THREE days before Anthony Leaver bites my head off for asking him how many people have crammed into Madison Square Garden for the Anthony Joshua-Andy Ruiz Jnr weigh-in, he insists on buying me a pint at one of his favourite New York watering holes. Anyone who has had any dealings with Matchroom Boxing’s Head of Media will know that’s the kind of guy Leaver is: A loveable little bundle of fun with a fuse even shorter than he is.
Affectionately known as “Winkle” by his Matchroom colleagues, the diminutive Leaver became a familiar face at British rings over the last decade, building relationships with the fighters and the media, before his “dream move” to New York in 2018 where he now plays a key role in the promotional outfit’s US invasion.
Residing in the Big Apple, with an office that overlooks the Manhattan skyline, Leaver is not quite kicking back and enjoying the view, there’s too much work to be done for that, but he’s certainly feeling at home in a country he’s always admired. After sacrificing a one-year relationship with his girlfriend to make the move – “It basically came down to Matchroom or her, which was difficult,” he admits – Anthony is suitably excited about the task ahead.