action packed rounds. Floyd’s accuracy is amazing. He rarely misses a punch, and his defence is a work of art. As he says defence wins fights and I couldn’t agree more.
I spoke to Cornelius Boza Edwards who became a world champion back in the day, when there were some really great fighters about. He fought some legendary fighters including, Alex Arguello, Hector Camacho, Jose Luis Ramirez and Bobby Chacon. He said that he has watched me fight and that “my time will come to win a world title”. That meant a lot coming from a man who did what I am doing, but at a higher level.
Right now I am learning from the best in the business. I get to watch Floyd Mayweather train at close quarters. There is no one better in the game, so being able to watch him at touching distance is just brilliant.
He is the King of the boxing world, and I am the King of the British 140lb Division. Having the opportunity to work with Roger Mayweather and Nate Jones has been a defining experience. He is a great coach and was a world champion in the nineteen eighties.
I have had the honour to watch some great fighters workout in the flesh; Floyd Mayweather, Manny Pacquiao, Joan Guzman and Yuriorkis Gamboa. These great fighters stand out even from the elite fighters. Watching these fighters has helped me add to my own game.
Floyd Mayweather is in a league of his own though.
Michael Jackson’s father Joe Jackson passed by the gym on Wednesday. It was an honour to see him and he still has a swagger about him.
I had a fabulous time training at Floyd’s gym. The ‘Money’ team made me feel very welcome and Britain’s Treasure will be back, as they have left the door open for me.
It is brilliant an inspiring place.
Every once in a while, you just feel you have been privileged to be in the presence of greatness. The last two weeks at The Mayweather Gym in Las Vegas has given me that privilege.
LORD OF THE RINGS
I believe you can do anything you put your mind to. You just have to put in the hard work to achieve it.
I’m now living my childhood dream. Fighting and training in America was always what I hoped for as a five year old kid. Watching Kirkland Laing beat Roberto Duran, Lloyd Honeyghan fighting Marlon Starling, Nigel Benn beating Doug Dewitt and Iran Barkley in America. These British fighters were in some of the most glamorous fights in America, fighting the world’s best.
That is what I wanted to do. That is what inspired me.
My whole focus as a kid was about one day fighting and training in America. How was I ever going to achieve that? I would try my hardest, but perhaps I was just fooling myself. Would I ever be good enough? I had no real love for the amateur code, but it was a necessary part of the process to get to where I wanted to go.
If you have no goals, you will have nothing to aim for.
I watched Pernell Whitaker and Marvin Hagler as a young amateur. One was super skilful, and the other was as hard as nails, and would break down fighters. I learned from both of these fighting legends, and they also came from humble origins.
Many people have dreams, but far too many fail to follow them through, or they end up expecting opportunities to land in their lap. I’ve learned that you have to make your own opportunities.
I won a British title eliminator, but the British champions of 2007, would not fight me. I therefore decided to focus on getting fights in the States. I had been training there since 2005, but in 2008 I went there for six months. I knew nothing would come to me, so I had to go where it could happen, and give my all, and more.
I went to training camps with Dmitriy Salita, initially in Florida, and then up into the Catskills, which is in New York State. There I met Stan Hoffman, who has guided and worked with over thirty world champions. He saw something in me that made him believe I could well be a world champion. He got me an opportunity to fight on ESPN in 2008.
Since then I have fought IBF world number three Delvin Rodriguez, WBC world number two, Danny Garcia and former world champion and current WBC world number sixteen, DeMarcus Corley.
My name has been linked over the years with fights with Victor Ortiz, Jessie Vargas, Randall Bailey, Lamont Peterson, Zab Judah, Steve Forbes and Kendall Holt.
I have sparred former world champions Joan Guzman, Elio Rojas, Yuri Foreman, Paul Malignaggi and world ranked fighters Ajose Olusegun, Agenis Mendez, Dmitriy Salita, Francisco Figueroa, Leon Moore to name a few.
I have come a very long way, and it has been a long hard road. My perseverance, dedication, and a fear of failure has driven me forward even on my low days which I now appreciate, everyone gets. Even when I thought I would never fulfil the promise that I believed my talent was worthy of, I kept going. I never missed a shift, and remained determined throughout. I could not give up. I promised myself to see this thing through, no matter what.
At the end of my boxing career I wanted no regrets whatsoever.
I’m proud that sitting in a lonely and potentially soul destroying prison cell back in July 2000, I knew I had to change. I needed a big break, and it came when I was found not guilty. I had been given my chance, and I was going to grab it with both hands. Boxing was my chosen route, I was going to give my all and I’ve stuck to my word. That inner belief and constant faith in myself has started to be rewarded.
Maybe it is the Virgo in me, or maybe it’s my upbringing, but I’m now at a level where I need to continue to always strive for perfection.
My training camp base is New York City. I am more than happy with the work I do at Gleason’s gym. It has helped me get the biggest wins in my career.
Floyd Mayweather is the biggest name in the world of boxing at the moment, and he is in camp to train for his upcoming mega fight with Miguel Cotto.
Something inside of me said I needed to go to the Mayweather boxing gym in Las Vegas, to watch the master at work and see if I could get some tips to add to my personal arsenal.
Not everyone gets the opportunity to train at this most select of boxing schools. On my first day at the Mayweather gym, I had the opportunity to work with Roger Mayweather, plus I got to watch Floyd spar.
He did five minute rounds with minimal rest. He finished up his sparring session to go and pound the heavy bag; he then immediately jumped back in the ring to hit pads with his trainer and uncle, Roger Mayweather. He then finished up with some abdominal work. Outstanding!
50 Cent was in the building watching his friend workout. I was one of the very few who were allowed to stay and watch the pound for pound king work out. It was an honour to watch him at work. I had a ringside seat; he was entertaining, and every move was educational to watch.
Watching him at close quarters, he oozed confidence and self-belief. These are two things that a champion must have.
After finishing his workout, Floyd was talking with his family and he noticed me. He asked me what weight I was and what was my record? When he heard my London accent, he asked where I was I from.
Floyd said he would spar with me and test my skills.
That was my first day in the Mayweather gym, and I couldn’t have asked for a better first day.
I again worked with Roger Mayweather on my second day in the gym. It was an honour to work with him and for him to give up his time was very much appreciated.
To be the best you have to learn from the best, and I’ve sparred, fought and watched some of the best boxers of my generation.
I completed twenty seven hours training this week. Being in Las Vegas is the last place I would have ever thought to come for training camp, but just like when I’m in New York. It is a gym and home.
Home in Vegas is the Monte Carlo Resort and Casino Hotel.
I have just one more week’s training at the Mayweather Gym, and every day that I’m in the gym, I push as hard as possible. Training in the pound for pound king’s gym is a real inspiration and motivating in itself.
Many people say that I am very lucky to be living my childhood dream. I have to disagree! I had to make this happen. Luck had nothing to do with it. I have a goal and I work my hardest to make my dream a reality, at all costs.
As the man says, “the harder you work, the luckier you get”.
Anything is possible to achieve if you believe and work hard towards making it happen.
I am the perfect example of that!
An exciting and instructive week, topped off by seeing the best fighter in the world at very close quarters. It doesn’t get much better than that.
MISSING THE X-FACTOR
This is my fourth week of an eight week camp in America. Next week I will be in Las Vegas for a two week training camp at Mayweather’s boxing gym. I’m really excited at the prospect of watching the pound for pound king workout, and perhaps..
I’ve watched Manny Pacquiao work out at the Wildcard gym in Los Angeles, back in 2008 when Amir Khan had not long started working with Freddy Roach.
I’m a real student of the modern art of boxing, and love learning from the very
best. ‘Seeing is believing’ and nothing beats close proximity learning.
Manny Pacquiao has the most unbelievable work ethic in the gym, and since that experience, I have moved my training regime up a few notches.
I sparred with WBA 140lb world title challenger and current WBA 147lb world number fifteen, Dmitriy Salita, twice this week. Two other fighters joined in on our second session, and I got in some good rounds with two young hungry fighters.
On the road to success, there are always many distractions. ‘Stay focused and you will get to your destination’ is a motto I like to live by.
Last time I was in Las Vegas was for my 30th birthday celebrations. I had just
beaten IBF world number three, Delvin Rodriguez. So I went there to both recuperate and celebrate. Despite that being a great and memorable experience, this time I will be there for strictly business. I already have my tunnel vision tuned in, and will be my fully focused self.
My next, and just perhaps final defence of my British title, will be against Steve
Williams from Liverpool. Purse bids have been set for March 14th, and as long as Hatton Promotions win the bid; Richard Poxon’s plan is to do battle on April 21st, on the same card as Anthony Crolla’s British title defence against Derry Matthews in Oldham. I can’t wait.
I sparred with Steve Williams before my fight with Lenny Daws. It was competitive, and I enjoyed it. Steve’s dad filmed it, but it has yet to make its way on to YouTube. I wonder why?
I will knock out Steve Williams for sure; I 100% believe that. I’m not Karl Place,
who crumbled in two rounds. I’m a proud British champion, but with no disrespect, my talent is being wasted on the domestic scene. I’m finding it boring, and I therefore find myself fighting well within myself. I need fighters who will really push me, much more mentally and emotionally, rather than just physically.
I like Steve as a person, he is a good guy and I do respect him as a fighter. After
I win the Lonsdale belt outright, after knocking him out, I hope he comes back to win the title after I’ve stepped up.
In all my British title fights I have been behind after four rounds against Alan
Bosworth, Lenny Daws, Jason Cook and Ben Murphy. Domestic fighters seem to come ‘flying out the blocks’ and after bravely giving it there all, they wear themselves out.
Title fights are a marathon not a sprint. It always appears that I give my opponents a head start, whilst working them out, but I always come back to knock them out or dismantle them. Steve Williams and I are destined to deliver an all action fight. There will only be one winner though, and for the avoidance of doubt – that’s me!
This week I have killed myself in the gym. Every subsequent week I have stepped up my workout ethic. I am confident that there are only a few special people in world boxing who push as consistently hard as I do.
Try pushing yourself through twenty five to thirty hours training every week. Only the very top athletes live for and relish this punishing schedule. The top swimmers, triathletes and marathon runners are the athletes that I really respect and admire, as we have similar work ethics.
I’m a qualified sports nutritionist and strength trainer, so I’m always searching
for ways to improve my already world class arsenal. Nutrition is very important, as that provides the energy to push harder in training. Many people do not really understand the importance of nutrition in sport.
I use Vitabotics Wellman supplements, such as Wellman sport and Imunnance. High5 sport bars, carbohydrate drinks and energy gels help me through my gruelling workouts.
Tim Coleman is fighting Kendall Holt, and Kaiser Mabuza just beat Steve Willis. I would love to fight the winner of either bout, as that would propel me towards a world title bout. Mabuza recently lost to Zab Judah in a world title fight, and Kendall Holt just lost to Danny Garcia in a world title eliminator, he is also a former world champion. These two fighters would be top of my wish list for a July fight.
WBC world number one, Ajose Olusegun, asked me who is next up for me and I told him that I am fighting my mandatory challenger, Steve Williams from Liverpool. Ajose said “that would be an easy fight for me”. He said “it will only be as hard as I make it”. He always compliments me as the hardest working fighter he knows.
Ajose Olusegun is a fighter I have always believed would become world champion, and this year will surely be his year. It gives me a real buzz when world class fighters like him rate me so highly.
Being in Brooklyn, just keeps me motivated, as there is so much poverty and
homelessness around. On occasion, I just can’t help being generous to those people in need, it only takes a wrong decision, or bad choices that can easily lead to a miserable path of suffering. I certainly wasn’t dealt an easy hand in life, but I am doing my utmost to make sure it ends up being a winning hand.
I completed 30 hours of intensive training this week, and I am currently weighing 154lbs. I’ve dropped 6lbs whilst being here.
I relaxed with a massage on Sunday to refresh my body for the week ahead in Las Vegas.
Adrian Broner said after his win “Call him the ‘can’ man; Ameri-cans, Afri-cans,
Mexi-cans, Domini-cans, anybody ‘can’ get it.” You’ve got to love his self-belief
and humour. He is clearly enjoying his profession.
All great fighters have that natural self-belief, and at times that is the
difference between winning and losing. That inner belief kicks in at the toughest
moments, and fires you to prove again and again that you are the best.
Britain’s number one fighter, Carl Froch, will fight Lucien Bute in Nottingham on May 26th. Carl has fought the very best in the 168lb division. I can’t remember a British fighter who fought so many elite fighters back to back. From Mikkel Kessler, Andre Ward, Jermaine Taylor, Andre Dirrel, Jean Pascal, Glen Johnson to Arthur Abraham, not a light touch to be found.
Carl Froch is one of the true warriors of this generation, and I have so much
respect for him.
One of my favourite current fighters, Joan Guzman returned to the screens of ESPN on Friday night. He easily disposed of Jesus Pabon. He finished him with a left hook out of the southpaw stance.
I see this man train in the flesh all the time at Gleason’s gym, and it is inspiring
to train in his presence. His talent should have seen him on the level of Manny
Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather. Joan on his day is big trouble for any of the 140lb fighters. 2012 may be the year he adds another world title belt around his waist.
Wladimir Klitschko disposed of Jean Mormeck in far too easy fashion on Saturday. Mormeck was a disgrace, and should never have been in the ring with the champ, but such is the sorry state of the heavyweight division.
Wladmir named Tyson Fury and David Price as future opponents. His next fight will be against Tony Thompson, whom he has already beaten. The Klitschko brothers are good fighters, but.
Larry Holmes reigned over a weak heavyweight division, as did Mike Tyson in the eighties, but not quite this weak.
In the nineties Evander Holyfield, Lennox Lewis, Riddick Bowe, Tommy Morrison, Ray Mercer all had fantastic fights in the heavyweight division.
Now the heavyweight division is boring and predictable.
The Klitschko brothers are great ambassadors of the sport, always respectful of
their opponents, and they know how to present themselves to the media.
In America, it is far more likely for a 6ft plus athletic youngster to be attracted
by NFL, basketball, or baseball.
The state of boxing is very good, but we need a competitive and exciting heavyweight division.
We always could rely on the Olympics to provide future top American heavyweight contenders, but for the last American heavyweight or superheavyweight gold medallist we have to go back to Ray Mercer in 1988. The same year that Lennox Lewis beat Riddick Bowe for the gold medal in the superheavyweight final.
As we all know, the Olympics are in my home city this year, and I’m hoping that some new and hungry young talent emerges to help reignite a poor, and less than exciting heavyweight division.
Being in training camp offers the time and space to pause and reflect. Many fighters do not enjoy the isolation but I put it to good use by taking the time to think things through and reflect more whilst I am here. Mentally it strengthens me to be here.
I’ve never had hype attached to my name. In all my big fights I was supposed to lose and nine times out of ten I won. The only time I lost was to WBC world number two Danny Garcia, and that was a split decision on his promoter’s show. Many ringside observers and fight fans thought I won. Danny fights Erik Morales for the WBC world title and if he is successful it screams for an obvious rematch. Given that he is promoted by Golden Boy Promotions and I’m with Hatton Promotions, and they have worked well together in the recent past, it should be a real possibility to make it happen and I’ll be ready and confident.
Everything I have done in life, I have done it the hard way. Doing stuff the hard way is all I know and it brings a sense of satisfaction that I cannot describe.
I believe in myself and that belief comes from the hard work I put my body through
Whilst I’m thinking out aloud, just like Lennox Lewis, I plan on having kids after my boxing career. I have six more years as a professional athlete and that is my main focus right now.
My mother has always done her best for me and my brother, and I would want to be the same great parent to my kids. I just cannot do that right now as I’m only spending maybe six months a year in England. I’m a ‘hand’s on’ person in anything I do. If you want something done properly, do it yourself.
Every week I can feel that my fitness is improving and I can feel the increased strength and endurance that tells me that I’m getting into good shape.
I sparred with world title challenger and current WBA world number fifteen, Dmitriy Salita, on Monday at Starrett City in Brooklyn. Jimmy-O, the founder, died exactly a year ago and many gym users came for a big sparring session. There was a nice turn out. Jimmy-O was born in Britain, but came to America many years ago. He was Dmitry’s mentor and their great relationship reminded me of mine with All Stars founder, Isola Akay. He is a father figure to me, and I see him as an inspiration. Growing up, I could always go to him for advice. He was always there to support me.
I’ve completed twenty five hours training this week. I am getting fitter each day, and I can feel the tangible benefits of me coming out here to the States.
I love the fact I can say my occupation is a professional boxer. Not many people get to work in a job they actually enjoy.
I should be sparring with former World 154lb champion Yuri Foreman next week. Yuri and I sparred many years ago so it will be fun to trade punches once more.
Kendall Holt is supposed to be coming to Gleason’s gym on Tuesday for sparring. He is someone I would like to fight in the very near future. Kendal Holt would be another good name for me as he recently lost in a world title eliminator.
WBC International junior welterweight champion, Prawet Singwacha, would be another good opponent for me as he has a high ranking in the WBC and beating him would put me in touching distance of a career defining fight.
I’m looking forward to getting back on the world scene. I’m constantly stopped whilst I’m here in New York and nearly always asked when I am fighting in America?
I have unfinished business in Britain, even though beating fighters like Steve Williams or Lenny Daws are nothing more than routine wins for me. They’ll give me a workout if nothing else.
I’m itching to fight some ‘live’ opponents as I am fighting well within myself against domestic opposition.
Lee McCallister and Denis Shafikov was a fight that I watched with interest. I believed Shafikov would get a stoppage win by the ‘championship’ rounds and I was correct. Lee was way out of his league and quit on his stool citing a damaged hand. Well, I beg to differ.
I have fought with a damaged hand in the past. My finger bone popped out of its socket and I continued to fight. I even dropped my opponent and went on to win. The doctors said it is more painful than breaking a bone.
I would still go on to fight DeMarcus Corley six weeks later, which was another excruciating experience. I cannot even begin to describe the pain, but every time I hit DeMarcus I had to grit my teeth. I won that fight also.
It looked like Lee McCallister wanted a way out and found it. It was a disgrace to British boxing and he should never be allowed to fight for the European title again.
I received loads of messages the morning after the fight from fight fans saying how easily I would dismantle the European champion. I’m glad there are some people out there who appreciate my talent.
Devon Alexander and Marcos Maidana are two fighters I want to fight in the future. Alexander dealt with Maidana the same way I will deal with my mandatory challenger Steve Williams. Outbox, outfight and outmanoeuvre. It will be an easy night’s work. As world champion, Adrian Broner said on the undercard before his world title defence, ”I’m a make hard work like easy work. I’m a keep easy work, easy work. So at the end of the day it’s going to be easy money”.
Devon showed that Marcos can be out-boxed quite easily. DeMarcus Corley did just that for a few rounds in their fight a couple years back. Amir Khan struggled with Marcos Maidana. As Amir shipped heavy punishment in the later rounds, Prince Naseem wanted the fight to be stopped. Amir Khan is a good fighter, but there are many fighters better than him in the 140lb to 147lb divisions. All the same, I respect Amir for what he is doing, fighting the world’s best. Not many British fighters are willing to do that.
Adrian Broner is a future super star of the sport. Many people say boxing is dying. Not in my eyes it isn’t.
Ricky Burns vacated his belt and moved a whole weight division to stay away from Broner, and I can see why. He was superb against the unbeaten Eloy Perez stopping him in four rounds.
The kid has ‘star’ written all over him. In the next ten years I can see him becoming pound for pound king, if he continues his steady improvement.
Jessie Vargas and Lanardo Tyner fought on Friday night. I was offered a fight with Vargas on the undercard of Floyd Mayweather v Victor Ortiz. I was also offered a fight with Lanardo Tyner last June, but it was too close to my fight with Jason Cook. I’m not sold on Vargas; he’s called out Amir Khan and talked about being a world champion in the future. He has a long way to go just yet.
Zab Judah and Vernon Paris meet in an IBF world title eliminator to fight the winner of Amir Khan and Lamont Peterson on March 24th in Brooklyn. Zab has seen better days and I’m confused as to how he gets a world title eliminator chance after his last fight was a loss? If Vernon is any good he will beat Zab, who has seen much better days.
Kaizer Mabuza and Steve Willis fight for the IBO title in the next few weeks and I would love to fight the winner in the summer as that would be a step in the right direction for a world title shot.
Kendal Holt and Tim Coleman fight very soon with the winner looking to get a world title shot. I would beat both of them. Hatton Promotions just need to make the fight. The 140lb division is alive and kicking.
I have an important domestic engagement coming up then my deal with Hatton Promotions will really come to life as we are targeting the world’s best fighters in the world’s most exciting division.
MEN BEHAVING BADLY
When it comes to the 140lb division, I am at the top of the food chain in Britain and quite rightly, so many British fighters aspire to be where I currently am.
Over the last few weeks, Steve Williams, Adil Anwar and Curtis Woodhouse have all spoken out of their desire to challenge me for the British title; some slightly more respectfully than others. Be careful what you wish for guys.
It’s all part and parcel of climbing to the top. It all points to the fact that I’m on track to achieve my goals.
A competitive division is good news for all concerned, but the old boxing adage still rings true “to be the man, you have to beat the man” and they haven’t done that, nor will they. I’m preparing for bigger and better bouts and I’m not allowing any hiccups on my route to the top.
Way back, when I was in primary school, some 24 years ago, my dream was to become a professional boxer, and I am now so proud that I gave myself a clear goal and had something to both believe in and aim for. That 7 year old kid is now a 31 year old man and active in his chosen career. It has been a very hard road, but through constant self-belief, hard work, perseverance and determination I’m the British champion now.
I’m now one of a select few current British fighters who have fought and won in America against world ranked fighters. Only Amir Khan and Carl Froch come to mind as having done that.
This is my second week of an eight week camp and I will be pushing myself even more. Every camp I try and improve on what I did the previous camp. Last camp I sparred with former world champ Luis Collazo, world number one Ajose Olusegun, world number four Leon Moore, world title challengers Dmitriy Salita and Argenis Mendez plus former world number four Francisco Figueroa.
I had a great camp, filled with quality training and top of the range sparring which constantly pushed me to the limit. After mixing it with some top level operators and then to return home, fully fired up, only to fight Ben Murphy (with no disrespect to Ben, a true warrior who went out on his shield). You can see just how tough it is to come down from that ultra-competitive high and perhaps better understand where the passion in my performance gets lost.
As you’ve probably gathered I’m an ultra-competitive kind of guy, there is nothing like the fear of losing to stimulate me to work harder than may seem possible. It fires up everything I do, day and night. It’s the most fabulous and sustaining adrenalin rush you could imagine and fuels me to overachieve.
Therefore coming to the US and having the opportunity to work with great fighters just makes me hungry for more of the same and a deep yearning to return to fighting the best the States has to offer and more.
Without a hint of arrogance or overconfidence, it seems a waste to spar world class fighters only to end up fighting the likes of Curtis Woodhouse and Adil Anwar. Humberto Soto, Lamont Peterson, Kendall Holt are the kind of fighters I want to be fighting. That’s what excites me. Being in domestic fights is just not exciting enough, but winning the Lonsdale belt outright in my next fight will justify the necessary detour I have taken.
I came to camp weighing 160lbs and I have a target to drop around 12lbs whilst I am here. Safely dropping 2lbs a week.
I have dropped 4lbs so far since arriving and completed 25 hours training in the week. I’m finding my stride now and all I need is for the purse bids for my upcoming mandatory defence against Steve Williams to be finalised and Hatton Promotions matchmaker, Richard Poxon to confirm the date and venue. I will be ready and waiting.
Vitali Klitschko continued his reign as world champion on Saturday after a good performance. He is 40 years old but you would never have thought it after this win. Vitali can box and fight. He has a good range of punches and I could definitely see him reigning for a few more years. Dereck Chisora put in the top performance I expected of him. He showed what he was made of when he beat Robert Helenius; but the judges gave a terrible hometown decision, which robbed Dereck of the win result on his record.
Fortuitously for Dereck that performance got him his shot at the world title. It shouldn’t have to be that way, but the authorities need to step up and confront this ‘highway robbery’ otherwise no-one of worth will bother travelling.
Dereck was outclassed in the early rounds of the fight against Vitali, but he continued to ‘walk down’ the champion and bang him to the body, which took its toll as the rounds went by.
Dereck can hold his head high with the performance he gave inside the ring, but perhaps hang his head with his troubling antics outside the ring.
After the performance of his career, he will be remembered for continued unacceptable and disgraceful behaviour; he slapped Vitali, spat water in Wladamir’s face before the fight and at the press conference he got into a fight with David Haye.
There have been far too many shrill and less than well informed voices condemning the whole sport and all those who behave impeccably. Even the great Muhammad Ali had a scuffle on a TV set back in the 70’s with Joe Frazier. Tyson and Lewis also had a scuffle at a press conference. These things do happen every day in pubs, clubs and on every neighbourhood around the world. This is not excusing the well out of order behaviour, but keeping some level of perspective.
Unfortunately this was in front of the world’s media. Dereck is licensed by the BBBoC, whilst David Haye has retired and doesn’t have a BBBoC licence at the moment, Dereck must explain his actions to the BBBoC who oversee British boxing. If not checked and action taken, this could affect the livelihoods of those involved in boxing in the UK.
Dereck can say he did not hit David first, therefore he is not to blame, and David can reply that Dereck threatened to slap him when interviewed by the media during fight week. So he feared for his safety.
For all the bad blood and unacceptable behaviour, which must not be condoned or ‘brushed under the carpet’, after the dust settles, we do have a guaranteed box office grudge fight between David Haye and Dereck Chisora.
The heavyweight division has been missing some real excitement and matching these two fighters against each other is guaranteed to bring fireworks and huge commercial revenues.
We’ve had unsavoury behaviour before in boxing, and we will no doubt have it again, but let’s not overreact, this thankfully happens less than 1% of the time.
BACK WITH BROOKLYN’S FINEST
Just finished my first week at training camp in the good old US of A and I am feeling excited by another great and exacting camp.
Last camp I sparred with former world champion Luis Collazo, world title challengers Argenis Mendez and Dmitriy Salita, world number five Leon Moore, former world number four, Francisco Figueroa and world number one Ajose Olusegun, who by the way, I’m tipping to be world champion by the time 2012 is over.
It feels so good to be back in New York City. It’s a fighter’s city, ‘no quarter asked for and no quarter given’. It is just inspiring being here and I have to push myself that little bit more, raising my game all the time. Everyone is trying to be the best they can be and I am no different.
Looking back, I have fought former world champion DeMarcus ‘Chop Chop’ Corley just after he lost on points to former world champion and current WBC 147lbs world number one, Devon Alexander and before he lost to former world champion and current IBF 147lbs world number one Randall Bailey.
DeMarcus has just beaten the WBC number sixteen, Gabriel ‘Tito’ Bracero, from New York City. He is still pulling off upsets.
I dropped a split decision to WBC world number two in 2010, Danny Garcia, and a few months later I jumped up to 147lbs and beat IBF world number three and former world title challenger Delvin Rodriguez.
My best performances have come in America when I have been the underdog or in a 50/50 fight. Being here just fires me up.
Danny Garcia is due to fight WBC world champion Erik Morales in March, I believe Danny is capable of winning. Delvin Rodriguez is in line to fight Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez on May 5th in Las Vegas. Three of my biggest opponents, two of whom I have beaten are now lining up against elite opposition, and I am so looking forward to getting back in the mix at world level.
As much as I’m proud to be the British champion, there is just not the same excitement as fighting the world’s best. My current challengers are leagues below me both talent wise and experience wise. Whereas I am their biggest fight, they are another name, another victory. They have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
As the British champion, my name has been mentioned by so many fighters who are not even good enough to be my sparring partners, let alone challenge me for the British title. It comes with the territory, but…
I am missing the excitement and intensity I felt when I fought Corley, Garcia and Rodriguez in America. My name had been linked with Randall Bailey and Lamont Peterson in IBF world title eliminators. Fighting the world’s best is what brings out the best in me. Whilst I train and spar with some of the world’s best fighters, it just makes me hungry to be fighting them for real again.
As I announced on the Steve Bunce Hour on BoxNation a couple of weeks ago, Timothy Bradley will fight Manny Pacquiao on June 9th and Lamont Peterson was offered a fight with Juan Manuel Marquez. Perhaps I do know what I’m talking about!
Peterson has decided to fight Amir Khan in a rematch.
Peterson has learned first-hand, that if you walk Amir Khan down and pressure him you will always stand a chance.
Interestingly, Peterson was paid around $10,000 for his world title eliminator with Victor Cayo, moving up to $650,000 for his world title challenge to Khan. Now he is in line to pick up a whopping 1.5 million dollars plus a fifty-fifty split of TV revenue around the world. Good business indeed!
Marcos Maidana is fighting Devon Alexander, the world’s best are certainly fighting each other, and I’m hopeful of adding my name to that mix with the support and direction of Hatton Promotions.
This weekend was supposed to be Andre Berto vs Victoria Ortiz. Humberto Soto is fighting Lucas Matthysse on the undercard of Peterson vs Khan. The 140 to 147lb division is currently overflowing with talent.
I cannot wait to win my Lonsdale belt outright and get back onto the world scene. On my day I believe I could beat Peterson, Berto, Ortiz, Soto and Maidana, who all fight in the next few months and those are the fights that Ricky Hatton and Hatton Promotions matchmaker, Richard Poxon will be making.
My first week in New York City has gone well and it is really nice to be back. Each week will get progressively harder, but I am ready for the pain and the gain that come with it.
I arrived in New York City weighing 160lbs and I plan to leave weighing a minimum of 147lbs. I’ve been wearing the highly effective Swelter wear for six months now and it makes it easy to drop the pounds.
Whilst I’m in America, I always train to the limit, and I always use the best of British sports supplements. I stock up on HIGH5 and Wellman. I’ve been using both for years and my body obviously reaps the benefits as I’m on a hot winning streak.
I’ve dropped one loss in four years, which was to WBC world number two Danny Garcia.
Hatton promotions should hopefully be announcing the name of my opponent and the date of my next defence very soon.
I’ll be ready, waiting and extremely hungry.
PRIDE AND PREJUDICE
Like all boxers, I’m at my best when I have a definitive goal to train and sharpen up for. I have a low boredom threshold, just ask my team. The last few weeks have been nothing more than OK, as I look forward to a definitive date and a definitive opponent for my next defence.
I started the year focused on my mandatory defence against Nigel Wright, after he had to pull out of our scheduled match in December after failing a brain scan. After further tests, Nigel received the terrible news that he will not be able to fight again for at least a year.
This is tragic news for Nigel, his family and his fans. I wish him the very best of luck and hope things turn out well for him.
Fortunately, this week has been a hectic week for me.
I’ve spent the last month getting myself in shape to begin my eight week training camp in America. I am planning to spend two weeks in the Pocono’s mountains and six weeks in New York City, with a goal of dropping 15lbs in the process and getting myself into peak condition.
I started my week with an interview on Steve Bunce’s Hour on BoxNation TV (watch it here). It was a lively and entertaining session, as is everything Steve gets involved in.
We spoke about my plans for 2012 and he wanted my view on the various big fights in my weight division. It was fast, furious and fun. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Awaiting a call from Ringside to appear with their excellent pundits; Johnny Nelson, Glen McCrory and Richie Woodhall.
UK Swagger TV, the urban TV channel, have been filming me for an episode of their ‘Inspiring Individuals’ series. They were backstage at BoxNation’s studios to capture more exclusive footage.
I have been working on a documentary with NKTV, and they were also at BoxNation. NKTV have been on the case for some 18 months now, starting with my training camp in New York in 2010 whilst I was preparing for my successful challenge for the British title against Lenny Daws.
They will wrap up filming after I successfully defend my British title, hopefully in April. They have interviewed my friends and family, who have seen my struggles and successes over the years. Even if I say so myself, Sky Sports and BoxNation listen up, it will be worth watching (and screening).
On Thursday, I went to Nickel Spa in Holborn, London, to relax and take time out from all the hard work I’ve been doing. I got my usual facial and deep tissue massage.
I left there feeling on top of the world and ready for the hard work ahead in America.
On Friday, I attended my grandmother’s funeral in Paddington, London with a heavy heart. It was sad to see the head of the Theophane family go to a better place. At the same time because of her, I am aware and proud of my St Lucian roots, which led me to fight on the island for Showtime on an Andre Ward undercard a couple of years ago.
The generous support I received from the Saint Lucians was amazing. Currently the Minister of Sports and a proactive MP, Menissa Rambally, in St Lucia are interested in opening an ‘Ashley Theophane Boxing Academy’ on the island. I’m very flattered.
I’m also currently working on launching the ‘Ashley Theophane Foundation’, which will help and support disadvantaged kids, alongside the Treasure’s boxing gym in Paddington.
Death is the inevitable end of our short existence, and the funeral served to remind me to try and appreciate my loved ones whilst they’re here. It’s become a cliché, but ‘life is just too short’ to allow differences and arguments to last too long. It really is worth making up and trying to be as happy as this tough life allows. My grandmother made me realise that ‘hope’ is so much harder than ‘despair’, but it’s so much more fulfilling.
We all deserve the right to have an inspiring dream and continue to drive towards it every day. She was a very special woman.
The boxing great, Angelo Dundee, sadly passed away on Wednesday in Florida at the age of 90. He was one of the best coaches in the boxing business. He was a brilliant motivator and strategist. He will be best remembered for being in the corner of both Muhammad Ali and Sugar Ray Leonard for all of their most memorable fights. Dundee worked with 15 world champions spanning a 60 year career, and he did everything with dignity and humility, he will be sorely missed.
This week Floyd Mayweather Jr. announced that he will be fighting 154lbs world champion Miguel Cotto on May 5th. These are two of my favourite fighters over the last ten years, so I am looking forward to watching them battle it out.
I have one more defence of my British title before claiming the Lonsdale belt outright. Right now, the former European, British and Commonwealth champion, Alex Arthur, is my number one choice, as he is the biggest name currently campaigning in the 140lbs division on the domestic scene.
If Alex is otherwise occupied or turns down the fight, I would like to offer Lenny Daws a rematch, as we had a competitive fight the first time around, and as he was brave enough to give me a chance, I’d like to return the favour.
There is no lack of opponents – every boxing forum on the web appears to have someone else ‘calling me out’ for a shot at the title. There has been some fabulous banter, and of course, some not so clever stuff, but ‘all in a day’s work’ for the champion, as they say. Everyone is entitled to their view.
I have to point out to some, that I have knocked out or stopped all of my opponents in my British title defences.
The start of the year has been a bit of a slow one for me, but the excellent match maker, Richard Poxon, of Hatton Promotions is on the case, working on a date, venue and opponent.
I’m looking forward to hearing some good news real soon and you’ll be the first to know.