By Dominic Hadi (@domhadi – Instagram)
Any card that follows on from Anthony Joshua’s incredible, enthralling loss to Andy Ruiz Jr. was always going to be a tough task for a promoter. Although being shadowed by a night of that magnitude, nearly three weeks later the Matchroom Boxing NXTGEN card sees some of the hottest prospects in their stable step into the ring at the infamous York Hall.
This Friday (21st June), one fighter appearing is former Team USA star and highly decorated amateur Otha Jones III (1-0). I caught up with Otha while he was waiting at the airport to board his flight for what will be not only his first fight, but first visit to the UK. He spoke to me on a number of topics.
Otha on travelling overseas on only his second professional fight
“I wasn’t expecting it so soon, but I always knew I would be. Eddie and Matchroom have the ability to host shows globally and I want to be able to look back and say I fought across the globe, trying new places, experiencing new cultures all the while becoming a better fighter on my way to world titles”.
On Meeting Eddie Hearn and signing with Matchroom
“It was probably around a year ago that I met Eddie. We were introduced by my manager and we heard he was a big promoter form the UK looking to open up shop in the US. I liked him, he had a strong vision and after discussions with my team we agreed it was the right move as I become a professional”
The difference between amateur and professional boxing
“In amateur boxing it is all about the volume of strikes. I fought in 300+ amateur bouts and you always know you have three rounds to win the fight and throwing constant shots will definitely help with the end result. In the pro’s its a different ball game. It’s a chess match. I need to prepare my body and mind for more rounds in a fight whether it’s 4, 6 or 12 [rounds] you have to get yourself prepared to reserve your energy and pick your shots. It’s a different mind set and strategy, but I have the best team for to learn these lessons as I grow”.
Otha on the UK
“I can’t wait to come to England. I’m looking to try the food and the culture. For me being able to travel the world while getting paid to live my dream is a blessing. I’m going to come to London fully focused on getting the victory on Friday and then I’ll be around for a couple of days after to sight-see and experience London”.
“In the amateurs I was always around my fighting weight so it was never a problem. As I professional and still only being 19, I’m still going and getting bigger so now the weight is something to focus on, but it is just part of it. It is never a worry for me making 135 lbs.”
Otha on Charles Frankham and rivalries
“Charles and I fought in the amateurs and have become good friends. I’m looking forward to fighting on the same show as him. There isn’t a rivalry between us. We have stayed in touch after an exciting fight and I consider him a friend. Maybe in the future the friendship will be put on hold when we fight each other for a world title, but for now I’m just looking forward to seeing him again and both of us getting our hands raised on Friday night.”
Matchroom Boxing Presents: Benn vs Koivula, Friday 21st June at York Hall, Bethnal Green, London.