Up Close and Personal With Liverpool’s Rising Prospect Dayle Gallagher

Up Close and Personal With Liverpool’s Rising Prospect Dayle Gallagher

Interview by Gianluca Di Caro.

Photo: Team Gallagher

The subject of this interview is Dayle Gallagher, who is proving to be one of the most exciting young prospects to emerge on the Merseyside boxing scene over the past few years.

On Friday March 3rd Dayle is set to compete in his toughest fight to date, a six rounder at the Hanger 34 Club in Liverpool, against Belfast’s Michael Kelly, a proven Championship campaigner, who in the past year or so has fought France’s Mohamed Larabi for the WBF International title and more recently Scotland’s Lee McAllister for the WBF Inter-Continental belt, as well as competed on huge televised events in Russia and Sweden.

Unbeaten in four outings to date, two by early stoppages, against Alekseis Nikitenko, in May 2015 and Jak Johnson in December 2016, and two by solid points decision, Marty Kayes in April 2016 and Phil Townley in June the same year, Dayle has already caught the eye of some of the biggest names in the sport, including two time World Champion Amir Khan.

In fact courtesy of Mr Khan and his team, Dayle firmly earned his place in the History books of the sport, as the very first winner of a Professional Boxing contest in Pakistan, following his excellent win over Belfast’s Phil Townley back in June last year.

More on that later, as right now I think its time to get on with the interview.

Gianluca

Thank you for talking with me today Dayle, whilst obviously this interview is regarding your professional career, especially the upcoming fight against Michael Kelly on March 3rd, I would like to start the interview off with you telling the readers a little about your non-professional boxing, especially your amateur career, which I have understand started out with a victory over one of the top guys in the division at that time.

Dayle

I started boxing at the age of 14, after training for over a year I had a few inter-club events before having my first amateur bout which was on short notice to represent Liverpool my home city, which was against the Welsh number one at the time in his home city Wrexham.

I always remember my coach saying no one wants to fight this lad so go knock him out, and in the second round after putting him down twice already the referee had no choice to stop it.

I was told by numerous of people I had a bright future in the sport but my focus at the time was to become a professional football player which ended in a real bad injury and after 18 months of physio and rehabilitation on my injury.

I finally got back into boxing for fitness and immediately fell back in love with the sport, after just a few months of training I took a white-collar fight in Newcastle.

After winning that I got loads of good feedback and realised I need to start taking this serious and see how far I can go in the sport, I won Northern area, British and European titles on the unlicensed scene then realised I need to turn to the professional side of the game.

Gianluca

Your pro career got off to a flying start, with a stoppage victory over Latvian Aleksejs Nikitenko, firstly how did it feel boxing in the professional ranks for the first time and secondly can you give your view of the fight please?

Dayle

Even though I had been in the ring plenty of times before, my professional debut had me more nervous then any other fight, but the feeling couldn’t of been better.

The fight didn’t last long about 1 minute I think before the referee had to interfere and call a halt to the fight which led to my first win in the professional ranks and is a day I will never forget.

Gianluca

It was almost a year before you were back in the ring, against Marty Kayes back in April last year, but even with such a long time between fights you were in top form, beating Marty on points. How did you manage to keep motivated during this time and again please give the readers your view of the fight?

Dayle

It was very hard because I was going through a lot of complications with my promoter at the time and couldn’t fight and I thought I might never fight again, but after a long period out, my brother helped me and got me a fight.

I knew a lot about Marty and knew it wouldn’t be easy knowing how experienced he was, but I wanted to show everyone that even with all this time out how good I can be and got the win and felt like I’d never had time out of the ring.

Gianluca

Your next fight, against Phil Townley, came just a few months later and what’s more was overseas on an historic event, the first Pro Boxing event ever to take place in Pakistan. Can you please tell the readers firstly how this came about and also tell the readers not just about the fight but also the whole experience?

Dayle

I didn’t really believe it was true when I first found out about Pakistan. I had just come back from my holiday and next minute am on the phone to Amir Khan’s uncle about a possible fight in Pakistan.

Even though I knew I wasn’t at my fittest or at my preferred weight I couldn’t miss out on the opportunity so I stepped up two weight classes just for the opportunity.

Within a couple of hours of the fight getting offered to me I was in Bolton at the Amir Khan Academy filling out all my paper work and my visa and literally three days later was on a plane going to fight in Pakistan.

On arriving in Pakistan I was treated like royalty, my bags where collected and carried for me. I was greeted by the Pakistan Army and Police and escorted to my hotel.

I could never thank the people enough from Pakistan on how they made my time there so welcome, it’s a great country with great people even when I fought they where screaming my name, so much so that I thought I was back in Liverpool with a home crowd.

It was one of my most amazing experiences of my life and one that I will have for the rest of my life as I made history as the very first professional boxer to fight and win on Pakistan soil.

Gianluca

Your fourth fight, against Jak Johnson back in December and on home turf once more, was both dramatic and I would expect anti-climatic for you. I was there so know all that occurred but could you enlighten the readers about the dramas that unfolded that night from your view please?

Dayle

If you’ve seen the whole fight it looks like I wasn’t too happy at the end but that’s because am a fighter and all I want to do is fight.

I trained so hard and felt in the best shape of my life so when the fight was over In 30 seconds it annoyed me but that’s just something I have to deal with its boxing and fights can be over with one shot.

After watching it back I was happy with my performance and I’m blessed with punching power that can pop someone’s shoulder out of its socket with one shot.

Gianluca

On the 3rd March you’ll be in action once more at the Hanger 34 in Liverpool, where you are due to face Ireland’s Michael Kelly. Do you know much about Michael and his fighting style and also how do you see this fight panning out?

Dayle

I know about the people he’s fought and what he’s achieved I know it will be a tough fight but that’s why my team and me asked for the fight.

I don’t watch my opponents on old fights because they could turn up an box a completely different fight so I like to figure them out when am in there.

I think it will be an entertaining fight for people to watch, but I see it ending with a knockout, if I hit anybody at welterweight with one of my power shots in eight-ounce gloves I will be shocked to see anybody still standing there in front of me.

Gianluca

So out of the fights you’ve had to date, whether pro or not, which has been your favourite and why?

Dayle

My favourite has to be Pakistan making history and challenging myself, it was a big risk stepping up two weight divisions but I like a challenge and this is why I’m in this fight game, and also boxing in front of two time World Champion Amir Khan and getting great feedback from him, you can’t ask for anything better than that.

Gianluca

How would you describe your fighting style?

Dayle

My fighting style I believe is different to the average British style boxer which I think makes me stand out more, I’m a counter fighter with power, I’m a southpaw and I know I can be a nightmare for any boxer out there on the boxing circuit.

Gianluca

Should you be successful on the 3rd March, you will be unbeaten in five, whilst perhaps it’s still a bit early to be thinking of Championship accolades, I’m sure that you must have been thinking about opportunities like that already, as such could you please outline your future plans for the readers.

Dayle

I’m in the sport to win titles, it’s a dream of mine that I know I can achieve and when the opportunity comes I will take it.

I will keep climbing the ladder winning fights and when my team think the time is right, I will get my title shot and I will become Champion.

Gianluca

I’m sure you must have been an avid watcher of pro boxing even as a youngster, as such my next question is which fighters, past or present, have had the most influence on you and your career?

Dayle

Growing up from a young age I used to watch videos of Roy Jones Jr, I love his cockiness and confidence.

I always wanted to be an entertainer and give people the feeling I had when watching him.

My favourite fighters that I like to watch a lot of now is Floyd Mayweather, Adrian Broner, Chris Eubank Jr and Errol Spence Jr, these are the type of fighters I like to take a lot from and try to make into my own style.

Gianluca

Moving away from the fights etc., who are the main people that make up Team Gallagher?

Dayle

Even though I’m the one who gets in there to fight I couldn’t do it without my team, from my brother Kyle who prepares me for every fight, to all my teammates at engine room.

It’s not just my team though; my sponsors also help me to get ready for fight night, Goodness Grill, who prepares my food, which help me with my diets. Spartan Dynamic who train me for my strength and conditioning and get me in great shape and make me feel stronger than ever.

James Harris who helps me with everything behind the scenes like interviews.

My friends my family and my girlfriend these all help me behind the scenes when I’m moody from weight cutting and preparing for fight night.

But the most important people on my team are the people who believe in my dream and buy tickets off me for my fights, because what a lot of people don’t realise without ticket sales fights can’t happen and I will always be thankful to every last person who buys a ticket from me!

Gianluca

Where do you train and what is your training schedule?

Dayle

I train in Engine Room Boxing Club, Sports Direct Fitness and Spartan Dynamic, my normal routine for fight night is 6am I wake up have a banana then straight to Sports Direct Fitness for my running.

I like to get between 4-6 miles in every morning then I will do a bit of bag work and get a sauna, then I will go home and rest then at 10:30am depending on which day Monday, Wednesday, Friday I will be at Engine Room until at least Midday working on my boxing.

Tuesday and Thursday I will be at Spartan Dynamic until Midday working on my strength and conditioning, then I will go and pick up freshly prepared meals from Goodness Grill and then have work from 2:30pm until 9:30pm.

It’s a hard routine to maintain but for my dream it’s all worth it.

Gianluca

What would you say your favourite part of training is?

Dayle

I don’t really have a favourite part of training; my favourite part is probably getting told I’m finished because it’s really hard work.

It’s an addiction training that I couldn’t go without, but if I had to choose one thing it would probably be sparring. It’s the closest thing to fighting and there’s nothing better than landing devastating punches on opponents.

Gianluca

Outside boxing, what is your favourite sport?

Dayle

Outside of boxing my favourite sport is football, I love to watch my team Everton but any game in general I will just watch for entertainment

Gianluca

Besides sport how else do you relax outside boxing?

Dayle

Boxing is constantly on my brain when I have spare time I watch boxing videos or talk about it to people who don’t really care but it’s in my blood and I just can’t help it

Gianluca

These days Social Media is very much an important tool for professional sports people; do you utilize Social Media to engage with your fans?

Dayle

I find social media is very important these days for professional athletes and I always interact with fans, because anybody who takes time to ask me anything about my career deserves a reply, I’m not a big name in the sport yet so to have people asking me questions about my boxing really means a lot to me.

Gianluca

Finally is there anything you want to say to your fans?

Dayle

Thank you to everyone who follows my career and believes in me it won’t be long until I’m at the top, thank you.

Dayle Gallagher versus Michael Kelly headlines the Kyle Gallagher Fight Club Promotions event at Hanger 34 in Liverpool on Friday 3rd March 2017, which will be broadcast on BOOM TV. Tickets are available from boxers competing or call Fight Club Ticket Line 07711 098025.

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Up Close and Personal with Two Division World Champion Tasif Khan.

Up Close and Personal with Two Division World Champion Tasif Khan.

Interview by Gianluca Di Caro

Photo courtesy of Team Tasif Khan

 

For this edition of ‘Up Close and Personal’, the featured boxer is two division World Champion Tasif Khan, who is set to face Ghana’s Ekow Wilson in a non-championship ten round contest on the Saorise Promotions event at the Connaught Rooms in Tasif’s home town of Bradford on Sunday the 26th February 2017.

During the early part of his career Tasif was already competing on the undercard of some big shows, including Matthew Hatton’s European title fights against Yuriy Nuzhnenko and Roberto Belge, as well as the Amir Khan versus Paul McCloskey WBA World title fight at the M.E.N. Arena.

His successes were gaining the attention of the national media, so much so that in 2010, following his victory over Pavel Senkovs on the Hatton-Belge undercard, no less than BBC Sport were hailing him as a future British Champion.

Life can be so cruel sometimes and just over two years later Tasif was out of boxing, due to a spat of quite serious injuries, without getting the chance to challenge for the Northern Area title, let alone the coveted Lonsdale Belt that BBC Sport were so sure he would claim.

It would not be until just over two years later before Tasif had suitably overcome the injuries that had bought the early part of his career to an end in such a cruel manner, and finally stepped back in the ring for a competitive contest, against Richard Voros at the York Hall in London in January 2015

A couple of months later Tasif was back in action, this time at the Central Hall in Liverpool, where he scored the second stoppage victory, this time over Ladislav Miko, since his return to the ring.

Tasif finally achieved his dream of Championship boxing a few months later, when on the 2nd May 2015, at York Hall in London, he challenged Georgia’s Mikheil Soloninkini for the International Masters Bantamweight title.

He showed real guts and determination throughout, having been sent to the canvas during the contest, and bounced back after the setback to secure the first Championship accolade of his career.

Tasif was then lined up to challenge for the WBU and GBU World titles on the undercard of the ill fated Roy Jones Jr. versus Tony Moran WBF/MBC International Championship headed event which was due to take place in Liverpool on the 12th September 2015.

It wouldn’t be until the 2nd February 2016 before Tasif finally went head to head with Isaac Quaye for Championship honours.

Just over twelve months after returning to the fray and in front of a highly enthusiastic home crowd Tasif secured the WBU & GBU World titles with a sensational performance that culminated with a sixth round stoppage victory.

Tasif rounded out the year with a second World Championship bout, this time against Michael Barnor for the recently introduced World Boxing Confederation Bantamweight title.

Again in front of a home crowd, Tasif secured victory by stoppage, this time just 48 seconds into the third stanza, to secure the Championship and be crowned a two division World Champion.

As we entered into 2017 Tasif had intended to defend his WBU & GBU crowns, but due to an issue involving one of the championship organisations, his team decided instead to have a non-championship bout against Ekow Wilson, at the Connaught Rooms in Bradford on Sunday 26th February, whilst the issue is ironed out.

OK, enough from me, it’s time to hear what the man himself, Two Division World Champion Mr Tasif Khan, has to say.

 

Gianluca

You’ve had quite an eventful couple of years since returning to the fray following a three year sabbatical from the sport between 2012-2015, whilst obviously you will be keen to talk about your meteoric rise since your return to the ring in 2015, as well as your upcoming fight against Ekow Wilson on the 26th February, I’d like to initially concentrate on the early part of your career, especially when you were fighting on big events at the Reebok and M.E.N., as such can you tell the readers about your early career?

 

Tasif

I have been very privileged and blessed to be on some great events since the start of my career.

My first fight I took on the #7 ranked boxer in Britain, as an away fighter on his home show. I believe this was one of my clearest wins, but was given a draw.

The journey began from there, my supporters and followers just grew and I won the next few fights in a row.

Then I boxed undefeated Stuart McFadden on a Frank Maloney show live on Sky Sports. Again I fought on my opponent’s home show, even though I was selling all the tickets.

It was a great fight and I felt more than comfortable, knocking him down in round three, but was given the decision against me in a four round points loss.

Until date that has been my only loss. From then on we went from strength to strength. I was winning fights, travelling the gyms sparring top kids and waiting for my title shots.

I then boxed on a number of Hatton Promotion’s shows including Quigg Vs Munroe, Hatton versus Belge and Khan versus McCloskey at the M.E.N. Arena.

 

Gianluca

Back in 2010, following your win over Pavel Senkovs, on the Matthew Hatton undercard, BBC Sport stated that you were a genuine contender for the British title, which they predicted you would fight for within the following twelve months, however that coveted title shot failed to materialize. So my question is what happened, why didn’t you get the opportunity to fight for the Lonsdale belt during the remaining two years that you still campaigned on the first part of your career?

 

Tasif

That was a great opportunity and Pavel Senkovs was a seasoned and experienced fighter who was naturally bigger fighter campaigning at super bantamweight.

In this fight I believed I showed skill, speed and power. I put Senkovs down in the fight.

The British title was something we talked about always and was pushing for that as we had that and more so the English title in sight.

The reason being we were set back once again due to me breaking my leg and being out of boxing due to injury. I broke my leg playing football – which yes I should never have been playing, but I played competitive football at a good standard and never really felt I would get injured to that extent and be out of boxing.

It kept me out for a period of time and set me back from title contention. That was the day I decided to make my mind up, and realised I cannot be a ‘jack of all trades’ so needed to concentrate on my career one direction and choose one sport which I did – Boxing.

I returned to training with a different mid set and giving boxing my 100% attention and decided to take my boxing to another level.

In 2011 I chose to give up working and box full time, which was only made possible by my sponsors.

I was added to the Khan-McCloskey bill at the Manchester M.E.N. arena, this was a awesome event and gave me the opportunity to be alongside some of the greats in boxing including, Oscar de la Hoya, Freddie Roach, Amir Khan, Martin Murray, Mathew Macklin, Scott Quigg etc.

Also the event gave me a taste for the limelight and big stage and for this event I sold £22,000 plus worth of tickets and had a massive following in attendance.

In the build up to the fight we tried to get a title fight like the English title etc., but politics within the sport put a stop to this.

Following this fight, we put forward for various titles within our reach and capabilities, but again was knocked back due to politics and unfair reasoning.

I started to doubt if the opportunity of fighting for a title would ever happen, even though I was a good ticket seller. It seemed I was being used for shows on a four or six rounds basis.

I picked up a hand injury once again, which set my knuckle further back in my hand. We rested a little and thought rest would be sufficient, but during training camp for a title eliminator we damaged the hand once again, then one injury led to another.

I was out from boxing for a few years with injuries and setbacks. So it was very difficult to keep focused and determined to fulfil my goal of becoming a champion!

I ticked over whenever I could in the gym, staying fit and trying to keep motivated.

In 2014 I returned to full fight training after changing gyms to the Bethlehem Boxing Club, where under the guidance of Lee Murtagh and Martin Stainsby I not only got my fight fitness back but also took on a totally different mind-set, a very focused one.

I believe overcoming the hurdles and gaps from the sport made me mentally much stronger and experienced and equipped me with the right tools to go to the top.

 

Gianluca

In January 2015 you made a successful return to the ring, with a stoppage victory over Richard Voros at York Hall in London, two months later you had another stoppage victory, this time over Ladislav Miko and then just two months later successfully challenged Mikheil Soloninkini for your first Championship accolade, the International Masters Bantamweight title. Firstly how did you feel making the return after three years out, was it different to you debut, or were the feelings you felt similar to that of your pro debut? Also can you tell the readers how you felt securing your first Championship accolade as well as a little about the fight?

 

Tasif

Yes, I can honestly say it was the best feeling ever to get back in that ring at York Hall in London after a long time out, to showcase my skills.

It was a successful return and yes it did feel a lot like my debut again, as I had hundreds of fans travel from the North to support me. This fight was to thank them for all their support, help and their for them sticking by me throughout.

The aim was to stay busy, as I believe a good fighter is a busy fighter.

The next few fights we had up and down the country, Liverpool, then London again etc. and on a winning streak.

Then in May 2015 I was given the opportunity to box for the International Masters Silver title, for ten rounds against Mikheil Soloninkini.

Now, I’ve seen Soloninkini box Charlie Edwards at the 02 Arena in London, so knew what I was up against. He’s a tough kid who doesn’t mind a fight.

We trained very hard for this fight; I had a dietician, nutritionist, strength and conditioning coach etc., to take me to the next level.

I always believed I had the attributes and self-belief to become a champion, and being mentored by my good friend, former WBC World Champion Junior Witter was very much a factor in that.

Having so much support and advice from such a renowned Champion as Junior, as well as Naddeem Siddique, who was also a stable mate for much of my early career really helped give me the much needed self belief I needed in my early career.

We really performed well in the ten round contest and scored a clear points decision victory to claim the International Masters tile, have to say it felt like winning a World title fight that night.

That fight answered so many questions for me, first off doing the full ten rounds, but I suppose the biggest question answered was that of “heart”, as I got knocked down during the fight, but got up off the canvas and fought the fight of my life to make sure I got the win.

The fight was at a weight higher than usual for me, Bantamweight, not Super Flyweight, but wasn’t going to turn down such an opportunity.

I felt my dream had come true, first getting the opportunity and of course winning my first title.

 

Gianluca

Just over a year from your return bout you were fighting for both the WBU and GBU World Super Flyweight Championships against Isaac Quaye. I was there so know what the atmosphere and your performance were like, but can you let the readers know from your perspective how you felt about getting the opportunity as well as the fight itself and how you felt being crowned World Champion for the first time?

 

Tasif

Words alone cannot possibly describe how I felt just getting the opportunity, let alone being crowned World Champion.

It was from a dream come true, from the first time I walked into a boxing gym at the age of ten. Having lived and brought up in Bradford, to then have the opportunity to not only fight for a World Championship, but fight for it in my home town was more than a dream, it was unbelievable and literally ‘Making History’ being the person that fought the first World Title fight ever in my home town of Bradford.

When I initially got the call from my manager and promoter Stephen Vaughan, he asked, “Would you like to fight for the WBU World title against Isaac Quaye from Ghana?” I was lost for words, I mean Stephen said that they had asked for it and then asked would I take it.

I thought it was a joke and laughed, I really thought he was playing a prank on me and was about to put the phone down but his tone changed and he then said, “I’m serious”.

My eyes lit up and I immediately said yes, I didn’t even hesitate. I was just so excited, I didn’t even ask about the purse, fight details or anything.

The whole team were excited and we began our preparations. The fight was due to take place first in London, but that show got cancelled, then Liverpool, again got cancelled due to flight issues and Isaac never made it to the UK in time for the weigh-in let alone the fight.

It was getting to the point where I thought this isn’t going to happen, then Stephen managed to get the fight finalised and made in my hometown of Bradford.

Finally my chance to make history arrived and everyone who was present on the 6th February 2016 played their part in “Making History”. It was an amazing atmosphere and to top it up a second world title was added to the night GBU world title.

We won the fight by a sixth round Knockout, but before doing so had put Isaac down three times.

The atmosphere was electric, the support was electro and it made my performance that much more electric and sweet.

I dedicated this fight to all those fans and supporters who have been there supporting me from day one, for my sponsors, Kingsland Business Recovery, Broadway Solicitors, Janan Fashion, Vista Gym, SouthPaw Fightgear, as well as to my family, for their continued support and my old Amateur trainer Mr Allan, who had passed away (RIP), who took me under his wing at age 10 and grounded me with skill, attributes, discipline and respect to become a World Champion.

For weeks after, I still couldn’t believe I had won the World title, particularly the WBU title, I mean I grew up watching Ricky Hatton win and defend the WBU title several times, to now have that same belt framed in my own room is beyond excitement and beyond any words.

I have to say a massive thank you to Stephen Vaughan for making this possible and bringing world championship boxing in my hometown of Bradford.

 

Gianluca

Last November you were back in World Championship action, this time against Michael Barnor, however you weren’t defending either the WBU or GBU titles, but campaigning for the recently launched World Boxing Confederation Championship. My first question has to be why did you choose to campaign for a different Championship rather than defend the GBU and WBU titles? Also could you tell us a bit about the fight and how it felt to secure your third Wold Championship belt?

 

Tasif

Firstly the intentions to defend my belts were clear and in the plans for this fight, however due to the politics and behind the scenes issues with the WBU I needed these to be sorted first.

Secondly I was given an opportunity to box for a third World Title at the weight above mine, so shouldn’t have affected the status of my WBU and GBU titles as this was fought at Bantamweight.

If there was no WBC (World Boxing Confederation) belt at stake at Bantamweight, I would have happily defended my Super Flyweight titles.

Winning a third World title was awesome and it felt just as sweet as the first time.

I believe having World titles in two different divisions, will open more doors for me in the future, maybe even with fights in America.

The fight was a potential banana skin fight for me, I mean I was fighting someone naturally bigger than myself, he’s 5’9” tall, and he’s an awkward and rangy southpaw. Worse still we had no real fight footage, so all in all had all the ingredients to make it a very difficult night for me were there.

After the first round it was clear that Michael Barnor was not there just keep me at bay and take the opportunities when they arose, but was keen to stand and fight, which actually played into our hands as our game plan was to get inside his reach and work his body.

We stood in the middle of the ring and traded blows; I felt very comfortable and enjoyed it. I felt the body shots were taking their toll and were definitely slowing him down. Then in third round I caught him with a lovely body shot, which ended the fight.

I can honestly say I am feeling stronger and stronger each fight. Winning three world titles is awesome.

The hunger and drive is still there in fact even more so, I go into each fight thinking and behaving like the challenger. My aim is to Continue winning and if possible add more silver wear as well as get those over seas fights in America I crave.

 

Gianluca

Since winning the World Championship I understand you’ve also been receiving various accolades from the Political World, both locally and Nationally for your achievements.

 

Tasif

Yes indeed, after I won the WBU and GBU titles the Lord Mayor of Bradford arranged a Civic Reception to celebrate my success, I’m still speechless over this, I didn’t expect this at all, thinking about it still blows my mind, even today.

Then in October I was invited to the Houses of Parliament, along with Amir Khan and singer Imran Khan, where I was awarded a British Asian Achievements Award.

I didn’t expect or even dream that I would have my achievements recognised at this level. Receiving recognition in this way is so humbling.

 

Gianluca

OK, back to Boxing now, on the 26th February, at the Connaught Rooms in Bradford, you’ll be in action once more, in a ten round non-Championship contest against Ekow Wilson. How much do you know about Ekow and how do you see this particular fight unfolding?

 

Tasif

Yes next fight Feb 26th 2017 at the Connaught rooms. It will be a ten round international fight.

Ekow is a fighter who has had a lot to say, claiming he will knock me out, like he has done many of his opponents.

Yes I agree, he has a very good record with 16 wins, 14 by way of knockout and only 2 losses, one of which was against the highly ranked Duke Miccah.

Basically I believe this is a tough fight, but one we can over come and win. This is not about anything this is about pride; he claims I have avoided him. He claims I have been running scared. So as you can see this is a fight to prove to him and myself that I belong here at the top and I will prove my worth.

Wilson is promising a Knockout, but I believe talk is cheap and I intend to prove my worth in the ring on Feb 26th.

 

Gianluca

Now we’ve covered your career I must ask, out of the fights you’ve had to date which has been your favourite and why?

 

Tasif

All my fights have they own special meaning to me, for example fighting on the undercard of Amir Khan versus Paul McCloskey, to be on such a huge show was so special to me, but for me my most favourite is my WBU & GBU World title fight in Bradford on February 6th 2016 against Isaac Quaye as that was “Making History”

 

Gianluca

How would you describe your fighting style?

 

Tasif

I believe my style to be a come forward counter puncher.

 

Gianluca

Should you be successful on the 26th February, what are your future plans, will we see you back in Championship action again soon?

 

Tasif

Yes most definitely, I will be taking this fight and after I win will look to continue with Championship career. My future plans lie with my campaigning at Super Flyweight only and I aim to continue winning Championships, as well as breaking into the America scene.

 

Gianluca

Moving away from the fights themselves, who are the main people that make up Team Tasif Khan?

 

Tasif

On the training side the main people are Martin Stainsby and Lee Murtaugh, however the Team is much more than that.

Besides the support I get from my family and my sponsors: Kingsland Business Recovery, Broadway Solicitors, Janan Fashion, SouthPaw Fight Gear, Vista Gym Benidorm, Junior Witter, Naddeem Siddique, Vyomax Nutrition and last but not least all my fans.

 

Gianluca

Where do you train and what is your training schedule?

 

Tasif

I train in Leeds at the Bethlehem Boxing Club as well as the Coda Fitness Gym in Bradford, for my strength & conditioning sessions. I Train twice a day, six days a week, with just Sunday off to recover, relax and recuperate

 

Gianluca

What would you say your favourite part of training is?

 

Tasif

My favourite part of training is the intense pad work sessions, working on timing, and combinations to execute in the ring.

 

Gianluca

Outside of boxing, what is your favourite sport?

 

Tasif

Football and Cricket

 

Gianluca

Besides sport how else do you relax outside boxing?

 

Tasif

Spending time with my family, friends and lived ones, I also enjoy watching movies.

 

Gianluca

These days Social Media is very much an important tool for professional sports people; do you utilize Social Media to engage with your fans?

 

Tasif

Yes, I engage with my supporters and fans on Facebook and Twitter.

I have a Facebook under my name Tasif Khan and more recently a fan page. Tasif Khan- Professional Boxer and my Twitter is: @tasifkboxer

 

Gianluca

Finally is there anything you want to say to your fans

 

Tasif

Thanks to everyone who has been with me throughout my boxing journey. We had a fantastic 2016 and with these guys support I’m sure we’ll have an even better 2017 – if you love boxing come and join the ride #TeamTasKhan.

I have also launched a social enterprise, the Tasif Khan Community Boxing Academy, to promote the health and well being of the youth and adults in the community, by tackling obesity, highlighting discipline and respect, as well as promoting life skills.

 

Tasif Khan versus Ekow Wilson headlines the Saorise Promotions event, that takes place at the Connaught Rooms, 34 Manningham Lane, Bradford BD1 3EA on Sunday 26th February 2017.

The British & Irish Boxing Authority (BIBA) sanctions this event

Tickets: priced £30 (Standard Seated) and £60 (VIP Ringside) are available form any boxer taking part or call: 07944 655735.

 

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Up Close and Personal with Rising QBL Star Gareth Gardner.

Up Close and Personal with Rising QBL Star Gareth Gardner.
Interview by Gianluca Di Caro
Photo courtesy of Queensbury Boxing League
 
 
For this edition of ‘Up Close and Personal’, the featured boxer is New Addington, Surrey’s top prospect Gareth Gardner, who is set to face Grantham’s Mickey Blackburn on the Queensbury Professional Boxing Series, that heads up the Ross Minter and Alan Foley promoted Queensbury Boxing League NO MERCY season opener event at Effingham Park Hotel, in Felbridge, Crawley, West Sussex on Saturday 4th February 2017.
 
I was very much aware of Gareth and his fights against Marty Kayes and Ideh Ochuko, however on speaking with QBL’s Ross Minter, who really piqued my interest when he said:
 
“Gareth Gardner is a true professional in all aspects of the word.
 
He has a very close training team who work incredibly hard together in the gym and also get out there to help promote Gareth which helps bring people to the shows and they are all very good to work with.
 
Gareth has a good fan base, which we have helped to build during his time in the league, who are very passionate, so it is always a great atmosphere when he fights.
 
After doing it all in the Queensbury Boxing League, we all decided it was time to turn Gareth professional.
 
Gareth campaigned mostly at middleweight (11.6st) and also at Light Middleweight (11st) during his time in the league. He is now boxing at his more natural weigh of Welterweight (10.7st), which means that he is no longer boxing people bigger than him, which is really showing in the pro circuit, with Gareth dominating the fights easier than he did when against the bigger opponents in the League.
 
Gareth should have a busy year this year and we are hoping that we can step him up to title honours towards the end of the year if all goes to plan.
We are really looking forward to seeing Gareth do the business on the 4th February.”
 
Anyone that knows Ross Minter, knows he’s a straight talker, he leaves any QBL hype to their publicist, so what he said really caught my attention, especially as I had intended to attend the Queensbury Boxing League Season end event last December, which he and Tommy Jacobs featured on.
 
Unfortunately that event fell on the same night of another event I was committed to be at in Wales, so didn’t get to be there, but on hearing he is in action on the QBL series opener on the 4th February, I decided to make sure that not only did I get to know more about Gareth but also put the show in my diary to ensure I’m there to watch him in action.
 
Gareth, who had a stellar sixty bout amateur career, which culminated in him fighting internationally for the England Amateur Squad, began boxing on the Queensbury Boxing League shows in 2011. During this time Gareth fought fourteen times, winning all but one, as well as secured five QBL championships in three different weight divisions.
 
In June 2016 Gareth turned professional and on his debut faced Belfast’s Marty Kayes in a four rounder on the QBL event at the Millennium Arena in West Sussex.
 
No easy fight for a debutant for sure, Marty is a tough customer at the best of times, as proved when he challenged and beat Gary Silverman for the WBU UK Regional championship just a few weeks later, yet Gareth came through the test to secure his first professional victory by a shutout points decision.
In December, on the Eurosport broadcast Queensbury Boxing League season finale event at the K2 Arena in Crawley, West Sussex, Gareth made his second professional outing, this time against Croydon’s Ideh Ochuko in a six rounder.
 
Gareth pressured Ideh from the opening bell and kept the pressure up for three full rounds, so much so that due to an injury picked up during the battle with Gareth, Ideh retired in the corner immediately at the end of the third stanza.
 
With two excellent wins under his belt, next up for Gareth is a showdown with Grantham’s Mickey Blackburn, on the upcoming Queensbury Boxing League NO MERCY season opener at the Effingham Park Hotel on Saturday 4th February.
 
So with the scene setting all done and dusted, let’s move on to the business in hand, the interview with QBL star Mr. Gareth Gardner.
 
Gianluca
Thank you for taking the time to talk with me today, whilst obviously the interview is about your professional boxing career and your upcoming fight against Mickey Blackburn I feel that it would be good to start with your amateur boxing career and as such could you tell the readers a little about your non-professional career?
 
Gareth
I started boxing at the age of 9 years old at the New Addington Boxing Gym.
 
During that time I had 60 amateur bouts, boxed for London South East numerous times and represented England against Russia.
 
I then started boxing for the Queensbury Boxing League about 5 years ago. I had 14 fights for them and lost one bout, which was a Quest Knock Out Tournament.
 
I held five titles for the Queensbury Boxing League at three different weights – Super Middleweight, Middleweight and Light Middleweight.
 
 
Gianluca
Back in June 2016 you made your professional debut against Belfast’s Marty Kayes. Can you let the readers know how you felt, not only making your pro-debut but also securing your first Pro win, as well as your view of how the fight went?
 
Gareth
It was an exciting night for my team. It was something we’ve always been working towards, but had never happened up to now.
 
The fight went the full four rounds and Marty was a tough and durable opponent.
 
We were very pleased we got the win.
 
 
Gianluca
In December, you had your second pro-outing, against Ideh Ochuko. Whilst I wasn’t able to make the event due to being in Wales for a different event, but had heard that it was a cracking fight until Ideh was forced to retire in the third, as such can you tell us a little about the fight?
 
Gareth
Ideh was meant to be a step up in opponent for my first six round fight, but he didn’t make the fourth round due to my constant pressure and power.
 
 
Gianluca
As I mentioned previously you’re scheduled to face Mickey Blackburn on the Ross Minter and Alan Foley promoted Queensbury Boxing League Professional Boxing Series at the Effingham Park Hotel in Crawley on the 4th February. Do you know anything about your opponent and how do you see this fight unfolding?
 
Gareth
I don’t know a great deal on Mickey. My coach has watched video footage of him boxing, so we’ve been working on various things in the gym on the back of that.
We’ve been told Mickey will go the full six rounds, but we’ll see come the 4th of Feb.
 
 
Gianluca
So out of the fights you’ve had to date, whether Pro or not, which has been your favourite and why?
 
Gareth
It would have to be on the Queensbury Boxing League’s show at Alley Pally London, against Sam Holloway, which was a very close fight. I also learnt a lot about myself during that particular bout.
 
However I have loved every fight I’ve ever been in!
 
 
Gianluca
How would you describe your fighting style?
 
Gareth
I’m a come forward aggressive fighter, but I can also box on the back foot if need be. Which I think makes me an all round fighter.
 
 
Gianluca
Should you be successful on the 4th February, you will be unbeaten in three, whilst perhaps it’s a bit early to be thinking of Championship accolades, I’m sure that you must have been thinking about opportunities like that already, as such could you please outline your future plans for the readers.
 
Gareth
I’m hoping to be very busy this year and fighting ten-twelve rounds by the end of the year. Hopefully title shots coming early next year.
 
 
Gianluca
Moving away from the fights themselves, who are the main people that make up Team Gardner?
 
Gareth
My team has been pretty much the same since I first started my boxing career and consists of my Dad (Will), John and Chris being my coaches.
 
My Wife and children, they are so supportive. Plus help from Warriors and Juggernauts Gyms.
 
Last but no means least all my fans that buy tickets for my fights; I would never be able to do this without their support! My loyal fans!
 
 
Gianluca
Where do you train and what is your training schedule?
 
Gareth
I train at Warriors Boxing Gym in Felbridge four days a week, plus running, hill sprints, swimming and sparing at various different gyms.
 
I also have a full time manual job and work 6-7 days a week.
 
 
Gianluca
What would you say your favourite part of training is?
 
Gareth
I don’t have a favourite part of training it all hurts, its always painful in our gym lol!
 
However a gym full of fighters chasing their dreams, is always good to be around.
 
 
Gianluca
Outside boxing, what is your favourite sport?
 
Gareth
Carp fishing is my hobby, It’s the only time I get to relax and unwind.
 
 
Gianluca
Besides fishing how else do you relax outside boxing?
 
Gareth
Catching up on lost sleep and being around family.
 
 
Gianluca
These days Social Media is very much an important tool for professional sports people; do you utilize Social Media to engage with your fans?
 
Gareth
Yes, Social Media is great for advertising fights; it would be hard to get around to see all these people with such a busy schedule.
 
 
Gianluca
Finally is there anything you want to say to your fans?
 
Gareth
Thanks for all your support over the years, Love ya Team Gardner.
 
Gareth Gardner versus Mickey Blackburn features on the Queensbury Professional Boxing Series that heads up the Ross Minter and Alan Foley promoted Queensbury Boxing League NO MERCY event at Effingham Park Hotel, West Park Road, Copthorne, West Sussex RH10 3EU on Saturday 4th February 2017.
 
Tickets, priced £35, £60 and £75 are available direct from Gareth, any fighter boxing on the NO MERCY event or from the Queensbury Boxing League Ticket Line: Tel: 0203 751 8599
 

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Up Close and Personal with Tommy ‘Sweet T’ Jacobs.

Up Close and Personal with Tommy ‘Sweet T’ Jacobs.
Interview by Gianluca Di Caro
Photo courtesy of Queensbury Boxing League

 

For this edition of ‘Up Close and Personal’, the featured boxer is Colchester, Essex’s top prospect Tommy Jacobs, who is set to face Michael Robinson on the Queensbury Professional Boxing Series, that heads up the Ross Minter and Alan Foley promoted Queensbury Boxing League NO MERCY event at Effingham Park Hotel, in Felbridge, Crawley, West Sussex on Saturday 4th February 2017.

Tommy had a stellar Amateur Boxing Career, having notched up four National titles as well as was appointed Captain of the England Amateur Squad as well as was a member of the Team GB Development Squad, alongside such stars as Amir Khan, Luke Campbell, Billy Joe Saunders etc.

On the 11th March 2016 Tommy turned professional and on his debut on the Mark Lyons WiseGuys Promotions event at York Hall, faced and beat on points fellow debutant, former Kick Boxing Champion Ryan Lyall.

Jacobs-Lyall was an all out war, a truly first class and closely matched contest, so no surprise then, that it was awarded the accolade of being declared the ‘Fight Of The Night’.

Just three months later Tommy was back in action on another Mark Lyons WiseGuys Promotions event at the famous York Hall, this time Tommy elected to fight Ebenezer Amedor, whose record stood at 8 wins and just the single loss.

On paper it looked like a probable miss-match to outside observers, as Tommy had just the single pro win under his belt, they were right but not the way you may expect, Tommy not only out-boxed the experienced Ghanaian, but stopped him within the first minute of the second round.

In December 2016 Tommy made his first appearance on the Queensbury Professional Boxing Series that heads up the Ross Minter and Alan Foley promoted Queensbury Boxing League events, where he faced another seriously tough opponent, Middlesbrough’s Chris Wood, which was broadcast on Eurosport.

Once more Tommy emerged victorious and boy did he do it in style, so no surprise then when the QBL bosses invited him back for their season opener at the Effingham Park Hotel on February 4th.

OK, so now the scene setting is done, let’s hear from the man himself, Mr Tommy ‘Sweet T’ Jacobs.

 

Gianluca

Thank you for taking the time to talk with me today, whilst obviously the interview is about your professional career and your upcoming fight against Michael Robinson on the 4th February on the Queensbury Boxing League event at Effingham Park Hotel, I feel that it would be good to start with your amateur boxing career and as such could you tell the readers a little about your many achievements as an amateur boxer?

 

Tommy

I started boxing at 10 years of age at Harwich amateur club in Essex.

Represented Essex in only my fourth contest, eventually went on to win four National titles, represented and captained England and was part of the development squad that received lottery funding to help with training.

Had about sixty amateur contests in total.

 

Gianluca

For your pro debut you accepted the match-up with former Kick Boxing Champion Ryan Lyall, who was also making his pro debut. It’s unusual for a debutant to accept such a hard fight, firstly can you tell the readers the reason why you did and also a little about the exceptional fight itself?

 

Tommy

In my debut, I was very eager to get my career started and also didn’t really want to be fighting journeymen so when the bout with Ryan Lyall was offered I jumped at the chance as I knew fighting another debutant does a lot more for your ranking than fighting someone with a losing record.

I put a lot of pressure on myself in the first fight the build up was such a long time coming and It did show in my performance I wasn’t as relaxed as I’d like to be.

Being in with Ryan reiterated that I also shouldn’t be fighting at middleweight and need to be at light middle and eventually welter, as I was so much smaller than my opponent.

 

Gianluca

Your second fight was against another incredibly tough fighter Ebenezer Amedor, whose record at the time was 8 wins and just the single loss. Again I must ask why did you decide to take the match-up and also please give your view of the fight?

 

Tommy

My second fight I performed well, the pressure was off from the first fight and I was able to get in the performance needed against a tough opponent.

Again with his pedigree and record I don’t see a fighter as a risk as I genuinely believe that I am better then anyone facing me, I see an opponent with a good record as an opportunity to climb the ladder quicker.

 

Gianluca

Your final fight to date was also against a seriously tough fighter, Chris Wood – It’s clear by your previous answers your reasons but again please give the readers your view of the incredibly competitive bout.

 

Tommy

In my last bout things went a bit wrong, before the bout was made I had a lot of fights fall through so was a little de motivated and took my foot off the gas a little with training and enjoyed my food a little too much.

When I got the call about a fight in eight weeks I was never going to turn it down as I need to stay as busy as possible but I was over three stone over my fight weight!

My original opponent got injured not long before the fight and Chris stood in, again I didn’t care who was in front of me and was happy it was another fighter with a winning record coming off the back of a disputable title fight loss.

The huge weight loss affected me massively and without taking anything away from my opponent I had nothing in me from halfway through the first round.

Chris gave me a very tough good fight but I wasn’t myself I got through the fight on instinct alone and it was a massive eye opener to keep on top of my weight as you never know when an opportunity might arise.

I definitely want that fight again to right the wrongs that occurred, I never lost a round but that was probably the worst performance I’ve ever put in so I’d like the opportunity to put it right and I’m sure Chris would like the opportunity to have another go when we both have a full camp knowing who we’re fighting, and more so I know the fans really enjoyed it so it’s only right to give them what they want.

 

Gianluca

On the 4th of February, you are set to take on Michael Robinson from Grantham, on the Pro Boxing element of the Ross Minter and Alan Foley promoted Queensbury Boxing League event in Crawley. What are your thoughts on the fight, especially as again you’ve chosen to go against another tough fighter.

 

Tommy

My next fight against unbeaten Michael Robinson is a no brainer for me, again a fighter that doesn’t have a losing record pushes me that little bit closer to a title fight.

I don’t know much about him and have only seen limited footage but I can’t wait to get in the ring and see what he has to offer!

 

Gianluca

Out of the three fights you’ve had to date which has been your favourite and why?

 

Tommy

My favourite fight so far in my short career has to be my second against former West African champion Ebenezor Amedor.

He is by far the best opponent I’ve been in with so far and I feel that the better my opponent the better I will perform.

It was a very clean fight and I was able to get my shots off lovely and I look foreword to beating people with similar or better pedigrees.


Gianluca

How would you describe your fighting style?

 

Tommy

My style is very unorthodox, I have a very relaxed guard although my defence is one of my strongest attributes when I’m fit and not weight drained.

I have good footwork and fast hands which work great together.

If you had to pigeon hole me then I’d say the type of fighter I am is a counter puncher but I feel my strongest attribute of all is my adaptability, I love to relax on the back foot flicking out single eye catching shots but if I need to I’ll happily change it up and take it to the trenches to beat someone or anything in between.

 

Gianluca

It is clear that you have chosen tough fights early in your career due to your Championship aspirations. As such could you outline your future plans for the readers.

 

Tommy

With regards to my future, I already know the level I should be at so I want to get there as quick as possible and make up for lost time.

I want to be a PPV fighter and a household name at the top of my division.

In the meantime I’ll be looking to pick up as many and whatever titles are available on the way, I’m already asking for title shots all the time I want a belt wrapped round my waist in my next couple of fights.

 

Gianluca

Moving away from the fights themselves, who are the main people that make up Team Jacobs?

I have a great team behind me, I’m always learning from my coach Russ Smith, my corner men know me inside out I have my brother Matt who introduced me to boxing all those years ago and trained alongside me all of my childhood, one of my amateur coaches decided to follow me with my pro aspirations Paul Shaw has been now doing my corner since my amateur debut in 1998 and I don’t feel there is anyone that knows me when I’m in a fight more then Paul does.

I also now have Sean Carter in my corner, Sean is an MMA fighter but we train and spar almost daily so again knows me inside out and has a very analytical view on things so I’m certain he will be an asset to the Sweet Team.

 

Gianluca

Where do you train and what is your training schedule?

 

Tommy

I train at Champions Pro Boxing Gym in Colchester we have a great little stable of fighters and get plenty of good sparring.

Training has to be done around work so currently I train at 4:30 in the morning then again after work in the evening and get a few sessions in at the weekends.

Hopefully I’ll get to the point soon where I’ll be able to train on more of a full time basis.

 

Gianluca

What would you say your favorite part of training is?

 

Tommy

My favourite part of training is undoubtedly sparring, it’s the closest thing to competing and more realistic then anything else you do in the gym.

If my running, circuits or any other aspects aren’t going right but in sparring we’ll then I’m happy if it’s the other way round then I feel something is up.

You learn so much about yourself in sparring and it’s your opportunity to try new things.

 

Gianluca

Outside boxing, what is your favorite sport?

 

Tommy

I don’t really have time for anything outside of boxing, I love most sports but football like most is the sport I’d follow most closely.

I support Colchester United and go as regular as possible when I can fit it around my training. I love standing in the south stand watching Col U win the only thing is it doesn’t happen too often!

 

Gianluca

Besides sport how else do you relax outside boxing?

 

Tommy

When I’m not in the gym or not at a show or anything else to do with boxing the only thing I’m interested in is spending time with my lovely little family, my Missus is so accommodating and understanding when it comes to the sacrifices and commitments that comes with being a pro boxer that any free time I have I like to spend with her and my beautiful daughter.

We also have another baby on the way so time bonding together I think is the most valuable to me.

Once a week I get to go into my own little zone and shut out the world, after training on a Saturday morning I go to the Turkish Barbers in Colchester town centre, turn my phone off have a coffee with the barbers then I get a wet shave and massage and every few weeks a haircut. That little hour or so to myself just lets me reset recharge the batteries and go again for the next week.

 

Gianluca

These days Social Media is very much an important tool for professional sports people; do you utilize Social Media to engage with your fans?

 

Tommy

Social media is a huge part of pro boxing and so my life, I spend more time logged into some sort of social media page then I spend logged out. It’s great for letting people know in bulk what’s going on, many years ago you’d have to ring people individually to spread word of fights etc. now I go on Facebook, twitter, instagram or LinkedIn and get it out there that way.

Fortunately I have a great following on social media, which helps massively when it comes to selling tickets promoting sponsors etc.

 

Gianluca

Finally is there anything you want to say to your fans?

 

Tommy

Finally is like to say a huge thank you to the people that make it all possible.

My sponsors Esca Recruitment, TMC haulage and Square Mile Broking help me out massively and without them paying for new equipment, medicals etc. would simply not be possible.

Saving the best till last the #SweetTeam the group of people who feel like an army of family when I’m in the ring, the fans that spend their hard earned cash to follow me wherever I am and give me that extra boost when I’m in there.

I’m not going to go into the whole ticket sales scenario but I truly appreciate every single person that buys a ticket to watch me fight, it really does mean the world to me and I cannot thank them all enough, my career isn’t possible if people don’t want to watch me, so I want to do them all proud and share my success with them all whether it’s York hall or Las Vegas.

They’re the ones that when it’s tough, that fuel me to bite on my gum-shield and fight that little bit harder.

I’m increasingly humbled by the support I get I truly feel that I have the best fans in the world I love each and every one of them.

It’s a lonely sport and they share the emotion with you in the moment like no one would understand, the look on their faces and the roar of their cheers when my arm gets raised is like nothing else and I just hope I can do them all proud.

 

Gianluca

Thank you Tommy and I and am sure the readers too, wish you all the success in your Pro Boxing career.

 

Tommy Jacobs versus Michael Robinson features on the Queensbury Professional Boxing Series that heads up the Ross Minter and Alan Foley promoted Queensbury Boxing League NO MERCY event at Effingham Park Hotel, West Park Road, Copthorne, West Sussex RH10 3EU on Saturday 4th
February 2017.

Tickets, priced £35, £60 and £75 are available direct from Tommy, any fighter boxing on the NO MERCY event or from the Queensbury Boxing League Ticket Line: Tel: 0203 751 8599

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