BBN visit the seaside town of Bournemouth to speak with debutant, Joe Hayes ahead of his October 10 fight in Kings Cross as he takes on seasoned journeyman, Danny Donchev.
The 31-year-old welterweight draws his inspiration from the Mexicans and brings a big crowd from his hometown with him in support.
What made you want to start boxing? “I started boxing because I was a bit of a tear-away in my late teens and had always enjoyed boxing as a kid. I did a bit of training and it gave me a lot of direction in life.”
Who was your boxing hero growing up and why? “My boxing hero growing up was Hatton and Duran. I love the old-school, come-forward, no-messing style. I also was a big fan of the late Edwin Valero, whose life ended in sad circumstances.”
How old were you when you had your first fight and how did you do? “I had my first amateur bout when I was 22 at a home show with all my friends and family there. I felt massive pressure and lost on a split decision. I was devastated but was then hooked and never wanted to lose again.”
How well did you do in the amateurs? “I got to the semi-finals in the Class A and Class B Novice Championships narrowly losing to the same lad twice, who went on to win both competitions so I lost to the champion. They were close fights as well and I didn't really train properly for the second one, the first I lost by just two points! I have won two or three Western Counties finals and three Southern finals.”
What made you decide to turn pro? “I decided to go pro as I felt too old for amateur boxing and the opportunity arose with a promoter that I know. I know I am taking things very seriously with my training and eating, I always said I would never turn half-heartedly and if I am doing it then I'm doing 110%.”
What team do you have around you? “I am still training with my amateur trainer as we have built a good connection over the years. I have a good strength and conditioning coach and my wife is my dietician! I couldn't ask for better people around me. Special thanks to Greg Steene and Mo Prior too.”
What sort of fighting style do you have? “I would say my fighting style is Mexican – pressure, head movement, and love a good body shot! I also like to fight on the back-foot sometimes and draw people on to big shots.”
What ambitions do you have for your pro career? “My ambitions are high or I would not be in this sport, I always aim for the top in all that I do.”
When is your first fight and who will be there in support? “First fight 10th October at the Camden Centre, Kings Cross and I have a massive crowd going up from Bournemouth. I have done over 100 tickets so far.”
Any message for the fans? “Message to the fans is that the support has been overwhelming and I can't thank people enough for taking the time and spending their money to watch me do what I do best.”
For tickets to the debut fight please call: 07969 722768