WHAT I really enjoy doing is getting them young, like Tommy Ward, Martin Ward, the McCormacks, the Dickinsons, getting hold of somebody like that and moulding them into a top class fighter.
That’s why I like doing the pads, you’ve got a picture in your mind and you can mould them into that picture.
It’s not always the kid that has got the most talent that comes through to be the best. It’s the one that’s prepared to work the hardest. Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work. It’s desire.
If everything else has come that easy to them, they didn’t think they had to work. You’ve got to have a bit of natural talent. Being a boxer I think you’re a natural athlete. Then you need that desire to keep working.
It’s not always the one that’s the most talented that becomes the best. It’s the one that’s prepared to go further than the other fella to win.
I’ve had 104 champions now. I’ve been lucky with the kids I’ve worked with. I’ve been very, very lucky that the kids I’ve worked with have bought into what you try to instill into them.
They need your expertise at the start because bad faults are harder to get rid of when you teach new skills. If you’re there at the start helping them technically, getting the base right and the jab right and the backhand right and everything right there, everything else should follow on.
Hopefully over the years we’ve had different types of boxers because you do try to develop them in different styles, not in a Birtley style but a style that suits the kid.
The kids teach you loads about boxing. Sometimes you watch some daft 10-year-old, you’re learning all the time, not always off top class kids but top class kids do teach you stuff. You’re learning off the boxers as much as the boxers are learning off you.