BN: From the public’s perspective, the latest regarding your story was news of your provisional suspension from fighting by UK Anti-Doping. What’s the latest from yours?

I’ve been training. I’m out here in the States, working hard with John [Ryder]. In terms of the legal case at the minute, I know we’re dealing with UKAD. And clearing my name – that’s the only thing I’ve ever wanted to do from the start. Get it all sorted. But there’s a lot of politics involved; my priority is getting all this cleaned up.

BN: Speculation had persisted that you would fight Chris Eubank Jnr. How disappointing was it when his rematch with Liam Smith was confirmed?

Not disappointing at all. Listen, everything for a reason. If it’s for me it won’t pass me. There’s other fights out there to be made. There’s other big names – bigger names – that have been mentioned, so, really, I’m on the title hunt this year. That’s the plan for me. I just trust in my team to let them do what they’ve got to do and I’ll just do my part and stay ready.

BN: Those around you have spoken about your struggles on a human level. How are you now?

I’ve been broken. I’ve been really broken. I’ve been upset. I’ve been angry. I’ve been bitter. It’s like I’ve mourned my career. I’m still struggling to accept now, what’s happened. I’m still struggling to accept that this is something I’ve got to deal with now, probably every day. But, you know, it’s getting better every day. I’m getting better every day. At one stage I was down and out; I was broken and there was no point of return.

The hardest fight is life. I could have never foreseen this. I could have never predicted it. I could have never thought I’d be in this situation. It shocked me, and there’s a lot of regrets, the way I dealt with this. There’s a lifetime of regrets in the way I’ve dealt with this. But I’ve got to keep it moving, and I’m so grateful for my team for sticking with me and showing me support every day and for my trainer [Tony Sims] calling me every single day, ‘cause he could see how bad I was. It’s only now I’m getting through it, where people go to me, “Yeah, you didn’t look so great”, and I’m going, “I thought I was dealing with it well”. But it’s when people tell you, “Nah, you didn’t look great”, you realise how bad and traumatic it actually was.

[Exhales] Just bad. It was bad.

I’m through the worst part of it. I’m through the worst part of it, because people are now starting to see what’s what. People know my makeup; they know what I stand for; they know what I represent; they look at my team; they look at the closest people to me. It all screams, “Hard work”. It all screams, “Dedication and applying myself”, nothing else. I’ve had a lot of support, and I’m grateful for the people that have supported me through this period. You ride the highs together; you ride the lows. My supporters, who support me everyday, all know, and I’m grateful for that. You can get caught up in social media and what social media’s saying – that’s not reality, because when I go to boxing shows and when I walk on the street it’s nothing but love. It’s all love. Which is crazy. Never once in this whole period has anyone ever said anything. In fact, it’s all love. “I can’t wait to see you back in the ring. I can’t believe the way they’re treating you.” Everyday. So I’m really grateful. I know social media looks a lot – it’s the minority.

BN: What’s next?

I can fight. I can fight tomorrow. We’re sorting some big fights now. There are big names. The [Manny] Pacquiaos; the Kell Brooks, but I’m looking more towards titles. I’m not coming back for – I can’t even say “Coming back”. I’ve been here. Just give me whoever. I’ve been number one in Britain for the past two years; maybe it is me coming over here [to America] and cleaning up over here. There’s no one, domestically, for me. Whoever my team put in front of me. But I ain’t coming back for no easy fight.

BN: So your next fight will be overseas?

[Nods] Highly likely.

BN: The British Boxing Board of Control have spoken about disciplining those around you if they assist you in fighting overseas. Does that put you in a difficult position?

Not at all. Everyone’s starting to see what’s what. We’ve got an email, that they don’t recognise VADA [the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association]. We’ve got an email for another fighter. They trust VADA enough to say that I’ve tested positive, and then they don’t trust them enough to say that I’m innocent. Bearing in mind they said they don’t recognise that organisation to us in previous emails. So it’s pretty strange what’s going on, and I think people are starting to see the way they’ve actually been through this whole process. They can’t stop me from fighting abroad. I don’t know, legally, if they can do that. They’re just trying to stop me from fighting. It’s got nothing to do with my innocence. This has nothing to do with my innocence now. I know we’re dealing with UKAD separately, but this has gone beyond that, and I hope people now see that this is now politics; this is now TV rights; this is now other big promotional companies wanting to stop me from fighting. It’s not what it seems. It’s all politics. You know, that’s fine. If I’m in the middle of that then that’s cool. But [in this context] nothing is what it seems.

I was tested by VADA, passed UKAD, tested by VADA, passed UKAD. It don’t make no sense. None of this whole thing makes any sense. I’ve always turned up for my UKADs. I’ve never missed a test in my life. They’ve got to follow through with it otherwise they look silly. I have nothing to hide. I have zero to hide.

I wear my heart on my sleeve. I talk the truth. Could I have dealt with this a lot better? I could have. I have so many regrets about the way I’ve dealt with this, but it come as a shock. I didn’t know what to say. I didn’t know what to do, and I was probably making it worse because I’m talking from the heart. I’m opening up. It’s hard. I know how it looks but I’ll never [hold my hands up and say I cheated when I believe I didn’t].

BN: So you’re not concerned about, for example, the prospect of Tony Sims getting a ban for working your corner?

I don’t believe he would. I don’t believe they can do that.

BN: How would you have handled this differently?

I’d give the public an explanation. The public wanted an explanation. I think I turned a little bit bitter towards the boxing community; a bit bitter towards the public and the way they reacted. When it’s like, “I’m one of your own; give me a minute; I live by the sword; I live this life; I’m about this life; I do nothing but want to deliver entertainment for the British public”. So for me it was, “Wow, you guys are going to turn that quick? Give me a chance”. Just give me a chance. Wait until you hear from the horse’s mouth what’s the craic – what’s happened? It was hard, and yeah, I turned bitter, but you’ve got to remember, every single day, I’m getting fired at. Every day. Religiously. And I’m like, “I can’t talk”. How can I come out and talk about this when I don’t even know what’s happened? What am I going to do? “Guys – sorry – I don’t know”? That’s not good enough. I can’t sit there and go, “It’s not good enough, guys”. I had to wait to find out everything before I could then talk about it.

[Through not immediately attempting to offer an explanation] it was like, “Oh my gosh, you guys have really made up your own minds on this already”, and you didn’t even give me a chance. Legally, I couldn’t talk, number one, but number two, what am I supposed to say? What am I supposed to say? I’m broken. It’s killed me. It’s killed me. ‘Cause I could never do that to my family, and then I’m looking at my son and going, “My son’s [Ely, two] gotta read all this [one day]”. I’m 26. I can’t cope. Couldn’t deal with it. It’s mega, this is. It’s shame. It’s public humiliation, for something that I despise. Something I frown upon massively. I couldn’t have done nothing at the beginning, but every time I wish I’d just opened up, what am I supposed to say when I don’t even know myself [what happened]?

I’ve been working hard. I’m extremely excited for the public to see a spectacular knockout in my next fight.