As the chants of “we don’t get ready, we stay ready!” rang noisily around York Hall, Jerome “Stay Ready” Campbell went into the fourth and final round of his fight with Jamie Speight. Former Southern Area Featherweight champion, Speight, despite being on the road now, is no fool.
After three rounds of dominance by Campbell, Speight threw caution to the wind and the two traded, throwing the kitchen sink at one another with grins on their faces. It made for an incredibly engaging end to a high intensity, exciting four round contest, which Stay Ready took on points.
Speaking a few days after the win, Campbell was as upbeat and friendly as he always is when we’ve met at York Hall. His persona fits perfectly with his style in the squared circle, lively and confident. He enjoyed the fight, he says (although it’s hard to imagine him not enjoying anything), “Jamie is hard, but I didn’t have the energy to close it in the fourth. He knew that. But we had a lot of fun, and a little chat after.”
Down the line though, Campbell believes that, “Jamie will be saying ‘I shared the ring with Stay Ready’”.
Jerome knows it is crucial in building his budding career, now 4-0 (1), to make sure the crowd are entertained, to sate their expectation with a show. He even wore a Santa hat to the ring on Saturday. “Of course, especially on the small hall shows it’s important to bring the energy”. As mentioned, the noisy team who showed seemed very happy, and mobbed him after the win. Stay Ready seems to value them very much,
“the people who support me are all real people… Some aren’t boxing fans, but they like it through me and I’m blessed for that.”
So far Campbell has beaten some of the top opponents on the small hall circuit. He stopped Luke Fash in his debut, battered the durable and wily Ivan Godor almost into submission after that and last time out beat Dean Evans. Only recently Evans scored a win over another talented prospect, Mo Gharib. Now Campbell’s added Speight to that, what’s next?
“Six rounds next [March 2nd, York Hall]. I won’t take a walkover, I want someone who’s gonna try knock me out.”
Managed by Steve Goodwin and Goodwin Boxing, Jerome says that while he knows he has it good, he has more to show his boss, “Steve doesn’t know what he’s got yet- but I don’t wanna sound arrogant!” There’s a difference between confidence and arrogance and Jerome, for me, falls on the right side of it. Boxers need a little bit of eccentricity to make it in the sport.
It’s clear Campbell takes an interest in the inner workings of the trade too, talking knowledgeably and with honesty about ticket sales and what he has to do to progress. I mention that he sounds like he studies it. Jerome says he has to, aware it benefits him too, “I know the game! It’s harsh so learn it early.”
It’s good advice which some boxers could benefit from heeding; both small hall and those picked up early by the bigger promoters. A silver spoon won’t feed you forever. Campbell’s focussed totally on prizefighting, “Boxing is my job”. What about sponsors, the key to many small hall fighter’s career?
“Not had any luck with sponsors yet, but I’m doing the right things.”
Jerome certainly seems to be a man who would attract some money from local businesses. Clearly of his area, North West London, with that bit of edge one might expect. Why not yet, though? “Yeah I mean I live in North West London, but talent is everywhere here, there’s gifted people on every corner: musicians, sportspeople, actors.”
However, perhaps there is something in a particular lifestyle choice of Campbell’s which could attract sponsors. It’s massively on the rise in the UK, growing rapidly. Veganism.
“I eat a plant based diet. A few people try it for a couple weeks, but I’ve been vegan four years. The results are speaking, maybe some don’t agree with it. But it works for me.”
If you’ve seen him box, it’s hard to disagree with Jerome on the results. If you haven’t, then March the 2nd at York Hall, see below for his social media. Don’t get ready for it, stay ready.