The Badou Jack Fight
The Badou Jack fight was a fight I wanted for a while and I was geared up for it.
Jack was a strong opponent and I trained hard, but when I watched the fight back, I realised I could have done things slightly differently to get the win I wanted.
I sat on his chest, had a war and played him at his own game. I and got stuck in but I could have made that fight so much easier, so there are a couple of regrets, but the boxing fans seemed to be pleased with the fight and that’s the main thing.
A couple of things didn’t help in the run up to the fight. Firstly my shoulder was playing up but I didn’t think too much of it, then in the week of the fight I hadn’t slept on the Tuesday night due to jet-lag.
For the first four rounds I moved my feet and I won those rounds but again looking back, it’s so frustrating because if I’d kept to that strategy I would have won easily.
Then Jack caught me with an uppercut in the eighth round and it looked like he’d knocked my tooth out but it was actually a bridge I had in and it came out. If you look back at the fight, my coach Jim runs back to the centre of the ring to pick it up.
The bridge had been fitted when I was in Miami ten days before the fight. I was doing my last spar and it was knocked out so it must have been a bit loose to start with in New York. Prior to that I’d had the bridge fitted three years ago because I had lost my tooth when I was about 15 so wanted to make it look a bit better.
So long story short, because the bridge had come out, I couldn’t get grip on the gumshield and I couldn’t bite down on it, so it came out a couple of times during the fight but the ref thought I was spitting it out. He came to my corner after the tenth round and said if it came out again, I’d be disqualified! Jim turned round and said, "His f****** teeth have come out, can’t you see?!"
Before the last round, Jim told me to have a big round and I'd win the fight. I probably went out there a bit tired and I got caught, it was just a glancing blow to the temple.
Jack hit me and it did hurt me, but I wasn't out on my feet and my legs felt strong. I got hit and the next thing I knew I was on the floor, but I got up, my head was clear and I finished that round very strong. I showed a lot of heart, a lot of grit and I know that when it gets hard, I can get through it.
In my head I’d given Jack one of the first six rounds, plus I had the knockdown and I finished the fight strongly in the 10th and 11th rounds. The fight was good, competitive and hard, but I definitely thought I won and a lot of knowledgeable people in the boxing world had me up.
The only frustrating thing is that if I hadn’t been knocked down, I would have become unified Champion of the World. All I needed to do was stand up in the last round and I would have won the fight but in the end the result was a draw. Disappointing but the main thing was that I was still World Champion.
After the fight, I rang my mum as soon as I got back to the changing room to get her to make an emergency dental appointment and the following morning I had the bridge put back in – 15 minutes and back to normal!
Floyd Mayweather came to my hotel at 4am after the fight to see if I was OK. He came with his entourage and spent 45 minutes talking about the fight, saying I was a great fighter and that he wanted to sign me but I wasn’t interested. My heart was set on fighting at home in the UK and fighting in London is second to none because we’ve got the best boxing fans in the World. I wanted to fight in front of my own people and to experience the atmosphere at The O2 or ultimately at The Emirates.
After the fight I took a couple of weeks off, had a couple of holidays and let my body recover before heading straight back into the gym to focus on the next fight.