By: Oliver McManus
As I’ve been shouting from the rooftops for a long time now, boxing in Britain is BOOMING and has an overflow of talent flooding through the veins at the moment – hot talents are making their debut on a weekly basis all of whom are capable of causing some serious carnage at the top of the game.
The three fighters featured below are no different – Ryan Charles, Mitch Frearson and Liam Dillon are all represented by Portobello PR and are set to make massive statement, I caught up with all three to find out more;
First up is Ryan Charles, a cruiserweight signed with British Warriors who represented St Lucia at the Commonwealth and World Amateur Championships, scheduled to turn pro last year he was beset by cancelations and will FINALLY be making his debut on the 28th;
Obviously you’re making your debut at the end of the month, how’s preparation been going, how are you feeling?
Yeah preparation has been good, I’ve been really ready for this for a while because I was due to box last year but a couple of cancellations and things meant I couldn’t but I’m training down at Miguel’s Gym with a lot of good fighters – Richard Riakporhe, Isaac Chamberlain, Chris Kongo – so yeah, it’s going well. Really well.
You were at the 2014 Commonwealth games, was it on your mind to turn pro straight away or did you always want to wait a bit longer?
Basically after the 2014 Commonwealth’s, I don’t know if you remember but I kind of got robbed really badly, I gave the guy two standing counts in the round and it was still only scored a 10-8 round by one of the judges and the guy won the fight on points, so honestly it put me in a bad place.
I kind of took a bit of a break from boxing, from 2014 to the end of 2015 I weren’t really training, I started again in 2016 and then I decided I wanted to turn pro and started the process from there – as I said I was due to box last year.
When you look back at the Games is it hard to take positives or do you just move on and change it into something positive?
It can be hard, yeah, obviously it’s the Commonwealth’s now and it’s on TV as we speak. I’m just watching some of them and thinking like “one of those medals should have been mine” but everything happens for a reason. It wasn’t meant to be so I’ve just got to treat it as a learning experience and say “ok, just move on and in the future once you’ve got someone hurt make sure you finish them off, don’t give them a chance” because if I really went for it I could have got him out of there.
When you do get in the ring on the 28th are you looking for rounds or do you want to right some wrongs and make a big statement?
You know what, either way, I wouldn’t mind getting a few rounds but the sooner the better, if I can get them out of there then that’s even better and I can make a bit of a statement, that’s good and I can move onto the next one earlier.
You’re quite a big cruiserweight, could we ever see you at heavy?
Potentially yeah, potentially. As an amateur, when I started off I boxed at Super Heavyweight, then I went down to 91kg (heavyweight) and I stayed there for a bit, then I went down to cruiserweight which is 86, then I went back up to 91. I decided, “let me get all the way down” so I went to 81kg so between light heavy and heavyweight (in the pro ranks) I can box between them. I reckon for me my optimum weight is probably 14 ½ stones, so about 91kg.
In the future I could potentially go up, it’s just the height factor, I’m not the tallest of cruiserweights so it may be a problem.
I won’t keep you much longer because it’s incredibly noisy here (I was at York Hall) but what are you looking to achieve over the next 12 months?
Definitely in the next 12 months I want to be pushing towards area titles, maybe secure an area title and then move on from there – this game is cutthroat and you’ve got a short career, I’ve got to try do as well as I can. I think all the international experience I’ve got will put me in good stead already – I think I’ve fought, 3 Olympians, Commonwealth gold medallist, world and American champs. I think that will help me in the pros as well. I just want to try and get as many fights as possible.
Mitch Frearson is next up, signed by MTK Global and making his debut on the 28th April – down to earth, humble, great fighter, he’s the real deal;
The phone rang about 5 seconds after I texted Mitch to set the interview up, immediately coming across as a great gentleman.
Your debut is coming up, how are you feeling, how’s the prep?
It’s been going well, it’s been a lot, started camp end of / middle of December really so I’ve just been working my way into it doing bits and bobs before getting serious in the New Year when everything was official and I knew I had a set date on the 28th.
Yeah and once you get the date does it become easier to motivate yourself to train or are you always up for it?
I’m always motivated regardless but, obviously, when you’ve got that date, you get that little switch that goes in your head and you know that is you the, you know you’re fighting and you have to turn it on a bit and ramp the training up a bit more.
When you’re in the ring do you want to make a big statement early on or do you want to get some experience under your belt?
I’m not entirely fussed about making a big statement, I just want to get the rounds. As long as I box well and I’m happy with myself then I don’t care how the fight goes – other than me winning, obviously – but as long as I put into play what I’ve been practising in the gym then I’m not fussed how it’s perceived on the night as long as I’m happy, my trainer’s happy.
I’ve heard it said you’re sort of “here for a good time” are you more up for having some good fights?
Nah, it’s not like I’m just here for a good time, I want to progress quickly and work my way up in the sense of like other fighters round the area who would make a good fight…
… you want to put on a show as opposed to just journeyman?
Yeah, basically, yeah I want to put on a show. You’re asking people to pay 40, 60 quid for tickets, you need to turn up and box – obviously I’m under no illusion that I will box journeyman at the beginning – but as long as it puts on a good show, that’s all I care about.
How many tickets are you looking to sell for your debut?
Probably between 100 to 150, I could sell more but where I work still, it’s about balancing time and delegating to tickets, working or training. I’ve got a few people helping me out but I’ve basically been doing it all myself, I could get more tickets out but I’m not too fussed at the minute.
Does it always add extra motivation or is it sometimes unwanted pressure?
From boxing in the amateurs I only boxed in front of about five people, well that I brought myself, there was a few others around but there is subconsciously an added pressure but I’ve been boxing long enough to deal with pressure. It’s no different to any of my amateur bouts – just a few more people!
Are you sort of taking the attitude that it is just amateur but on a bigger scene? Not overthinking it?
I’m a massive overthinker, it’s my one downfall. In this camp moving forward as a professional boxer my one thing was not overthink, just enjoy the moment, go through the process and just see where I end up instead of just overthinking and stressing myself out.
I’m training hard, I believe in myself and go from there.
In about a year have you got somewhere specific you want to be or just keep the fights coming?
I’m not going to be one of those guys that say “I wanna win this, I wanna win that”, I’m in charge, really, of how I progress and that so I want to progress quite quickly and if that’s domestic titles then yeah I’ll crack on with that but I just want to improve as boxer, fit nicely into the programme and set myself up for a good career.
Finally in this trio of interviews is Liam Dillon, a 22 year old lightweight carrying an unbeaten ledger into his sixth professional fight on the 26th May at York Hall – having secured five comfortable points victories over the four round distance, Dillon steps up to six in his next contest and the high pressure fighter will be looking to pile on the pressure at the top of the domestic lightweight division in the not-too-distant future;
Firstly, you’ve had 5 fights in your pro career so far, how would you assess them and what can we expect from you in 2018?
I’ve boxed 5 tough boys all very experienced, myself and my team have seen a massive improvement between my first professional outing and my 5th. I hopefully would like a belt around my waist by the end of 2018.
Absolutely, are you hoping to be out as frequently this year or would you rather fewer, but tougher, fights?
I’m hoping to keep active this year. Same as last year. I’m always in shape. I want the big fights. The fights that’ll move me up the rankings.
And when you talk about the big fights have you got a particular route in mind or will you just see what opportunities arise?
I’ll like take the best opportunities available. Listen to my coaches and my team as I think they know what’s best for me.
How does your relationship with your coaches and gym mates affect your motivation for fight night – do you almost want to do well for them as well as for yourself?
Yeah I don’t just fight for myself, I go out to represent my team, I believe I’ve got one of the best teams in the country around me, my coaches Steve Kipps and Bob Kipps have trained fighters at world level, Ian Wilson (who owns the gym) has put so much effort and belief in me, he’s another brilliant coach. Mathew Chanda, a boxer I train with, is the best I’ve ever trained with. I learn so much from him and after we spar or he watch me spar someone else, he always gives me advice after. Another guy I train with Patrick Sandy is a fitness coach, he gets me in brilliant shape, he puts me through old school training methods. My nutritionist Paul O’Neil from pro- nutrition does a great job helping me maintain weight and all the guys from team Sparta in Chingford. It’s a great gym to train at and there’s no other place of rather be.
Sounds like a really solid team – I was going to ask about Matty Chanda actually, does having some so experienced (Commonwealth level) in the gym make it easier to motivate yourself on the days you’re feeling rough?
Yeah definitely, it’s great to have a fighter of that calibre in your stable, it motivates me to get to that level myself, and Matty always giving his input into my training and helping me get to that level.
You’re quite well known for being a good pressure fighter but what do you think are the strongest areas of your game?
I’ve been told I’m very physically strong for my weight, I’ve hard to push back, I’ve never been good at boxing on the back foot so I just keep going forward.
Finally from me, when you fight at the end of May what can we expect from you? & at only 22 how long can you be in the sport for?
I’m in it for the long run as long as everything runs smoothly. I hope to have a long career in the sport. At 22 I hope I can have at least another 10 years in the sport filled with big fights.
And there we have it, three of the most exciting fighters to grace the “small halls” of the United Kingdom over the next month – they’ll all be looking to make explosive statements – don’t blink or you’ll miss it!