HOW MY BOXING CAREER BEGAN
I took up boxing in the year of 1988 when just fourteen years of age. I had always wanted to take up boxing after seeing Sugar Ray
Leonard on the T.V in the early 1980's. I was amazed at what he could do and he still remains one of my heroes today. Throughout my
school years I got into trouble constantly and almost always for fighting. My parents however were not convinced this was the path to be
taking and discouraged me from taking up the sport.
Taking matters into my own hands I followed my heart and joined the local boxing club Redwood Kings A.B.C (later to be renamed
Lakeside A.B.C). Much to their surprise the first my parents knew was when I asked for the £10 fee I needed to pay for my medical to
box. Although a little shocked they gave me their full support, my father however would have preferred me to concentrate on my
football. I was a very talented player as a schoolboy and at junior level I continued to do both
sports until reaching the A.B.A Junior semi-finals. In my debut season I beat two experienced favourites on route. After this early
success my father was now one hundred per cent behind me and helped me focus completely on the boxing.
Football was to then slowly take a back seat, although I still followed Birmingham City and even today have a big passion for my team
and the game.
This isn't to say I have regrets boxing is and always will be my first love. From the moment my hands were raised in my first amateur
contest I knew that this was the thing I wanted to do. Nothing could compare, not even scoring a hat-trick on the pitch (and as I'm a
centre forward that takes some beating). After all the hard work, the weeks of sleepless nights, running over and over in your mind the
various outcomes of the fight, the dieting, discipline and dedication you have to put in, to see it all payoff is something that to this day I
can not describe. The sheer buzz after winning a fight puts me on such a high that I can go for days without sleep.
Three years of dedication saw me achieve a good record but at seventeen I was given a break by my then trainer Les Hutchinson, a
break that was to last nearly two years. At such an impressionable age wine, women and song crept into my lifestyle and I traded gym
for local pubs and bright nightclubs. I returned to boxing in stints but found it tough to sustain my enthusiasm for the sport whilst following
my new way of life. Training during this time was a rarity but any contests I entered remained victorious, however I was having more
fights out of the ring than in.
Despite my fathers efforts to keep me on track he still ended up driving the length
and breadth of Birmingham in the early hours of the morning to pick me up .More often than not I was in a state I can barely remember,
let alone describe.
I moved to and from a host of different Birmingham boxing clubs starting at Lakeside A.B.C , from Lakeside I made the move to Small
Heath, closely followed by Coleshill A.B.C. I finally ended my amateur career with Erdington A.B.C with coaches Joe Merritt & Paul
Bond who I had known from the start of my amateur career when at Lakeside. To be fair I took a little bit away from each club that
improved my boxing. In return my true dedication was only really given to Lakeside as my first club and Erdington as my last. My
lifestyle at the time and lack of dedication meant that the other clubs of which I was a part never got the success they truly deserved for
1995 was a year that changed my life. As an amateur at the time for Erdington A.B.C my closest friend Leroy Wright was found hung
from a tree after taking his own life at just nineteen years of age. It would be an understatement to say this shook me to the core, his
words rang through my head day after day as he was always telling me to get my act together and take my boxing seriously. With him
in mind I started to train again and wanted to win the A.B.A title to dedicate it to his memory.
After a long lay off, no real competitive action for three years and at the age of twenty one, I entered the A.B.A championships. Not
many people predicted me to get past the first rounds of the contest. Surpassing all expectations I went all the way to the final losing to
John Pierce in a somewhat controversial decision with the three standing count rule coming into play (with only one of them being a
count). Disappointed with the chance to win an ABA title took out of my hands and feeling I had failed my friend I walked again and
would not resurface for three years.
During this three year period I settled into a job and a normal life outside of boxing and was over the moon when I became a father in
1996 when my daughter Chelsea came into the world. I did not enter a gym or a boxing club once during this period and generally
enjoyed life, bad news however was waiting for me again just around the corner.
In 1998 I received the news that would change my life forever, my father had died in a car crash in Barbados and I went off the tracks
again with two of my most influential figures taken away from me in the space of just three years.
I travelled to my father’s home country to attend his funeral and after a lot of soul searching I made it my intention that on my return I
would give the boxing game a real effort. I wanted to prove for myself that I was good as my father and friend had believed I was.
In 1999 fate would hand me a chance meeting at work with a friend of Leicester trainer Jez Brogan, who after a successful amateur
coaching career at Belgrave A.B.C was trying his hand at professional ranks, this led to a future partnership. I did not want to leave the
amateur ranks on a defeat (even if it was a long time ago) so I entered the ABA's once more and won the Birmingham title for my 5th
time before withdrawing from championships on a win to turn professional.
After a long telephone conversation I was convinced that I would strike a good relationship with the likeable Jez and trained alongside
another new edition to the professional ranks in Neil Linford. I travelled the 100 mile round trip to his gym in Leicester six days a week
for the next three years and compiled a good professional record under his and Frank Maloney's guidance before moving to London for
two years to further my education at the Maloney fight factory on the Old Kent road.
I am now back where my heart belongs in my City and been trained by the Lynch brothers who have trained some of the best fighters
this country has ever produced.
I've had my ups and downs in the professional game, contract issues, injury and inactivity but the fire still burns to succeed and enjoy
more success. The periods of inactivity that I have endured during both my professional and amateur career have given me plenty left
in the tank. After only twenty two professional fights and collecting five titles to date I believe the best is yet to come, and there is still
plenty of life in the old dog yet ......
| THE BEGINNING