Boxers are a unique breed. Mentally speaking they’re the goalkeeper in a world where there are only goalkeepers. There has to be a bit of mad and a lot of confidence; sometimes one more than the other. Adroit, elite, trained athletes are rarely as warm and grounded as Angelo Bevilacqua [Drinkwater], though.
Through our fleeting post fight interviews it was obvious Milan native Angelo is a fellow foodie- in my other life I’m paid to cook. There was discourse over dishes with Drinkwater, we talked burgers, roasts, pizza and pasta. Food is fundamental, something Angelo’s other half has highlighted to him amusingly,
“My girlfriend always says when you wake up the first thing you think of is food. You’re 95% food, 4% boxing and 1% her! But it’s not true!”
It was only logical we met over a meal for an interview. As he was in camp for his next fight healthy eating was top of the agenda, and I was invited to Chez Bevilacqua for my first taste of athlete, weight-conscious cuisine. “Turkey meatballs, mushrooms, onions and vegetables”. When I hear of boxers downing brown rice and boiled chicken, a life which sounds both miserable and unnecessary, I now know there is definitively another way. It was delicious.
Being nice about this website also didn’t hurt on the hospitality side, “I like Southpaw Jab, you’re serious people and you sell real boxing”.
Meatier than food though are titles, and they’re a dish Angelo wants on his plate soon. Sumptuous leather and polished metal are at the top of the menu. The Southern Area Super Lightweight Title most likely first,
“I hope to have a date by end of the summer. One hundred percent 2019, I would be very upset if we meet again and I haven’t!”
Angelo is clear about his role in getting that shot, “my job is to train, spar, fight” but Team Drinkwater has very valued members who take on roles outside of the fighting. Victoria, his “very smart” girlfriend who doesn’t miss a beat, and coach Tony Pill. More than just a professional relationship, Pill is a “coach, friend and mentor”.
Team Drinkwater work together but it was Angelo who got in the ring and stopped Ricky Rose last time out. They go again this Saturday (July 6th) at York Hall, following a camp with top level sparring. Angelo has been lacing up and facing Team Southpaw Jab’s Commonwealth champion Phil Bowes and WBA Continental champion Conor Benn among others. Another impressive result will surely throw him into Southern Area Title contention.
There is a blemish on Bevilacqua’s record, one he is happy to acknowledge. A technical decision loss in Italy four years ago, it’s of no consequence to him though. If anything the genial optimist sees the good that it might bring him.
“It was a shame, I was winning the fight. I split his eyebrow, the blood was too much and I was the away fighter. It should have been a technical knockout. But it was what it was… I like when people think, other fighters think that I’m a worse fighter.”
The no nonsense talk turns knowingly cheeky, his Italian/ London accent slips out with a when I ask what does bother Angelo. There is one thing, and he’s playing, but he’s not playing: showboating.
“I don’t mind if you showboat. It’s your decision. But if you showboat and you get knocked down twice and beaten you need to think about your career. Talk is cheap, you know.
I’m not here to show off or demonstrate to people. I give the fans a fight.”
Surely there’s a burning ambition, I ask. The desire to go above and beyond York Hall, for all its gritty allure. Almost all fighters will tell you their aim is the top, the very top. Usually said right after they’ve scraped past an opponent 39-37. The more reasonable ones know that pure dedication may get them a British belt perhaps. Angelo, inspired by his sponsor Andrew (“he’s always more excited than me! It cheers me up, he’s the man.”) has calm confidence in himself, and no ego about his career,
“It’s a bit stupid to put on social media future world champion, then they stop boxing tomorrow. I like being step by step, step by step. I’m here to achieve, if I wasn’t, we wouldn’t be here to talk. I dream that, but I work to get there. ”
He knows he’ll get there somehow. He doesn’t care the route- as he said before, that isn’t his job. Who Angeo and Team Drinkwater fight next is irrelevant to him (Kris Pilkington July 6th, for the record), unthreatened by any route to that sweet digest of champion cuisine,
“People ask me who, I say ‘check BoxRec!’
Any time, any place, I’m coming to fight in your backyard.”
I finish by asking a favourite question of mine, how do you celebrate post fight?
“Bread is something that I love, I love pizza and I love bread and dry meat, but during camp I’m told I have to stay away. They make me put on weight… so July 7th after the fight I’m going for pizza!”
LIMITED TICKETS ARE STILL AVAILABLE: contact Angelo on Instagram @tdw_boxing
Angelo wanted to thank his sponsors: Southern Grove & TA Physiotherapy