PROFESSIONAL boxing has found a way to survive and that’s brilliant. But without the amateur system, without the grassroots clubs, there will be no Olympians and no world champions in this country.
I’m in Finchley now, the amateur club that made me. Amateur clubs are in danger, they will go under. Without Finchley, I don’t know what I’d be doing now. Sean Murphy says I’d be inside. I remember I got kicked off the Olympic squad in 2011 and I gave up on boxing.
I started going back to my local area, I started smoking again. Sean rang my mum and said, “Where’s your son? He’s messing around. Get him back here to the gym.”
That shows how important it is not just to have the gyms open, but to have access to people from an older generation who can give that sense of wisdom, a sense of belonging and guidance. From the start of this year, the gyms have been struggling badly. That needs to change.
This is a natural cause for me. I got in touch with Rob [McCracken] about it. My scheme will support the federations of English boxing, Scottish boxing, Welsh boxing who – when we donate this money to these federations – can distribute to the grassroots clubs that really need it.
I feel like the reason the Tyson Fury fight is a good fight is it’s a UK fight between two heavyweights. With what is happening in this current climate, us coming together is powerful.
But also, on a bigger scale, it is two guys who have come through grassroots sports and the system and are now putting on one of the biggest fights in British history that could boost the economy. The government has done a great job so far but I definitely want to get the attention of the people in power, so that next time some of these funds go to boxing.
How close is the Fury fight? I promise you conversations are happening. But until you hear it from me, don’t buy into anything. I’m serious about the fight so when I announce it you’ll know it’s real. I’m taking my time because there has been a lot of back-and-forth for years. I’ve been chasing this road to undisputed and when the time is right I’ll announce it and I’ll have my mind fully focused on the job at hand. When it was Deontay Wilder in my way, that was my focus and he admitted we gave him lucrative offers that he turned down. Now it’s Tyson Fury that’s my pure focus. The offers will be made, substantial offers.
I’ve fought many champions before so it’s obvious to see we’ve done business with world champions before. It’s no different with Fury, he should take this fight with both hands. The money will be split down the middle.
It would be special if all the belts were on the line but I feel like the cries from the public are just for me to fight Tyson Fury.
Trust me, he knows what’s coming. He’s known about my uppercut from when we sparred when I was an amateur. All I wanted then was his Rolex watch: He said before that spar, ‘If you can beat me up or knock me out, you can have my Rolex watch’. I was hungry then and I am even hungrier now. That is what I did to him then, it was a good spar and I didn’t really know too much, it was just passion.
Now I have some boxing IQ as well as passion, I know it will be a great fight. There was a Rolex, which he didn’t give me by the way, but now there is an even bigger pot of gold at the end of this rainbow and I want to take his head off his shoulders when that fight happens.
I am not just looking at Tyson Fury, but also how long I can give to the sport. What more do I have to give? I am young and fit, I don’t do anything else so boxing is fun for me and keeps me busy.
Tyson Fury is a good challenger, someone to help me progress, he will be a great learning fight. Once that is done, I will go on to compete with the rest of the division. All it is about for me is competing with the best, challenging myself and making history.