Whilst Anthony Joshua bids to regain to his crown at the top echelon of heavyweight boxing, one young amateur boxer is plotting to emulate the success of the 2012 Olympic Gold medallist turned professional superstar.
Much like Joshua, Delicious Orie was a late arrival to the sport: the Wolverhampton super-heavyweight first stepped into his local amateur boxing club at 18. By 19, he had switched to the Jewellery Quarter ABC in Birmingham and before long he was competing in recognised contests, boxing out of the Henrietta Street Gym that skirts the high rises of the city centre.
The comparisons to Joshua don’t stop there – standing at six foot six, the now 22-year old Orie towers over most, and the parallels with the former IBF, WBA and WBO World Heavyweight champion continue: Orie has just joined Team GB as part of their world class programme, and will be taking his place on the Podium Potential Squad in August.
With 28 wins from 30 amateur bouts, Orie has won several prestigious accolades in a brief career up to now. Winning the illustrious Haringey Box Cup preceded victories at the 2019 English National Amateur Championships and 2019 Tri Nations Championships a year later, all contributing to his Team GB selection. Much like how Joshua achieved success in the unpaid code as a relative latecomer to the sport, Orie is aiming for international accomplishments.
“I can’t wait for the new challenges – a new set of obstacles that I’m yet to experience. I can’t wait to test myself at a higher level and take on new things” explains the latest addition to the GB set-up.
“My goal is to compete internationally: the World Series of Boxing, the Commonwealth Games and potentially the Olympics in 2024.”
An area where the comparisons begin to fade with Joshua is Orie’s path into boxing. Working as a bricklayer, Joshua found boxing as a way to better himself: fighting and other antics that Joshua has described as “crazy” saw him put on remand before he really knuckled down and took up boxing full-time and seriously.
Meanwhile, Orie – who studies Economics and Management at Aston University – found an introduction to the sport that was born out of his lust for competition and an interest in boxing that he had always had but had never been able to capitalise on: “I was always interested in boxing but I never really had the opportunity to do it.
“Boxing isn’t offered in schools and nobody in my family ever boxed, so I played basketball. Eventually I just thought maybe boxing would be something I could do because of how competitive I am.
“Being a super heavyweight, it was possible to make it as a late starter if you worked hard enough, and that’s why I got involved. I just wanted to compete and take on all challenges. When I first started competing, I just got out as often as I could and entered all the competitions.
“Initially, it was really difficult to balance boxing with my studying because I knew the amount of work that both needed. I sacrificed my social life; I even sacrificed sleep at times. Some people weren’t supportive because I’m not from a tough, violent background – they were thinking ‘why is he boxing?’ but I was just so competitive and determined.”
It’s that kind of competitiveness and discipline that will carry Orie far when he arrives in Sheffield in August. Everything will be monitored in granular detail – each punch assessed, every run time noted and compared, all strength and conditioning work researched and carried out meticulously. However, the step up in demand and detail should not come as a huge surprise to the level-headed youngster who had his assessments at the GB base at the English Institute of Sport, and he’ll still be seeing some familiar faces regularly.
“There is some real quality there. I’ll be doing a lot more work with Frazer Clarke and Solomon Dacres – I’ve already sparred both. They’re very good: the levels are obvious and you can really see the world class ability” says Orie.
“I’ll be going to Sheffield four days a week. I’ve already had sparring sessions and obviously my assessments there – it is all such good experience. Going up there, everything was just that bit better and it’s a step up in class. You’re surrounded by people who are all about their boxing and when I was there I felt like I was improving mentally and physically.
“There was lots of sparring, track work and strength and conditioning. They try to see how mentally tough you are.”
Mental toughness is arguably Orie’s biggest strength, and that desire to compete at the highest level are certainly what fuels this young man with his aspirations extending far beyond amateur success.
“I see myself of having a career as a professional. That’s the long term aim. I don’t want to leave it too late – I wouldn’t want to be slow when it comes to turning over. But for now, the goal is the international tournaments and competing at the top” declares the ambitious +91kg prodigy.
Mick Maguire, Orie’s head coach at the Jewellery Quarter ABC, shares the ambitions for Orie’s career as both an amateur and professional. Recalling the last 3 years with Orie under his tutelage, Maguire speaks with great pride in the young man he has helped to develop.
“He’s earned it. He’s worked really hard for it and he deserves it” professes Maguire.
“From day one, he had a really strong work ethic. He does still, but that’s what really shone in the beginning because you couldn’t really gauge how good he was going be.
“He’s got incredible mental strength – he knew exactly what he needed to do to push on. At the start, he couldn’t really put two punches together, but he just worked and worked and he’s really developed.
“His application is second to none. He posted a decent run time today and he’s not satisfied with it. He wants to push it and improve. His attitude going into a contest is ‘nobody is going to beat me because nobody can do anything that I’m not willing to do better, harder, faster.’”
With regards to just how far he thinks Orie can go, Maguire thinks matching the likes of Anthony Joshua in the amateur ranks is just the tip of the iceberg.
“I think his potential is uncapped. The timing is key in this game, but let’s put it like this: if he wanted to be a bin man, he’d be the best bin man in the world” says Maguire with the upmost seriousness.
“I’ve said to him from early on in his career that he can go and win a medal at the 2024 Olympics in Paris. He needs to stay healthy and injury free, because you need a bit of luck like that along the way, but he can do it.
“We haven’t scratched the surface of his potential. It’s incredible – he’ll go to the Olympic with a bit of luck, definitely.
“Just as I think he’s going to the top in the amateur ranks, I think he will go right to the top in the pro ranks as well. His mental strength, his athletic ability, it’s all there. He’s a promoters dream already: he speaks very well and he’s very likeable. I’ve never met anybody who has a bad word to say about him, he’s a very bright young fellow and he’s very media savvy.”
Orie’s step up into the Team GB’s Podium Potential Squad will present unforeseen obstacles for the youngster, but both he and those around him believe wholeheartedly that he is up to the task.
Much like Anthony Joshua before him, Britain may have another +91kg Olympic champion on his way through in Delicious Orie. If he can realise his dreams, he might even one day surpass Joshua’s professional accolades – it will take dedication and desire that even Orie perhaps does not yet comprehend, but the belief is certainly there.
One thing is for sure: whether he is the next Anthony Joshua or not is irrelevant – because he has plans to be the first Delicious Orie.