Coming from tough surroundings in Catford, South London, young Josh Nelson wisely decided to spend his energy fighting in the gym instead of on the streets.
Following a successful amateur background winning silver at Haringey Box Cup in 2013, the lightweight is all set for his pro bow at the home of boxing - London's York Hall - on September 19th on the undercard of Johnny Garton's English welterweight title final eliminator against Kent's Martin Welsh.
Here's what the 26-year-old had to say...
What made you want to start boxing?
The reason I began to box is because one of my closest friends told me I'd be good at it. Knowing I've got drive and determination, plus being from South London we was always getting into fights on the road and being in an all boy school, that's all we did for fun!”
Who was your boxing hero growing up and why?
“I never really studied boxing growing up. I never once sat down to watch a fight. But as soon as my knowledge and understanding grew in the sport, I've always drawn towards Roy Jones Jnr. It’s the reason why my left hook is my money shot and would like to believe that my speed and reflexes are up to par.”
How old were you when you had your first fight and how did you do?
“I was 21 when I had my first bout and I had trained for about a year leading up to it. My coaches knew my ability so they matched me with a tough opponent and I beat him up but lost the fight if that makes sense. Crazy experience!”
How well did you do in the amateurs?
I had 24 fights as an amateur – W13 L11. I wanted a lot more fights but for whatever reason I was not out as much as I'd liked. I got to a couple finals of the novices and got an awful decision at Box Cup 2013 receiving a silver medal instead of gold.”
What made you decide to turn pro?
“I got frustrated with the decisions in the amateurs and have always been told I would be more suited to the pros due to my style. Also, feeling that I had not fulfilled my true potential as an amateur I owed it to myself. Plus, I don't see the point in putting in all that work to strive to be all I can be.”
What team do you have around you?
“I have a great team around me at SWPRO gym training alongside heavyweight prospect Biggie and Richard Commey – the Commonwealth and IBF Intercontinental champion. Gives me the opportunity to mix it up with a world ranked fighter that can only raise my game. Plus, the energy is always on 100 in the gym so I’m loving it every day. We also have Mitchell and Jez Smith that train down there and it's motivation to see how far Mitchell's come, just gives me more reason to believe I can do it.”
What sort of fighting style do you have?
“You could say I'm an aggressive counter puncher. Box at mid and long range but don't mind sitting in the pocket when it's needed to mix it up. Some say my style is exciting and I've never been in a boring fight. I haven't really had a chance to really test my power because I've always just boxed in and out moving around as an amateur with quick feet and hands. I know the pro game you sit more on your shots so I'm interested to see what I'll do having good punching power in both hands.”
What ambitions do you have for your pro career?
“My goal and ambition as professional is to be a champion. That’s all I want and anything else you desire from the sport will come with it.”
When is your first fight and who will be there in support?
“My fight is on 19th September. Hoping that my hood gets behind me so you’re gonna’ see a lot of people from South London, family and everyone I put in work with down at SWPRO.”
Tell us something that many people know about you?
I may have come from a dark place and been put in some bad situations where I've done things I'm not proud of but I've got a big heart and would like to reach a certain height in boxing where I can use my power to develop young people who have gone down the wrong path.”
For tickets to the debut fight please call: 07943 520 514
Watch Josh in the Haringey Box Cup 2013 final: