Debut Corner with Russell Henshaw

Published On Thursday, October 16, 2014By Tim Rickson
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Debut Corner with cruiserweight Russell Henshaw

For the most honest account from a debutant yet, BBN visited Ilkeston, Derbyshire to chat with the likeable cruiserweight, Russell Henshaw. The excitable David Coldwell boxer is stepping into the ring on November 14 at the Ice Sheffield with International Masters super featherweight champion, Maxi Hughes topping the bill. The 30-year-old talks openly about being bullied at school, his amateur career and his gratitude to David Coldwell.  

What made you want to start boxing? “I have always been a sporty lad, growing up super-competitive but at school I got bullied because I was so big and confident. People thought that I looked tough so they used to want to fight me but I hated confrontation, and still do to be fair, so I used to run off and have days off – too scared to go to school. As I got older I just wanted to not feel so weak and helpless so at a young age I started karate then kickboxing and loved it and soon find out I wasn’t too bad at this fighting lark! So I eventually joined Trinity ABC with a dream of being in the Olympics one day.”

Who was your boxing hero growing up and why? “I wasn’t really a boxing fan growing up. I never watched it regularly so no heroes for me as a kid but Nigel Ben used to love a good scrap, so I’m told.”

How old were you when you had your first fight and how did you do? “My first boxing fight, I think that I was 18. I went as a stand-by, my trainer told me to bring my kit, just in case, so I did and it was amazing! I loved every last second and I won, as well, so happy days!”

How well did you do in the amateurs? “In the amateurs, I did really well, I won my first ten fights in a row, winning the Novice ABA Championships Class A. I then boxed for the England Select Team in Belfast, stopping my opponent in the second round. That was wicked, I carried the flag to the ring then got to the final the year after of the Class B Novices but lost in a good fight with Greg Bridget. We were both on two standing-counts but I couldn’t land that one more shot. It was close but was a good scrap so fair play to him. I boxed against a Swedish lad called Gabriel Richards but lost on a points – he was a nice lad. I also boxed an Australian lad for the England Select Team – that was wicked! I wasn’t actually fit because I was on Christmas rest but no way was I turning the fight down. We lined up in the ring and someone sang the national anthem live in the ring, all the hairs were standing up on my neck – amazing night. I lost the fight due to my fitness but what a feeling! He was pretty good, Joe Goodhall I think his name was. From there, I kept meeting Simon Barclay in the Midlands final and losing to him. The first fight was a bloodbath and he got me with a peach of an uppercut. I needed some stiches ringside afterwards but bless the ref, he let me carry on so we had a right old war. Tat was my favourite fight and we had a mutual respect for each other after that one. We met twice more but Simon won both again but always in tough, entertaining fights. I went on to win the super heavyweight Elite Midland Challenge title so had some good times. Overall I had 24 fights and won 17 but I never felt beaten, if you know what I mean. I was always still in the fight still and looking for the finisher. I’m still strong so the pros is defo my kind of fighting.”

What made you decide to turn pro? “I never really took my boxing too seriously. Don’t get me wrong, I trained hard, real hard but I used to still smoke even on fight days! I never ate the right food and it was just a hobby to me – something that I enjoyed doing but not a way of life so I needed to get the spark back and needed a new goal. Turning pro opens up a whole new world of hopes and dreams. The excitement is unreal so here I am, it’s my life now and my last chance to have a real go at making something of myself so I will have no regrets when I look back when I’m too old to fight.”

What team do you have around you? “I can’t believe my luck, signing with Dave Coldwell is massive to me. It’s still not sunk in really. When I see him on Sky, I think, ‘that’s my manager there, look, on tele, ha!’ It’s unreal to think that I could be boxing on Sky one day soon. Robbie my trainer is an old pro himself so he knows what it takes to get in there. He gets just as excited as I do so the atmosphere in the gym is brill – a real buzz every session.”

What sort of fighting style do you have? “My style is aggressive, relentless pressure. I don’t mind takin three to land one – that’s changing slowly to try give one without getting hit but I’m not the cleverest lad so ‘no sense – no feeling’ is the saying lol! I just love a good tear up, there’s no feeling like it – makes you feel alive!”

What ambitions do you have for your pro career? “It would be a dream to win a major title one day, if you didn’t have dreams then you wouldn’t do. But realistically, an English or British title could happen but just to fight in front of a packed-out crowd is what it’s all about, as long as I enjoy the ride I’m not too fussed where it takes me – I can’t wait to get cracking.”

When is your first fight and who will be there in support? “My first fight is Friday 14th November at Ice Sheffield – it’s a Dave Coldwell show. There will be a good following of family and friends then hopefully I’ll pick more fans up as we get going, fight after fight – snowball effect.”

Any message for the fans? “Anyone who likes to see a good old fight then get down and have a look. It will be exciting, I can guarantee that – all guns blazing. Without the fans, this sport isn’t the same. Hearing the roar of a crowd when you land punches is just amazing. To all my diehard fans – see you there for some fun again.”

For tickets to the debut fight please call: 07828 446487 To follow Russell on Twitter click here @RussellHenshaw