Category Archives: Blog

February 6, 2018
February 6, 2018
Lawrence Okolie

Mark Robinson/Matchroom boxing

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WHEN a fight doesn’t deliver in the way we’d hoped it would then it seems that it has be someone’s fault, that somebody must be to blame and be held accountable for not delivering the level of entertainment that was promised.

So I’ve been trying to work out where that blame really lies and have narrowed the cluster of likely culprits down to the following.

Chief Suspect: ‘The promoters. A no brainer. They were the ones who made the match in the first place and told everyone how great it was going to be and how we should buy tickets for it or at the very least watch it on TV. And they were wrong. They misled us and all in the name of making a profit at our expense.’

Willing accomplices: ‘The broadcasters. Pretty much bang to rights to you’d have to say. They provided the platform responsible for invading our subconscious and brainwashing us into drinking the promoters’ Cool Aid.’

Accessories to the crime: ‘The fighters themselves. Hiding in plain sight. They were the ones in the ring and should have tried harder and been better.’

Case closed. Just a case of sentencing. Life bans all round I think.

You’ll have noticed, I’m sure, that the above is laced with an unhealthy dose of sarcasm. It’s not a style I’m a fan of and so not one I indulge in often but I’ve found myself resorting to it because of how totally exasperating I’ve found some of the reaction to Saturday’s fight between Lawrence Okolie and Isaac Chamberlain.

You’d probably already guessed that that was the fight that’s inspired this but I could be talking about any fight that didn’t turn out to be as good as we hoped it would be or indeed any sporting event at all that’s ever fallen into that category.

Lawrence Okolie

You don’t have to follow sport for long before you realise that it’s not an exact science, that it’s unpredictable and that it’s that very unpredictability which makes it both appealing and maddening in equal measure. The highs it can provide are like nothing else, as can be the lows, and that’s just for spectators. Boxing is unique in that it’s a sport that makes its own fixtures. It’s an intoxicating dynamic because in theory it makes anything possible, which is amazing, in theory; the problem is that it’s not actually true in practice. But it’s very tempting for people to think that it is true and to demand that the fixture-makers get it right every time.

But they can’t. All a promoter can do is make what their experience tells them will be a good match and then hope that they’re right. All TV or radio can do is provide the best coverage they can and hope that what they’re covering catches fire. All the fighters can be expected to do is train hard and try to win.

I’m not a promoter but it seems to me that the principles behind making a top of the bill match, the match that a show will be sold on, is like placing a bet. You carefully weigh everything up and then invest your money in what you believe will be a winner. And you really do have to believe it because the other thing you have to do is convince people that you’re right and to join you in your venture, making their own investment of time and money. The one thing it would be absolutely insane to do is make a selection that you don’t think will be a winner, that you don’t believe in. If you do that you’ll quickly lose all your money and go out of business.

My point is that there is nobody involved in a boxing promotion who doesn’t want it to work, who doesn’t want the top of the bill to be Gatti vs Ward and for the whole thing to be a smash hit. Nobody. That’s what everyone wants but it won’t always happen, there’ll be misses too. But there’s nothing sinister about a miss, no chicanery or deception, nobody’s been conned or robbed, it’s just what happens. And it wouldn’t be sport if it didn’t happen. You might not believe this but if every fight was Gatti vs Ward we’d get bored of it; it’s the misses that make us appreciate the hits more.

So next time a fight doesn’t deliver just ask yourself one question. Did you agree that it was a good match when it was made? If you did then there’s really nothing to complain about. If you thought it was a bad one from the start but still paid for a ticket or invested time watching it then you can’t complain either because that was your choice, nobody forced you. We’ve all been players in both of those movies countless times. There’s another option of course, which is to decide that something’s not worth your time and happily ignore it but that’s a movie I don’t want a part in. Yes, you’ll save yourself some disappointment and irritation but you’ll also miss out on some glorious surprises, and they’re the best of all.

And just one last thing. If you feel a fight has let you down, don’t blame the fighters. They’re just trying to win and in the process taking themselves to a place that most of us can’t even imagine.

February 3, 2018
February 3, 2018
Lawrence Okolie vs Isaac Chamberlain

Lawrence Lustig/Matchroom

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THE rivalry between the two London cruiserweights has captivated enough attention to headline at a busy O2 Arena. Lawrence Okolie vs Isaac Chamberlain sees the two meeting at an early stage of their respective careers in a fascinating match up that will be hard to predict.

Also on the card, Ted Cheeseman takes a major step up against American veteran Carson Jones. Commonwealth champion Reece Bellotti is in action against Ben Jones.

Plus Rio 2016 Olympic bronze medallist Joshua Buatsi will be in his fourth professional contest.

Scroll down for all the latest updates.

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February 2, 2018
February 2, 2018
Olympic boxing

Action Images

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I want to talk about amateur boxers no longer wearing headguards and what my thoughts are on this for boxing.

The first high profile tournament in which head guards weren’t used since I took up the sport was the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow back in 2014, followed by the 2016 Olympics in Rio.

I remember when I first heard about the rule change I was upset and it made me a bit angry. I thought it was going to be very bad and may even kill boxing!

I’ll tell you why:

The main reason parents don’t let their kids take up the sport is because they don’t want them to get hurt, right?

The only time parents see amateur boxing is in the Olympics or Commonwealth Games, they see the headgear worn and still many don’t really want them to box, but hey, “It’s an Olympic sport with head protection, maybe it’s not that bad.” Rarely did you see a swollen eye a bruise or even a cut.

Now they’ve taken the headguard protections away (for all senior male boxers, including novices), will parents be comfortable letting their kids fight right now?

With head guards, it was very rare you would see a cut in amateur boxing. Now, I see more cuts in one tournament than I did from all my years fighting as an amateur combined.

Don’t get me wrong, you can still get hurt and knocked out badly while wearing a headguard, but the thing that bothers me most is these cuts.

As an amateur boxer, I had 96 fights and over 60 were for England/GB fighting against champions of different countries, yet I only ever received one cut.

When I turned pro, I had 10 fights without headgear, received six cuts and had over 75 stitches on my face. I never fought anyone close to champion as a pro!

The slightest touch of heads in the pros and I would have blood running down my face. Now, I am left with scars on my face that will be there for the rest of my life (honestly, I love these scars).

Now if you’re a parent and you see this in a tournament like the Olympics, are you going to put the love of your life into this sport where you see faces full of blood? Hell no! Find me a football school any day.

Head guards don’t only protect your head, they protect your hands too.

When you are punching a rock hard skull rather than an inch of padding on a head guard, your hands take twice as much punishment.

Had I fought without headguards in the amateurs I would never have made the Olympics because of hand injuries; I know this for a fact.

boxing

I believe this whole thing is a money-making scheme for the guys at the top of the world’s governing body, AIBA. They seem to want to go into professional boxing. They are even trying to drop the word amateur from their title.

I remember when I was in London for the 2012 Olympics doing some work for the BBC,  I had a meeting with a guy who was high up in the AIBA and he told me they would let pros fight in the Olympics. (They did for Rio 2016, Hassan N’dam N’jikam for example qualified.)

The idea then would be to form a boxing league with the professionals – who must be top level – and the fighter that wins the tournament at each weight will win a space in the 2016 Olympics.

When I asked him about the payments for a fight, it was something like $3,000 each fight which is terrible for a world-class amateur turning professional, especially at that level fighting other world class champions, but the boys from poor countries will do it.

If this happened 15 years ago, you would have had the likes of Lomachenko fighting Rigondeaux and being paid $3k.

The plan was for the AIBA to televise these fights which would be great and make lots of money, while the fighters would make the bare minimum.

They also changed the rules with the computer scoring, now it’s more like professional fighting scoring – this is so the fighters get used to using the pro-style – and I’m not a fan of it at all. Why would they not just keep it as it is – you hit him, you get a point, he hits you he gets a point? Simple, right?

Now the aggressive fighter wins the round and it is at the judges’ discretion.

I worry that, if it’s easier to manipulate, it could be that the judge whose palm has been greased the most will decide which boxer will win the Olympics.

I personally think this is slowly hurting the sport and making it more dangerous just so the people at the top can make extra cash. I’ve been tweeting my thoughts on this and most people have agreed with me. A few seem to think it will bring better fights and I guess if you like seeing kids get their faces cut up and bruised up when they not getting paid, yeah, it makes great fights.

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January 26, 2018
January 26, 2018
Errol Spence Jr

Stacey Verbeek

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FIGHTERS progress at different rates and that was shown on the big show at the weekend where Errol Spence was making a defence of his IBF welterweight title and Marcus Browne was fighting in a 10-round support fight. Both were members of the US men’s Olympic Team in 2012 which failed to win a medal. Spence was the only one to make it to the quarter-finals and the US had to rely on Claressa Shields to put an American at the top of the podium. Spence is a world champion and Browne despite his 21-0 record is probably a year away from a title fight and his name has yet to come up when discussing challengers for Sergey Kovalev, Adonis Stevenson, Dmitry Bivol and Artur Beterbiev. Despite not winning a medal the US men’s team have done well so far as professionals. Rau’shee Warren and Spence have won world title and Terrell Gausha, Mike Hunter and Dominic Breazeale have challenged for world titles.

Jose Carlos Ramirez fights Amir Imam for the vacant WBC super-light title in March and Joseph Diaz is the No 1 rated feather with the WBC so is in line to challenge Gary Russell, who incidentally qualified for the 2008 Olympics but passed out in the dressing room before his first fight. That only leaves Jamal Herring who was the oldest member of the team and with a 16-2 record it does not look as though he will progress further. That’s not a bad return so far for a team who were flops in 2012.

The British Team in 2012 produced two gold medals from Anthony Joshua and Luke Campbell, silver from Fred Evans and a bronze from Anthony Ogogo. As professionals Joshua has won a world title and Campbell has challenged for one. Not a great return but team members Josh Taylor and Andrew Selby are both closing in on world title shots. Fred Evans has just recently turned pro but Ogogo and team captain Thomas Stalker have struggled as pros.

Errol Spence

By failing to make the weight Javier Fortuna threw away his chance to win the IBF lightweight title and rightly so. What I have problem with is that Robert Easter could have lost his title by being defeated by a man who is over the weight limit for the lightweight division. That is against natural justice and when that happens it is purely a commercial consideration. The TV company, the promoter and the sanctioning body all have a commercial interest in the fight going ahead and the stupidity of having a lightweight title fight when one fighter weighs over the limit for the division is brushed under the carpet. I wonder what would happen if a fighter who lost his title under these circumstances went to court where those involved could try to explain to a judge how it can be a title fight if one guy is inside the weight limit and the other outside. It is right that the guy who does not make weight can’t win the title but somehow the guy who is champion and made the weight can lose the title. Money rules all of the time.

OK here comes the big news – both Wlad Klitschko and Vasyl Lomachenko have taken dives – honest. Ok it was in a frozen pool in the Ukraine. It appears to be a tradition on epiphany, the celebration of how the star led the three Kings or Wise Men to visit baby Jesus, so panic over. Wlad won on points staying in the water much longer than Vasyl.

No name yet for Lomachenko’s opponent on April 28. The problem is that Lomachenko’s opponent has to be a big name but apart from Miguel Berchelt there are no names at super-feather and at light Easter has just defended his title and would not be a draw, Terry Flanagan has moved up and Jorge Linares defends his title against Mercito Gesta with only the WBA title on the line as Gesta is not in the WBC top15. Sometimes a fighter can be too good for his own good.

According to French sources Tony Averlant is to be the next opponent for unbeaten Anthony Yarde with the WBO European and WBO Inter-Continental titles on the line with Bradley Skeete facing Hungarian Laszlo Toth and Daniel Dubois also on the card. It will be an interesting fight if Yarde vs. Averlant does come off as the 6’2” Averlant has won 8 of his last nine fights and only been beaten twice by KO/TKO, but there is no confirmation of the match so it might just be some French kite flying.

In what may be another bit of French kite flying it was claimed that the WBO are about to put Olympic gold medallist Tony Yoka in their next heavyweight rankings. This after three fights against Travis Clark rated No 201 by BoxRec, Jonathan Rice No 149 and Ali Baghouz No 329. Could even the WBO be so cynical as to jump on that bandwagon? Don’t bet against it.

Good to know that Roy Jones is finally going to put away his gloves. Surely one of the most talented fighters of all time it has been a real shame to see him blemishing his legacy by fighting on long past the time when there was any sensible reason to do so. He should have retired after beating Antonio Tarver in 2003 when he was already an eight-time champion over three divisions and 49-1 with his only loss a disqualification. He could have been inducted into the Boxing Hall of Fame in 2008 (you have to have been retired for five years to get on the ballot paper) but hopefully after he beats Scott Sigmon in Pensacola on February 8 he will focus on promoting and get to Canastota in 2023.

As Jones prepares to bow out Felix Sturm prepares to return. The former holder of the IBF, WBA and WBO middleweight and WBA super middleweight titles has said he will fight this year but no date or venue. In February 2016 Sturm tested positive for a banned anabolic steroid following his victory over Fedor Chudinov in a defence of his WBA super middle title. The investigation into the positive test dragged on and Sturm announced in October 2016 that he was vacating the WBA title due to an elbow injury. The WBA dropped the matter and because the WBA did not open proceedings against Sturm the German BDB Federation decided not to move against him. Sturm left Germany for Bosnia, he is of Bosnian descent, but it is not known if he intends to fight there or back in Germany.

The Inglewood show on February 24 just got even more interesting as Donnie Nietes will now defend his IBF flyweight title against Juan Carlos Reveco. The show already has Srisaket defending the WBC super-fly title against Juan Francisco Estrada, Brian Viloria tackling Artem Dalakian for the vacant secondary WBA fly title and Carlos Cuadras facing McWilliams Arroyo in what is virtually an eliminator to see who gets to fight the winner between Srisaket and Estrada. It will be good to see Nietes get some high level exposure. The 35-year-old Filipino is unbeaten in 32 fights going back to 2004 when he lost a split decision to an Indonesian in Indonesia. He is a three division champion and is 16-0-1 in 17 world title fights. The 37-year-old Viloria is no spring chicken and this will be his 15th world title fight

Yet another black eye for boxing as Japanese fighter Kenichi Ogawa’s pre-fight test before his contests with Tevin Farmer for the vacant IBF super feather title proved positive for a synthetic testosterone in both the A and B samples. His post fight test was clean but the Nevada Commission have issued a suspension which will be in place until a hearing which could be in March. Farmer’s team had already protested the controversial decision given to Ogawa and if the Nevada Commission confirms the suspension after the hearing then it seems certain that Ogawa will be stripped off the tile.

Back in Japan the Kameda brothers are aiming to return to action. Koki, a three division champion has not fought since losing to Kohei Kono in a challenge for the WBA super fly title in October 2015. Brother Tomoki, a former undefeated WBO bantamweight champion who lost twice to Jaime McDonnell in challenges for the secondary WBA title is also said to be fighting on the show.

You can’t blame Anthony Mundine for calling out Jeff Horn after his win at the weekend. Mundine has been remarkably able to shift between divisions from super welter to cruiser but has never been less than 153lbs. He has put any thought of  Horn fight aside for the moment as he and old foe Danny Green are heading for South Africa to take part in an “I’m a Celebrity-Get Me Out of Here” show. Locking Tony and Danny together in a room could have interesting consequences.

Horn fights Terrence Crawford in New York on April 14 as Crawford attempts to win his sixth world title and become a three division champion. A win for Horn would be an even bigger surprise than his win over Manny Pacquiao and I fear for Jeff’s title.

On the same night in London Billy Joe Saunders will put his WBO middleweight title on the line in an excellent match-up against Martin Murray. With his outclassing of David Lemieux Saunders has greatly increased the possibility of a fight with the winner of Gennady Golovkin vs. Saul Alvarez but Jermall Charlo, Daniel Jacobs, Ryota Murata and Demetrius Andrade are also in the queue. It would be dangerous to look beyond Murray who has had four world title shots and must know there won’t be another one if he loses to Saunders. On the same show Terry Flanagan faces a difficult task to become a second division champion as he takes on unbeaten Maurice Hooker for the vacant WBO super light title. Two high class contests.

Spaniard Kiko Martinez seems to have been around forever – that’s because he turned pro at 18 and has been fighting for 13 years. The former IBF super-bantam champion has ducked no one. He is 7-4-1 in his last 12 fights with the losses being to Carl Frampton, Scott Quigg, Leo Santa Cruz and Josh Warrington. He is back in the picture now being lined-up to challenge fellow Spaniard Marco Vidal for the European feather title and it is a fight he could win.

Imre Szello is looking to remain unbeaten and get some revenge for Hungary when he takes on Denis Grachev in Budapest on February 16. Grachev took a split decision over former undefeated WBO light heavy champion Zsolt Erdei in 2013 spoiling Erdei’s chance of joining the elite band of world champions who have retired winning all their fights. Erdei was 33-0 at the time but ended up 34-1. So near yet so far.

The ink was hardly dry on the contract for Juan Carlos Ramirez to fight Amir Imam for the vacant WBC super light title than an interim title fight was agreed. Ridiculous really. In this one on March 9 in Miami Regis Prograis will tackle Viktor Postol. The winner will go on to fight the new champion. Again an abominable misuse of the word interim. Send the WBC a Thesaurus so they can come up with something different such as “a good excuse for another sanctioning fee”.

Don King – yes he is still around but only on the fringes – won the purse bidding for the WBC super welter eliminator between Pole Maciej Sulecki 26-0 and Vanes Martirosyan with the winner promised a shot at Jermell Charlo. Something stinks here with Martirosyan not having fought since losing to Erislandy Lara in May 2016. Twenty months inactivity and he climbs from No 3 to No 2 in the ratings.

January 24, 2018
January 24, 2018
boxing

Action Images

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A big reason why the sport is so good for kids is that it gets them off the streets. It’s common knowledge that there aren’t many fighters that come from a privileged background.

When I was born, I lived in a two-bed council flat with my 21-year-old mam and my three-year-old sister while my dad was doing a bit of time in jail.

I never found boxing until I was 10 when my dad forced me to go to keep me off the streets and out of trouble.

When I went to the gym, I made friends and they later became like brothers to me. We all came from similar backgrounds and, even though we would beat each other up in the ring, you would form a bond with these boys. It’s something that never leaves you even with the lads I have fought, being in the ring trying to knock someone out while they’re trying to KO you, it’s crazy how you end up with a special bond and lifetime respect for them too.

Boxing gyms are a community. They give kids a purpose and teach them respect, provide them with a goal, a second home and give them another family. It also helped with discipline, If we messed around in the gym, we would get kicked out, sent home. It was a horrible feeling because you wanted to be there. So it taught us well.

It really creates confidence in youngsters and I now feel like I have brothers from around the country. I mean, even if I haven’t seen them for years, I know they are there for me if I ever need them.

The people who run these gyms are the most amazing people because they do it for free, changing so many people’s lives for the love of it.

They accept anyone. I remember some kids couldn’t afford the 50p per week subs, but they’d understand and let them train anyway.

This happens around the world and without these men and women boxing wouldn’t be around. Grassroots is the backbone of the sport.

boxing

I don’t know where I would be in my life if it wasn’t for these men from Sunderland ABC: Bobby Bute, Jimmy Richardson, Phil Jeffries (my dad), David Binns, Steve Patterson, Gavin McGinn, Joe Purvis, Steve Allan, Cliffy Quinnet, John Storey, Gream Fairly, Tony Austin, Jon Slater, Neil Conlon and many, many more.

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January 22, 2018
January 22, 2018
Errol Spence

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1. Keith Thurman

It’s the obvious fight to unify major titles at welterweight. Thurman has been inactive but after beating Danny Garcia in March of 2017 holds the WBA and WBC crowns. With Spence the IBF 147lbs champion, this would be the big fight for the welterweight division.

2. Terence Crawford

Crawford has not fought yet at welterweight but he’s that good he only needs to announce he’s moving up in weight to be considered one of the best in the division. He’s skilful, brilliant and a dangerous puncher. Just like Spence actually.

Errol Spence

3. Canelo Alvarez

Errol Spence is a potential superstar but he needs a super-fight. With the retirement of Floyd Mayweather, there is a lack of superstars close to him in weight. Perhaps though he could move up to a division (or two) to try to get a fight with hugely popular Mexican Canelo Alvarez.

4. Manny Pacquiao

Manny Pacquiao unexpectedly surrendered his WBO welterweight world title to little known Australian Jeff Horn. Pacquiao is long past his best and it could well be an ugly fight if he met Spence at this stage of his career. But “Pacman” is just the kind of star name Spence needs.

5. Sadam Ali

The conqueror of Miguel Cotto is now a world champion at light-middleweight, the division above, but could be an appealing challenge for Spence in New York.

January 22, 2018
January 22, 2018
Lawrence Okolie vs Isaac Chamberlain

Lawrence Lustig/Matchroom

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I’M looking forward to Lawrence Okolie vs Isaac Chamberlain at the 02 on February 3 as much as I’ve ever looked forward to a fight I’ve been working on.

For the first time two fighters I’ve been following since the start of their pro careers, since before that in Okolie’s case, are topping the bill and inevitably that makes it more personal.

January’s a quiet month. It’s a good time to get out to gyms, the lack of fight nights leaves me suffering withdrawal otherwise, and I’ve been down to the Cool Box in Bethnal Green and Miguel’s in Brixton to visit both men.

In many ways, just the gyms Okolie and Chamberlain work out of tell you why this is such a good fight. Both are underneath railway arches and both in the inner city, right in the thick of urban, capital life. They reek of the fight game the minute you walk into either of them; one is East, the other is South, both are London.

I’ve been watching Okolie since his days on the GB squad and thoroughly enjoyed calling him to ring as MC for his WSB bouts at York Hall. There’s always been something about him. He’s a good raconteur and his story of going from being a bullied, overweight kid to an Olympian is a tremendous one but it’s his mentality not his backstory that’s always interested me most. Okolie is not a man who lives in mortal fear of losing a fight, and he’s happy to admit it. It’s quite unusual to hear a fighter talk in terms of not wanting to lose but being accepting of the fact that at some point it’s going to happen, and insisting that when it does it won’t be the end of the world. Usually when I encounter that kind of attitude in a professional athlete, and it doesn’t happen often, I assess it as their way of trying to take the pressure off, of attempting to convince themselves that failure is an option, and I never find it convincing, I find it worrying in fact. But I don’t when I hear it from Okolie. With him it translates differently. He doesn’t want to lose, obviously, and he’ll do everything in his power to make sure he doesn’t, but he isn’t afraid of losing so fear of it happening is not going to restrict his performance on the night. He will be in the moment on February 3rd and he will enjoy it, fight his fight with freedom and see what happens. It’s a mindset that makes him a very dangerous opponent.

I first went down to Miguel’s gym in Brixton to see Isaac Chamberlain when he was 2-0 and what I found was a very engaging and dedicated young man. But I must admit, I did leave the gym wondering if he wasn’t perhaps a bit too nice for the rough world of professional boxing. I don’t wonder about that any more. The intervening years and the fights and camps he’s been part of have changed him. That’s to be expected but when I sat down with him last week the difference seemed more pronounced than it’s ever been. He’d just got back from sparring Oleksandr Usyk in Ukraine and there was a ruthless focus about him that I’d not seen before. The training centre he’d been at with Usyk is notorious amongst international amateurs, pretty much all of whom seem to have been there, as being a hideously tough place. Paddy Barnes described it on twitter as “hell on earth”, a description Chamberlain verified. But he did so with relish. Working in that kind of environment had, he said, led him to embrace hardship, to revel in discomfort and to view every day as a challenge that can never be backed down from, no matter how your body is feeling. The first thing he did when he got back was hand over control of all his social media to his cousin until the fight is over. There was an intensity about him that left me pondering the exact opposite of what I pondered after I visited him when he was 2-0, which was whether he somehow now wanted it too much, whether he was taking himself to “that place” a bit too soon. On reflection I decided that wasn’t the case; this is the biggest fight of his life so of course he wants it more, but he’s grown mentally and can handle that intense desire to succeed that can for some people become too all-consuming.

As boxers Okolie and Chamberlain have a lot of similarities; same weight division, same promoter, same broadcaster, same city; and those are the ingredients that have combined to make the kind of natural rivalry that boxing craves. But as people they’re different and that for me is what makes theirs such an interesting match. In one you have an Olympian, full of sauce and swagger who might not appear to care quite as much as he should, whereas in the other you have someone who appears to live at the other end of that spectrum, whose focus is maybe too unrelenting.

Lawrence Okolie vs Isaac Chamberlain

Preparing to fight another man in the ring, under the lights, in front of a crowd and TV audience is something that only people who have actually done it can relate to. It’s a very personal thing and each individual has to do what works best for them. Okolie and Chamberlain, relatively early in their careers though they might be, know what works for them individually, they know who they are. And their personalities are reflected by the men that train them. Both trainers are the boss in the gym, it can’t be any other way, but Brian O’Shaughnessy is happy to grant Lawrence the freedom he needs whereas Ted Bami is never out of Isaac’s peripheral vision. They know their fighters, they know how to get the best out of them and it’s no coincidence that the pairings are as they are.

The timing is perfect. Some have questioned whether it’s too soon for these two to be meeting but it isn’t. They’re ready for each other.

As for what’s going to happen, I really don’t know.