BBN paid a visit to undefeated middleweight boxer Liam Desmond 3-0-0 ahead of his fourth outing at the Civic Hall in Grays, Essex on March 14th on a Carl Greaves Promotions show. The Essex boxer will fight in a four round contest at middleweight against opponent Dan Blackwell 6(1)-40(1)-0, brother of former English middleweight champ Nicky Blackwell.
The 21-year-old Desmond raced to three straight wins during 2014 scalping Liam Griffiths 3-49(2)-1 on his debut in March taking all four rounds on the judges’ scorecards. Four months later in July, Desmond took on and beat tough journeyman Dee Mitchell 10(2)-73(2)-2 on points over four rounds. His latest win came in the form of Kieron Gray 7(1)-38(5)-1 in November as he just edged a points decision at 39-38. We caught up with the likeable Essex lad at The Slaughterhouse Gym in Basildon.
How did you first get into boxing? “It was through my mate John Wayne Hibbert, I used to go and watch him as an amateur and said I’d give it a go to my dad and from there I started training at my dad’s mate’s gym at Newham Boxing Club. We had a couple of gym shows, I had 17 of them from 9-years-old. We went to Repton, Dagenham, Peacock, Billericay. It was just a spar really so no winners or losers. When I turned 11 I went into amateur boxing for Newham, won my first six fights with one stoppage. I lost in my seventh against Billy Hunt from Ongar.”
Talk us through your amateur background? “I had 59 fights as an amateur and lost about 13 of them. I got Silver in Swedish BOX CUP, gold in Haringey BOX CUP then the following year I got silver, Junior ABA National finals, NABC finals and London champion four times. Obviously I got on with everyone at Newham but I left for West Ham ABC because there was a better choice of sparring over there with a lot more boys and a lot more at my weight. Both gyms were brilliant for me. The head coach Micky May would only give you instructions in one sentence and that was all that was needed. He was the boss, if he was watching you fight then you would step up your game. I also had Micky Driscoll as a coach in the juniors who was great. I worked with Brian O’Shaughnessy as a senior amateur and we really got on well. We gelled really well but only got to work with him for a couple of years, but I learnt a lot from Brian.”
When did you first realise that you wanted to be a boxer? “Back when I was a kid, when I first started boxing. I had a break when I was around 18 or 19 and my dad’s mate told me to get back in the gym. My heart just weren’t in the game for a while so I just needed a break, but then I started training again and got the buzz back for it. I came back and, not long after, turned pro. I trained with Matt McCarthy, John Wayne Hibbert and Satch (Mark Bates) the trainer.”
Who was the biggest influence in that decision? “It was John Wayne and Satch that both influenced me to turn pro. John said, ‘come back’ and quite a few others as well said the same thing. I didn’t wanna throw away something that I was good at so it happened from there.”
Who was your boxing hero growing up? “Marco Antonio Barrerra – I always liked him and then watched him against Naseem and he did stuff to him that no one else could ever do. I loved the trilogy he had with Morales, I saw something about it on Kicca earlier actually. Because I’m tall for my weight, I tend to box more on the backfoot waiting to draw them onto the punches so although I’m influenced by him I wouldn’t say I box like him. Now, I admire Mayweather and Pacquiao, I hope that fight gets made.”
Tell us about your team? “Got a brilliant team, Kev Lilley is my trainer. I’ve not been there that long so they all make me feel welcome. Been sparring with Joe Jackson Brown, Vinz Kuech, Darrel Church. We’re all sparring a lot together and trying out different things.”
Three wins from three fights, do you feel that you have settled into the pro circuit now? “I’ll be honest with you, first fight as a pro is just bigger. The bigger crowd there, it’s lot different, you feel more nervous. It does come as good experience, I’ve only had four camps but you do get used to it all a lot more.”
How is the support you receive in fights? “I am very lucky for the support. I’ve got three tables to sell and I’ve already sold one and shifted a few tickets. I’m likely to sell quite a few more. I look at it like a business now and that’s what people say to me, treat it as a job, there’s a lot more to fighting than what people think. Ticket sales are a headache, last minute tickets ordered, lots of running around, and people letting you down.”
What differences are you noticing in your training and boxing with each new fight? “Definitely a lot of the strength work going into me now because I’m obviously fighting men now with more experience, so there’s a lot of strength work especially at the start of camp. Each fight there’s been improvements. I think in the first fight I was really nervous and the second as well because I knew had a tough man in front of me. First fight made me nervous with the bigger crowd there. By the third fight I felt more confident and threw a lot more but the judging was poor, it only had me winning by one round.”
Will you be challenging for titles this season or are you content to wait until next season? “Me and Kev Lilley had a little talk and maybe end of this year but for the very minute now, it’s just experience for me. I wanna do as best I can, I do want titles but at the minute I just want to learn all the tricks of the trade really.”
What do you know of your opponent Dan Blackwell? “Don’t know much about him to be honest, I know he’s my age and I’ve seen him box before. I’ll stick to my game plan and I’m well confident I’ll beat him. I don’t really like looking at opponents too much otherwise you can start overthinking it. We’re just working on different things in the gym at the minute but Kev will look at him and put the game plan together for me.”
Good luck for March 14th, any message for the fans? “This is gonna get bigger and bigger! Thanks to everyone that came along to my first three fights and I hope the support carries on. I’m having a few people asking me now so I’m getting a lot better fan base now off the back of my performances. It seems people are hearing about me now.”
Tickets to the show are priced at £35 for standard and £50 for ringside and available from Team Desmond on 07518 183875