Tim Redigolo of BBN sat down with Nick Webb ahead of his upcoming fight on the eagerly-awaited Haye Day II undercard at the O2 Arena on May 21st.
The unbeaten 28-year-old heavyweight has won all of his five fights to date by way of knockout and he aims to extend his unblemished record having only turned professional last year.
The Surrey-born puncher is still waiting for a confirmed opponent for next month’s contest, but has continued to train hard down in Brighton with trainer Scott Welch, and took time out from his busy schedule to answer 12 rounds of questions from Tim.
Here’s what he had to say…
Round 1: How did you first get into boxing?
“My granddad was a boxer and I always wanted to do it because of him. When he passed away I had the inkling that I wanted to start it, so me and two of my pals – Grant and Robbie – went down to Woking Boxing Club and it all started from there; I was 21 at the time.”
Round 2: Who was your boxing hero growing up?
“Muhammad Ali, I used to love watching his fights on TV repeats and on YouTube, and Lennox Lewis, they’re my favourites.”
Round 3: Talk us through your amateur background?
“I had 27 amateur fights, I won novice titles and I made it to the ABA finals. I won 21 fights in the amateurs before going professional.”
Round 4: What made you decide to turn pro?
“I was trying to get on the Team GB squad for the 2012 Olympics. I had three trials and during the last year Joseph Joyce beat me, so I knew it was unlikely that I would make the team and that’s when I started to think about turning pro. I had a few approaches from people and one of them was former world heavyweight title challenger, Scott Welch. He asked if I wanted to go pro with him, I went down and did a training session with him in Brighton and he offered me a deal where I could stay away from home and become a full-time athlete and I went with it. I wanted to learn off him because he has been there and done it as British and Commonwealth champion. That was last year and here I am now.”
Round 5: How did you find your first fights in both your amateur and professional career?
“As an amateur I boxed like Ali, bouncing around on my toes a lot. Even though I was 23-24 stone, I was still able to do it. Every year I dropped weight more and more, got thinner and thinner and stronger and stronger. I got a lot of stoppages in my amateur days – around 15 or 16. My professional debut was at York Hall and all my family and friends came down to see me. That was a great feeling to come out to them cheering me on. I started really fast because Scott changed my technique to make me more powerful and aim to throw bigger shots. I fought Hrvoje Kisicek, who Anthony Joshua fought in his third bout. Joshua stopped him in with 1:22 left in the second round so I was aiming to do a better job, and I did. I won after about 50 seconds, so I was happy with that.”
Round 6: What are your thoughts on the rise of Anthony Joshua?
“He’s getting the right opponents to make him money. He’s a world champ now but do I think Dominic Breazeale is going to beat him and is it a 50/50 fight? No, definitely not. It’s going to be Joshua going in there knowing that he can beat him.
He is a specimen, has a good physique and he’s a big hitter, but we’ve not seen him get tested. He hasn’t fought a good enough quality of opponent. You can’t say he’s unstoppable because he hasn’t shown all aspects of his game, only his power.”
Round 7: You’ve managed to stop all your opponents to date, does that frustrate you a little in the sense that you go through weeks of training for what turns out to be a short fight?
“At the beginning it was frustrating because, as you say, you’ve trained for a fight and that’s what you want on the night. But then I say to myself, ‘do you know what? I’ve gone in there, I’ve done the job, I’ve not been hit or taken any damage, so bring on the next one!’ When I’m sparring with the likes of Chisora, we’ll go the distance and fight hard. I’m prepared go all the way, if it comes to that.”
Round 8: How does it feel to be in a weight division that has, especially in Britain, a real buzz about it, and do you see yourself mixing it with the top guys one day soon?
“It’s really exciting at the moment. I want to move myself up there quickly so I can challenge these boys. I’ll see what is out there and work hard, I’m ready to come for them.”
Round 9: Will you be challenging for titles in the near future?
“Definitely, that’s what I’m here for and that’s what we’ve been working towards. The first title we’ll aim for will be a Southern Area title this year, then late next year we’d like to be competing for a British title.”
Round 10: This is your third fight in front of the TV cameras, the last Haye Day show peaking at an incredible 3 million views, how is that going to be for you? “When the TV crews are there it makes me more up for it, to be honest. I feel like this is what I’m here for. I want to show people what I can do, and look good. I want to be on the big shows because they make me want to box harder, faster and better; it motivates me. It’s been one of my goals to fight at The O2, and to be on the card for an event there in only my sixth fight is a dream come true. A win there will continue to build my reputation; it’s a big stage so I’ll get some valuable exposure. I’m ranked 12th at the minute so victory would move me up closer to my goals and in contention for titles.”
Round 11. What team do you have around you?
“Scott Welch is my manager and my coach. He’s a former British and Commonwealth champion who has fought in world title fights so I’m learning from someone with a lot of experience. He’s very knowledgeable and has helped me adapt my style. Matthew Etherington is an ex-Marine and he takes me on my runs in the mornings and does my strength and conditioning work. They’re the key parts of my team.”
Round 12: How is the support you receive in fights, and do you have a message for your fans?
“The biggest crowd I had behind me was when I fought at Wembley for the second time, there were over 100 people supporting me, and now I’ve noticed that my fan base is growing outside of family and friends. My message would be: ‘Watch out, I’m coming!’”