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60 second interview: Derrick Ozaze

Derrick Ozaze
David Wainwright talks to a retro gamer, Derrick Ozaze

When and why you started boxing:

I was 15 when I started. It was a way to keep out of trouble, as I’d been excluded from school about 20 times by that point.

Favourite all-time fighter:

Muhammad Ali. He was an example to boxers with the way he conducted himself both inside and outside of the ring.

Best fight you’ve seen:

Muhammad Ali against George Foreman – The Rumble in the Jungle. I’ve watched it so many times.

Personal career highlight:

Winning the Ultimate Boxxer middleweight tournament [in May]. Despite being an outsider beforehand I never once doubted myself.

Derrick Ozaze
Ozaze’s triumph at Ultimate Boxxer is the highlight of his career so far Action Images/Peter Cziborra

Toughest opponent:

Liam Hunt. After the first round he was wobbling, but he had great home support and came back fighting.

Best and worst attributes as a boxer:

My best attribute is that I can be awkward – I throw shots from the weirdest angles. My worst is that I sometimes have lapses in concentration.

Training tip:

Train smart, not hard.

Favourite meal/restaurant:

A build-your-own tortilla wrap at Chiquito.

Best friends in boxing:

My stablemates – Ekow Essuman, Paul Thompson and Delmar Thomas, and my coaches at DCT Boxing Academy – Barrington Brown and Mark Howell.

Other sportsman you would like to be:

LeBron James. He’s an amazing player and an amazing person who has done so much for the sport of basketball.

Last film/TV show you saw:

Creed II. I love all of the Rocky films.

Who would play you in a film of your life:

[Creed and Creed II star] Michael B. Jordan.

Have you ever been starstruck:

When I met [retired footballer] Ian Wright. My hands were shaking when I asked for a photo.

Last time you cried:

On my 25th birthday when my missus bought me a classic Sega Mega Drive with pre-loaded games. It brought back so many happy memories from my childhood.

Best advice received:

‘You don’t always see the fruits of your labour immediately.’ My dad told me that.

Worst rumour about yourself:

When I was at university, some of the other students thought I was a gang member because of my tracksuits, my south London accent [Osaze was born and raised in Peckham] and the stern look I have on my face when I’m not smiling.

Something not many people know about you:

I can be quite introverted. Sometimes I just like to be on my own.

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