- What proportion of you fighting is down to anger?
I don’t get angry anymore. As an amateur I used to spar a lot and if I’d get hit with a big shot, I’d get angry and go looking for it. It was the same in my earlier fights too but now, if I get hit with a big shot, I just relax and go straight back to my game plan. I start with a game plan and if opportunities come about then I go for them but if not then I stick with the strategy I’ve been given. I don’t get angry anymore. I’m much calmer now as a boxer. I was a good schoolboy boxer but at senior level I stopped listening to my coaches and started getting beat. Now, as a professional boxer, I listen to what they’re telling me and it’s changing me for the better.
- Congratulations on becoming the new British Flyweight Champion and adding that to your Commonwealth title. How did that feel?
It was absolutely amazing. As the pictures show, it was an incredible moment for me. Strangely, the main feeling I had was just relief. I had achieved what I had set to when I became professional and I just crumbled to my knees.
- Your progress has been remarkable; in just nine professional fights, you’ve taken the Commonwealth title from Paul Edwards and now the British title from Chris Edwards. Is there a downside to it happening so fast?
It’s been quick overall, less than two years since my debut, but really it’s mostly been the three big fights this year. I think the first fight that got people talking about me was when I beat Martin Power back in January and then went for the vacant title beating Paul Edwards, who is a very good boxer, in May. From my point of view there is no downside. People said it was too soon when I boxed Paul Edwards and I won that; they said it again last week in the build up to the Chris Edwards fight and I won that too. In my eyes, it may be too soon to push for the European title so it may be that I focus on defending these belts for now. I’ll leave it down to my coaches and I know they’ll make the right decision for me. I do have an ambition to fight at other weights at some point in my career.
- Thinking about those three fights this year, are there any similarities or differences?
Martin Power and Paul Edwards are quite similar; they can both pick out clever, key punches. Chris Edwards, on the other hand, is different in the sense he’s a big hitter and hard working in the ring. Out of the fights, the one I probably came out worse in was the Martin Power bout. It was only a six round tie but I had a lot of bruising around my eyes etc. In terms of the other two, I wasn’t really marked much.
- You don’t seem to get hit much at all. On that point, you have quite a unique style. Some people have suggested there’s an element of arrogance. Is that true?
I was glad that Paul Smith said what he did when he was commentating on my fight because he’s right, it is my way of relaxing. I’m not being cocky, arrogant or disrespecting my opponent, it’s simply my way of relaxing and when I’m relaxed I then pick my shots better. My style is very much centred on rolling my shoulders and constantly changing angles of attack so it’s as much a part of that as anything else. I admit that there is a psychological element to it in the sense that it’s my way of telling my opponent that I’m dominating this fight but I’m certainly no Prince Naseem! I don’t get hit much because my coaches study my opponents in depth and apply that knowledge to my training so I’m always fully aware of what combinations they like to throw.
- How much do you rely on speed?
A lot, the last two fights have been all about speed in every area. My focus was to get tight to them, land my punches and get out before they had chance to respond. Speed in all aspects of boxing was crucial for that to work. However, I’m tall and big at this weight so I know I have a lot of power too and I’m sure there will be fights where that asset will become key for me.
- There was a question raised at your last fight as to whether you do have a knockout punch. Is that fair?
It’s unfair in the sense that there aren’t many knockout punches at this weight anyway. It would be uncommon to see a punch like Price’s (against Harrison) in the flyweight division. Also, I did put Martin Power to the canvas in the second round and he only just made the count. In addition, look at the quality of the opponents I’ve been fighting; they’re all good, well experienced boxers who know what they’re doing and don’t leave themselves exposed in any of their fights.
- In your last three fights you’ve come in as the underdog. Has that helped?
Absolutely, yeah, it really does. I was thinking about this last night. I was wondering how much harder it will be when people’s expectations of me have been raised and I’ve got that added pressure on my shoulders.
- Who is your influence in boxing or who inspires you to go on and achieve?
Without doubt it’s my little boy, Alfie. I don’t really follow boxing or even have a great interest in the sport. Everything I do is because of him. Whether it’s when I’m exhausted running up hills in north Wales or taking some big punches in a fight, I just think about him and it gets me going again because I know that every time I succeed it’s benefitting him and his future. Alfie is my inspiration and I wouldn’t be the boxer I am if it wasn’t for him. He comes to my fights and shouts his head off but, if I’m being totally honest, he probably loves David Price a bit more!
I love it when I hear him telling other people about me and how proud he is that I’m his dad. That means the world to me.
- Are you happy to share your story?
I lived in the Edge Lane area to begin with but we moved to Everton early on and we’ve stayed here for a long time now. I’m the oldest of six, with three brothers and two sisters, and they’re the reason I got into boxing. We grew up on a tough estate and I was always fighting to protect them and stop them from being bullied. I decided to go to a boxing club and immediately enjoyed the training but I didn’t want to box. I was pushed into it really by the coaches and the other lads in there. After my first fight, the feeling was amazing and I was hooked. I’ve worked my way through the ranks and had a lot of support along the way. Paul Crowley and Co Solicitors, my sponsors, have been brilliant towards me since I turned pro’ and also my Uncle Mark and Auntie Paula have been fantastic to me. I owe them a lot as they help take the pressure away. I’d also like to thank my two coaches, Paul and Mick Stevenson, they’re both brilliant with me and I trust everything they tell me. My ambition has always been to be a fireman but for now I’ll stick to the boxing.