I started boxing at 13 and I had my first contest when I was 14. My amateur career was ok I won the regional championships and I got robbed in the northwest county final when I was about 19. I was ranked number 4 in the country at the time I’d had enough of the amateur scene after that so I decided to turn professional.
My two heroes were Nigel Benn and Mike Tyson. They were the reason I got involved in boxing and had a lot to do with the way I fought aswell, they were the fighters I loved to watch.
Ringnews24.com: Was there any boxer in your gym when you were younger who didn’t make it but you thought highly of?
Yes , funny you should ask that because we were just talking about him down at the gym earlier. There was a lad Rob O’Connor he was a featherweight good mate of mine. I used to take him down to the gym when I trained at the Phoenix camp with the likes of Ensley Bingham, Carl Thompson, Michael Brodie, Stephen Foster so Rob used to spar the likes of Brodie. But he was more than capable of taking care of himself. When I first turned professional everyone always asked me what’s happened to Rob, and basically what happened was when he was about 21 he had a disagreement with our old coach. He walked out the gym and never boxed again, sad really because I knew he would’ve been a world champion no doubt about it wasted talent.
Ringnews24.com: I want to talk about the Scott Dixon fight in 2001 do you think that was the making of you as a professional?
Yes totally at that point I hadn’t fought anyone who really put up any resistance that was the first time were he took everything that I gave him then came back with his own. I’ve said this a few times but Scott made me realise what it took to be brave because we were only three rounds in I had him down and badly hurt. But he dug deep and for my mental state for fights after that it helped me a lot no matter how tired or hurt you are you can always dig a little big deeper.
Ringnews24.com: The Michael Jones first fight how did you get yourself prepared at such short notice?
Well I was scheduled to box a six rounder on the undercard, so I was fit to fight at least to do the six rounds. I remember saying to my coach at the time Oliver Harrison I’ve got a feeling Paul Samuels is going to pull out of this fight with Jones and if he does I want to step in. So on the Monday I got a phonecall off my manager Steve Wood saying that Samuels is out do I want to step in. I never hesitated I said yes straight away, I was on cloud nine all week then it came to fight night on the Saturday. I never had one doubt in my mind, that was probably my only fight as a professional I never had any niggly doubts in my mind.
Ringnews24.com: Does it annoy you that your management didn’t manage to secure you a world title shot?
No not really in my eyes I had the best manager around in Steve Wood he’s the most straight forward loyal bloke you could come across, it was just bad luck, injuries and politics got involved so just a number of things didn’t go my way. Going back to 2004-2005 Frank Warren tried to sign me back after dropping me when I got beat off Scott Dixon he dropped me to the lowest point in my career but going back to then he was giving people opportunities. I’m a loyal person if he had stuck by me and shown a bit of faith I believe I would’ve stayed with him until the end of my career.
Ringnews24.com: After you retired how did u get involved with doing work on Sky Sports?
I always had a good relationship with Adam Smith he used to commentate on my fights and he said to me after doing an interview you’d be good at doing my job. He said he’d keep me in mind, so he used me a couple of times over the next six months I remember working a Ryan Rhodes fight I think it was the one after he beat me. Then the next day, I was talking to my manager and my phone went it was Adam he had been made head of Sky Boxing and he wanted to know if I would go on ringside that week and be part of the team it was a dream come true.
Ringnews24.com: Do you enjoy doing your commentary?
Theres nothing that’s going to replace the thrill and excitement that I’ve been through the last twenty years. If you had came to me 10 years ago and said right your going to be British, Commonwealth and European champion rated number two by the WBC, been in fight of the year 3 times in your pro career and when you retire your going to work with Sky commentating in boxing, I wouldn’t of believed you, I would’ve laughed I feel I’m living the dream I’m so grateful.
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