I was introduced to boxing at a very early age through two of my dad’s best friends, one was fighter called Jimmy Monaghan – good fighter was Jimmy I used to always listen to and hear about those fights and the training – I was only a kid in the 70’s but it was intriguing to me – the other was a fighter called Pat Brogan from Stoke-On-Trent and Pat was a middleweight boxer who fought Alan Minter twice, lost by 7thTKO in one of the fights, he was a great fighter but also a brilliant coach – I’ve noticed the difference between great fighters and great coaches – sometimes you can do both, sometimes you can do one or the other.
When Pat retired he became a promoter and used to bring all the old greats over to the UK for evenings – so I had the chance to meet Larry Holmes, Ernie Shavers, Marvin Hagler who became a family friend – he was just such a lovely man, and Lamotta, Joe Frazier and Jnr – I was imbued with fight history and was always into it, as kid I did a lot of martial Arts training my dad got me into martial arts, not the boxing, that came in my mid 20’s when I started training with a friend of mine Clay O’Shea who was also a pro in West London – he started shaping me up and got me moving properly – horrific training sessions, he said I had a lot of power but the defence was terrible! And I was not very good with my feet so when Pat used to bring these fighters over I’d always try and get little nuggets from them.
What happened later in life I found Tony Jefferies in the US, he was an Olympic bronze medallist and a phenomenal coach, just unbelievable, he turned it all around for me very quickly. What I love about boxing is discipline, that comes along with sport, the camaraderie and the respect – for anybody to get in the ring and have a bout, there’s so much respect there you know. It’s a very difficult, beautiful, technical sport – something you can only understand once you’ve delved in.