3RD FEBRUARY 1986
NORTH WEST LONDON
I’m just an average guy really who got into Boxing when I was really young at the age of 10 and found a passion for it and stuck with it and here I am 19 years later! I like music, clothes and catching up on reality shows – love a munch and am a real foodie which doesn’t help when I’m making weight for a fight! I’m not everyone’s cup of tea – a bit like Marmite with the love/hate mix but for die hard boxing fans – hopefully I’ll build a legacy to be up there with the best Boxers in the World.
I was never that academic at school and I soon lost interest but I was lucky enough to find boxing when my dad and my grandad took me down to the local Boxing Club to get rid of some excess energy. I found something that I was good at so I worked hard and it paid off. I had a focus, channelled all my energy into the sport and I never gave up! Funnily enough, at the time, all I was interested in was the sparring part and I soon learned the discipline of training hard and the importance of being healthy with it.
I’ve been brought up in Harlesden which doesn’t have the best reputation but it’s always been home to me so I’m respectful of that and there was a time when I could have ‘fallen in’ with the norm and life could have been very different – kind of like a sliding doors moment.
When I was in my teens, I went through a bit of a rebellious stage and I nearly went off the tracks but luckily I was kept on the straight and narrow with a bit of good, strong parenting from my mum and dad and the love of a close family unit.
I’m from a very close family and family is everything to me! I cherish them and one day I’ll be in a position to ‘give back’ and it’s one of the things that drives me on.
I’ve had many achievements since I began boxing – from schoolboy championships to winning bronze at the Commonwealth Games 2004. I won two ABAs and was privileged to be selected for the England squad for The Olympic Games in Beijing 2008. As part of the squad, I was so lucky to have the one to one training and mentoring from the England Training Camps and was so proud to then achieve Gold for Great Britain and to then be honoured with an MBE was beyond my wildest dreams!
After winning Gold I decided to venture into the world of Professional Boxing signing with Frank Warren Promotions back in 2008 and what a roller coaster ride it’s been! Within 9 fights I was British Super-Middleweight Champion. Within 12 fights I won the European Super-Middleweight Title and then went on to win the WBC Silver Belt in fight 15 against Zuniga.
Since winning my IBF title I have been defending my belt in North America for the last two years’ with successful victories in Canada and Washington and came very close to unifying the titles against WBC Champion Badou Jack in January 2017 at the Barclays centre New York. This bout was declared a controversial draw in which many thought I had won. After the Jack fight, I had to undergo surgery to my right shoulder to rectify an injury which has been plaguing me for over two years but now I’m back ready for a big-return to the ring and hoping for some exciting super-fights in 2018In May 2015 I fought and won Andre Dirrell and became the IBF Super-Middleweight Champion of the World! Today my focus on the sport is stronger than ever!
I have the discipline, the energy and the determination to succeed.