EVERYONE’S got to play their part now, self-isolate and take this very, very serious so we can get through this as safe as possible with as less death as possible.
The Daniel Dubois-Joe Joyce show was meant to be on April 11 and I was on the undercard of that, fighting against a very tough Argentinian, so I was literally three weeks out, basically starting to peak, then this happened.
This is where the mental stage comes in. Even though it’s frustrating not to being able to be in the gym, you’ve just got to stay mentally strong and take the positives out of it, which is obviously having family time and just enjoying it now. Because once it’s all over I’ll be back in camp.
I’ve got two kids, my step daughter is nearly seven and my little boy is two. It’s just flat out busy. It’s nutty, all the time. When I’m indoors trying to do self-isolation training circuits they want to be jumping over, so it’s crazy.
I’m 25 in April so it’s challenging, very, very challenging. Especially having a child that’s not your own from the start, at such a young age, I was only 20. But that matured me a lot quicker… I’ve been in the boxing since I was seven anyway and I competed at a very high level as an amateur. At that age it’s easy to be distracted. With me, being with my family and I’m strong minded with my goals and what I want to achieve, it just helped me mature like I say a lot quicker and be responsible and go for the goals that I’ve set out. I think now five years on I’m in a good position. I’ve just bought the house, got the kids and at 24 I’m knocking on the door for a world title shot.
I got the keys to my house three days before my December 21 show at the Copper Box. So on top of training camp, buying a house, it was all going on. Then Christmas, then coronavirus. So it’s definitely come and hit from every angle. But we’re getting through it… It just makes you stronger.
No one can control the situation that we’re in at the minute. Whatever you can be in control of, you’ve got to make sure it’s a positive. If you keep thinking of negatives you end up being in a negative place.
I just want to keep climbing my ranking. I’m number three now in the WBO. After that fight I would have stayed where I am or if anything become second. So everything’s on hold now, even my shot for the WBO at the end of the year that we were planning for, it’s all going to be on hold.
I was hoping to have the winner of Jamel Herring and Carl Frampton [for the WBO super-featherweight title at the end of the year]. But no one knows when their show is going to be. My show is scheduled for July and hopefully we’re on course for that but the way the world’s looking at the minute, it’s not too convincing.
I’ve got to keep my mind set on training and the date that I’ve got. I’m fighting on July 11 at that O2, that’s as it stands so I’ve got to keep myself focused for that.
It’s all going to bounce back and it will get back up and running so once the Jamel Herring and Frampton fight gets underway and my fight gets underway, it might not be at the end of the year like I wanted it to be, it’s just going to delay things by a couple of months, but once everything’s back up and running, I’ll definitely be pushing for it straightaway.
For me it would be nice to be in the ring with Frampton. We’ve sparred, it would be nice to be in the ring and compete against someone I’ve watched and respected for so long as a fighter. Whoever wins that night, I’d just like the opportunity to fight for that WBO and prove a lot of people wrong. I think people are doubting me because I haven’t been able to step up at the level. When I step up against a level that’s when they’ll see the best me.
When I sparred with Frampton that was back when I was young so I wasn’t even pro then. I was probably about 18, 19 years old. So the rounds were obviously tough. I was still amateur so I wasn’t used to the longer rounds.
I learned a lot from sparring Frampton, he was definitely a strong puncher then. But for me, I’ve always believed in my boxing ability and my boxing ability is what got me through the sparring, being able to move, and make him miss, and box. I learned a lot from sparring him and I’ve sparred the likes of Ricky Burns. I’ve sparred a load of great champions to prepare me to a position where I am now, ready to take on great fighters like Frampton for my first world title.
I do believe Jamel Herring will beat Frampton. A good big ‘un beats a good little ‘un in my eyes. I think Frampton isn’t the biggest super-featherweight. He’s a very small super-featherweight and Jamel Herring – I’m 5’ 9”, I’m a big super-featherweight – and I think Jamel’s 5’ 10”.
He was light-welter in the Olympics in London 2012 and captain then as well. So he’s a great fighter and he’s very big, awkward southpaw. That’s why I just believe he does beat Frampton.
If Carl does win and beats Jamel it’s a great performance from him. It’s a big task. If he comes through then fair play but I think it’s a big task ahead of him.
My personal opinion I do believe Jamel Herring wins and we’ll see.
I think it’s a great fight [for him against Herring], Frampton’s a great champion. Jamel as well, I’ve been studying him for the last six to eight months and I think he’s a great fighter. But I believe I can beat either one of them. I think I’ll be too big for Frampton and I think I’ll be too sharp for Jamel Herring. But like I say they’re both great champions and it’s nothing personal… From what I’ve seen of [Herring] and how he conducts himself, he’s a very respectful fighter and obviously I know Carl on a personal basis and he’s a lovely guy. It’s not personal. It’s just business. I just believe I can beat them two fighters to become the WBO world champion.
I just want the winner of either one of them. I’ve studied both fighters now for a long time and these are the fights that I want now.
I have stepped up to some good opponents in the last year.
Last year was a very active year which obviously climbed me to number three in the WBO. [For the fight against Leon Woodstock] that was such a big build up, with both of us being undefeated prospects. I think there was a lot on the line there because we both put our unbeaten records on and our careers really… I’ve took the world ranking off of him and then shot to number three. That could have happened either way. [After Sergio Gonzalez,] on to Jordan McCrorry, on to Declan Geraghty. Declan was a 12 time Irish champion as an amateur… The first couple of rounds were a bit slow but I managed to get the knockout in the fourth round.
Getting my knockout against Declan that was nice to have as well because that was a good shot.
[Against Latvia’s Artjoms Ramlavs] I made it the toughest fight that I’ve had. Having him on such short notice, I was training for orthodox fighters the whole time and then got a southpaw at literally a week’s notice who is a very good kid in my eyes.
I managed to get through the fight still with a win. Some people would have took a loss there. Coming out with a win, I learned a lot from that fight. I had to dig deep. The fella was there for 10 rounds kept coming forward, pushing me for 10 rounds and I learned a lot in that one fight, more than I have in six or seven.
I won a lot as an amateur. I beat some good kids who are qualifying for the Olympics as we speak, the likes of the McCormack brothers, Calum French, I beat some top opponents as amateur. I won six, seven national titles, I went 28 unbeaten, Europeans, I did a lot as an amateur. I went out to Russia at the age of 13 with the England camp and got myself a silver medal out there. I lost on a double count back to the Russian in Russia so that speaks for itself. So being at such a young age and having to fly out to Russia with that sort of pressure on my back and having to come back like that, I think that’s a great achievement for me. That I look back at even to this day.
I wish all them boys the very best because they’re doing very well and it would be nice to see them in the Olympics.
They’re doing it in the amateurs now, still winning, and I’m in the pro game and ranked number three in the world. All of us have gone off and done our thing. So it’s good.
I want to step up. I want to take these world title shots.