In the wake of the mutual respect shown by Anthony Joshua and Alexander Povetkin there was much talk about how when the fight is a genuine contest, a really intriguing bout, there’s no need for trash talk. The acted-animosity employed by some combatants to help sell their clash can be amusing, but genuine respect is refreshing. Two men fighting next weekend have that respect and class in abundance.
Having only stepped out as a professional a year ago, 7-0 (3), Jeffrey “Jeffy” Ofori is already in his first title fight. In the build up to his attempt to wrestle the Southern Area lightweight title from holder Jumaane Camero (Saturday, October 13th), Southpaw Jab caught up with the ever affable Jeffy. The twenty eight year old takes on the tough, 6-2 (2), Camero at Tottenham’s Green Pools & Fitness Centre. Jeffy is a jovial man and a grafter, who goes about his business with dignity and without false bravado or insults. As does his opponent Camero; how many fighters say this of their challenger before a title defence?
“it’s not easy to have so many people compliment you on your attitude so I can’t ignore the effect he’s had on others, I can only applaud him.”
Respect, ahead of a big fight for both men. More should be being made of this match up, Jeffy has fought at super feather, Jumaane is five feet eleven, and was 148 pounds in his last fight. It has small hall classic etched across it, almost impossible to call either way. Unless, of course, you belong to one of the fighters’ camps. Jeffy’s excitement is clear “it’s gonna be a cracker!” and the size and weight is no problem for him, he says,
“From super feather to light, is only about 2kg difference, so for me, although I could feel how dominant I was [at super feather], I just think the weight is not a problem. I’ve got rounds, I’ve got skill, it’s not a problem. I feel good at this weight.”
As for the champion Jumaane, Jeffy admits his knowledge of him is limited, but the height disparity doesn’t distract him, “I’ve fought people taller than me in the amateurs and pros”. Regarding Camero’s style, Ofori was unperturbed, focussing more on his own performance.
“All I know is sometimes he switch hits, I know what to do if he does that, so I wouldn’t do it! He can do what he wants though, no disrespect, he’s a good fighter. I’m not really worried about anything though… all I know is, any opportunity, I’m taking it. Any chink in the armour I’m breaking through it.”
Predicting a cracker is all very well, but there was no suggestion this will be a shoot out, the Tottenham based challenger fully prepared for the championship distance. “I’m preparing for the later rounds… Over ten rounds, I don’t think anyone can handle it.”.
Jeffy’s swift ascent to Area level has been backed by his humble, hard working attitude (“it’s a serious sport, and I’m taking it seriously.”), but also by two other support structures. Firstly his manager Mo Prior and British Warriors. Mo is steadfastly behind his man, and practically glows when talking about him, his joy at working with Jeffy lighting up his words.
“He’s such a lovely guy to manage, which is rare believe me! The super feathers had better be alert too: Jeffy is coming!”
Secondly, no fighter would be anywhere without their fans, and Jeffy has a hidden network of them- quite literally. His paid work is on London Undergound, and he speaks highly of their support for him both at work and on fight night, “You’ll have heard the underground guys at the fights, shouting their heads off!”
“Their support means everything, I got to the stage where I nearly packed the boxing in because I wasn’t earning from it, but my work mates were asking me why. Eventually my boss drags me in and he says to remember that this job will be around forever, but I won’t always be able to box. Without my work mates, I wouldn’t be here talking to you.”
This further illustrates Jeffy’s modest demeanour, I’ve been at five or so of his seven fights, and he’s improved every time. Camero has shown he’s not shy of a challenge, too, and as champion is confident as well. He said of the fight,
“I’ve no doubt we will live up to fan expectation… I believe I win quite a wide points position, not to say it won’t be competitive but I will definitely do the cleaner work and his best assets I also have in abundance. So if this comes down to one thing it would be experience.”
It is a real quality match up and testament to both men’s ambition and self assurance so early in their careers. The cream rises to the top and these warriors will let their skills show it in the ring, without turning the milk sour before the fight.
For tickets to the show contact either Jeffy or Jumaane via social media.
Jeffy Ofori: IN: @Kingteam3, TW: JF3Ofori
Jumaane Camero: TW: @JPredatorBoxing