Debutant Jonathan Kumuteo might not yet be a household name in boxing, but with Frank Warren in his corner, it can be only a matter of time.
The Hall of Fame promoter of Queensberry Promotions has a pretty spectacular CV when it comes to creating world champions and top-ranked fighters - Tyson Fury, Chris Eubank, Frank Bruno, and Josh Warrington to name just a few.
Kumuteo, who describes himself as 'an aggressive counter-puncher', should have made his professional debut in the ring by now, but Covid-19 stopped him in his tracks. We might have found other ways to entertain ourselves during Lockdown, turning our attention to sites like 1cs.com, but we’re all ready for the real thing now.
Now 25, Kumuteo was born in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, at the time known as Zaire and was in the throes of a savage Civil War. During such fearful times, his mother made the correct decision to take the family to safety in England, where they have remained ever since.
Kumuteo has always been a fighter, not just in the literal sense. He has overcome adversity to succeed in everything he sets his mind to and was awarded several qualifications during his time in the Sea Cadets, and on leaving was ranked Leading Cadet. His tenacity and dedication have always served him well.
Boxing wasn’t always on young Kumuteo’s mind, but that changed when he accepted an invitation to spar with a friend at his local boxing club, Finchley ABC. From that moment on, he fell in love with the sport and earned himself a few trophies for his trouble, winning the London ABA's at light-middleweight and reaching the Under 20's Novices finals.
Unfortunately, Kumuteo’s career was halted when he found himself suffering from complex skin problems that required a great deal of medication, and three operations, the most recent one being in November 2018, which he has now fully recovered from.
Although Kumuteo has taken on the chin much of what life has thrown at him, there were times when losing strength, following the second operation, was particularly depressing for the 5ft 11" fighter. Starting from scratch was a challenge, but like everything else he has faced in life, he never gave up. If he wanted to continue with a career in boxing he needed to consult with his dermatologist what the best course of action would be, the skin around his underarms was weak and would tear open on exertion.
Kumuteo had skin graft surgery, and following three months of recovery went straight back to the gym in February 2019 to train for his professional debut. In May 2020, he signed with Frank Warren, and a live televised fight should have followed shortly afterwards. however, the global pandemic has stopped everything in its tracks, and for Kumuteo that means he is going to have to wait that little bit longer. He has said though, his experiences combating illness has given him the patience to hang on in there. This does mean though, like many others affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, money is an issue. You don’t fight; you don’t get paid.
Kumuteo says he has been "fight-ready" since March. "My biggest frustration has been staying in camp throughout the year," said Kumuteo. There are big sacrifices that come with that. You put so much in and get nothing out. Mentally, it's draining. Every decision I made, I had to ask myself: 'Can I be ready to box in three weeks if I get a call today?' I even feel guilty for being up at 11 pm.”
Kumuteo is ready though; he trains three times a day, five days a week. When that call finally comes, it will be a bigger deal as he is now free of medication, and is waiting to show the world, his family, and himself what he is really capable of.
“Now I am completely healed and free from medication I feel I am going to be unstoppable because if I can win the London Novice championships taking heavy medication every day, what would I have been like now that I am good?”
Frank Warren and Queensberry Promotions' first show of 2021 sees two-weight world champion Carl Frampton (28-2, 16KOs) bid to become a triple champion when he takes on the WBO world super featherweight champion Jamel Herring (22-2, 10KOs) on February 27 in London, live on BT Sport in the UK.
There are more shows and fights to be announed in due course.