IT TOOK me 10 years to get a world ranking, I was almost at the pinnacle and then it gets ripped away from me.
What can I do? This doesn’t happen very often. There was nobody I could turn to for any advice. I had to just crack on with it and look at it as another character-building experience.
Then when I found out about Zolani Tete failing a drug test, I was gutted. After the fight, I accepted how good he was. There were no excuses from me. I knew his career, knew he had been a pound-for-pound fighter a few years ago and, from the start, I knew I was up against it.
Then this comes out five months later and you get angry. I feel very hard done to. If I had won that night, where would I be now? Instead of that, my career has stalled and I’ve lost my world ranking.
I got some motivation back when [Queensberry Promotions’] Andy Ayling rang me to say what the plan was for me. There’s the fight with [Miguel] Gonzalez on Saturday night in Telford and if I beat him, it will be [British and European champion] Liam Davies in the summer. I know BoxRec has that fight happening on April 29, but we are looking at June.
By then, the loss to Tete should have been scrubbed off my record and changed into a no-contest. There’s going to be a hearing with UK Anti-Doping in the next few weeks and I’m sure it will be declared a no-contest after that meeting. It shouldn’t be seen as a defeat anymore.
It took five months for the failed drugs test to come out and that time has cost me some momentum after I had worked so hard for so long to get where I was.
There’s the chance that even without cheating, he may still have won because he has been a top, top fighter, but it wasn’t fair.
Nobody had ever don’t that to me before and that failed test helps me to justify it. I wasn’t very well for a few weeks after the fight. I was concussed and it could have been worse. I have to take it on the chin and get on with it. I’ve got the chance to come back now.
Beating Gonzalez should get my world ranking back and then the Davies fight could lead to a world-title eliminator. Who knows, maybe I could still end up fighting for a world title by the end of the year? The fight with Davies is big domestically.
First, I have to prove to myself there’s plenty left on Saturday night. I don’t have to prove anything to anyone else after the career I’ve had and everything I’ve achieved since I turned pro in 2011.
I just need to know myself that I can still do it.
This fight on Saturday night looks a good one for me.
It took a while to get it over the line, but I got the contract a couple of weeks ago and I’m glad it’s happening. Only world champions (Paul Butler, Andrew Moloney and Jerwin Ancajas) have beaten him and he has a 33-3 record that looks good on paper.
“He’s small, though, coming up from super-flyweight, and that should work in my favour. I should be able to use my attributes. I’ve watched his fight with Ancajas and he’s given me the blueprint.
He [Ancajas] is a southpaw with good feet, like me, and the game plan will be the same. The difference is, I will be very big compared to Ancajas.
I need to use my feet so I’m always a step ahead and throw them straight down the pipe. I need to keep my discipline. I’ve seen that he fades, and I think I can break him down and stop him.