JOSH STEFFEN focuses intently on the job at hand. He doesn’t dare look up, or engage in eye-contact, because if he makes a mistake, he will throw what has already taken several hours to create straight into the bin. He ensures that the needle on the sewing machine is in exactly the right place before allowing it to plunge through the Italian leather, as he slowly crafts the boxing glove to be worn by Kell Brook in his training camp ahead of challenging the mighty Gennady Golovkin.
What makes the painstaking process all the more remarkable is that Steffen has only been using a sewing machine for 18 months, and at the age of just 25, his company Fly is the only manufacturer in the UK to make bespoke boxing gloves. Around his neck is a tape measure, a brown old school apron shields his white shirt from any mess, and atop his boyish face, his hair is parted immaculately. It’s an image that brings to mind craftsmen of the early 20th century – the watchmakers, the tailors, the shoemakers – before everything was churned out in faraway factories.
“I think that’s what we lack now, and it’s a great shame,” Steffen says. “A lot of the trades have just died off and all we get instead is just mass produced stuff where quality suffers. I have always preferred goods where pride has gone into their production, that have quality in mind ahead of quantity.”