MTK recently announced Roy Jones Jr as a partner, in a move this writer initially feared was a fighting contract, but the ambitious and increasingly omnipresent outfit have also been diligently adding top amateurs to their professional ranks. Josh Adewale signed his contract to turn over with Matt Macklin’s label before the Haringey cup a few weeks ago, and the quietly strident twenty three year old talked to Southpaw Jab about his transition, top level sparring, mentality in and out of the ring and much more.
As the phone is answered, the normal greetings are exchanged and I ask Josh what he been up to. The answer, “buying a suit.” Why the costly impulse buy? “Just because I wanted a suit really to be honest”. This was the first of a few indications during the call that Josh Adewale very much, despite his good connections and friendships, marches to the beat of his own drum. Fresh off a close defeat in the Haringey Cup, amateur boxing’s mammoth showcase event, I was keen to know whether the impending switch to the paid code affected Josh’s approach to the tournament.
“No, because otherwise I wouldn’t have done it. I lost on a split, he was throwing more but he was missing. It is what it is, I haven’t even watched it back yet. People were telling me I was boxing like a pro though.”
The fact that Josh was still bothered about not doing as well as he wanted, despite what could be a very promising future ahead, was telling. This man thinks about things. Just twenty three, he has plenty of life experiences behind him, including the successful amateur career, but also some less palatable ones, such as a brief stint in prison.
“I’m not hiding it, it is what it is.”
Josh was keen to explain there’s much more to him than that one thing, “I think experiences are what make people. But I don’t know where to start with me, there’s a lot!”
An experience this fighter has, in abundance, is top level sparring. Obviously as a close friend of Asinia Byfield, they’ve shared many a round in the gym, but he has also sparred WBA International champion, and soon to challenge Byfield for the British super welter title, Ted Cheeseman. Super lightweight contender Ohara Davies and 4-0 (4) upcoming middleweight terror Denzel Mensah and prospect Felix Cash. To name but a few. It is clear speaking to him, that Josh analyses everything about these spars, and tries to take everything he can from them.
Thinking I’m going to know where his loyalties lie in that inbound British super welterweight tussle, I ask anyway, who wins?
“Time will tell! It’s just weird, I’ve seen Asinia look not so good earlier on in his career, and then do well against the odds. They’re made for each other a little bit though, Ted’s quite tucked up, come forward. Asinia can be back or front foot. I don’t know, it could just go any way.”
A little more indecisive than I had anticipated, but when going through my notes later I realised the quote was perfectly in keeping with what was beginning to emerge as the obvious individuality with Josh. Even when asked about a friend, he won’t just say what he’s expected to as a friend if it’s not precisely his opinion or he can honestly see other outcomes.
“If me and Asinia got made, I mean it wouldn’t happen. But imagine.”
I have to ask. Would you? Down the line, perhaps a title is up for grabs, and you have to fight Asinia, could you do it?
“Would I do it? I’d fight my own brother! It would be a good fight.”
But who is Josh Adewale as a fighter? What can those watching on BoxNation (as MTK shows will be for at least 12 dates) expect to see from him? “I like to take my time, not rush my work. My coach often says to me with another round I’d get my opponent out of there. In the pros I’ll have that…
When people ask me what or who I box like, what style I’ve got. I don’t really know to be honest, you’ll just have to have a look! I think if you tell me someone to box like, I can box like them. I can adapt. I would say it depends who I’m in the ring with, but it doesn’t. It depends what mood I’m in.”
He then adds, as if somehow his previous words made him sound not intriguing enough (far from it), “Obviously I’m strong, I can punch.”
Planning to campaign at middleweight, “initially. After a few fights, once titles are there, I may drop to super welterweight.” Asked on how he sees his path through those divisions Adewale is careful not to jump the gun, “I’m not really thinking like that. But while I’m not thinking like that, I do know, just from watching boxing and sparring with top guys like Felix Cash and Ted Cheeseman, I feel confident!”
Confidence is not a shortcoming for Adewale, without doubt. His tendency to analyse everything down to minutiae may or may not be a strength, time will tell. Ability though, well, by all accounts he has a style suited to the professional game. What I’d add it that here is yet another young man, who with hard work and application has gone from six by eight feet, to eighteen by eighteen.
Josh comes across as very much someone who takes strength from his own vision. He might have people around him, but they’re not an entourage. Those others are just, simply, there too. Neither does he appear to be a man swayed by the presence of others. Though that could as well be youthful vigour. It is unfair to constantly compare him to Asinia Byfield, but it is interesting that despite their clear friendship, they could not be more different in affect.
Ambition and self belief, however, both have a wealth of. It is likely they enjoy being challenged by one another, both sportingly and otherwise, and at the moment that is a very healthy thing for them. Josh is a one man think tank, clearly revels in his solitude and it will be fascinating to see his transition to the paid code and what the future holds for his undoubted talent there.
follow Josh Adewale on Twitter: @josh_adewale & Instagram: @josh_adewale to see his journey unfold