Rakeem, 23, fights out of Miguel’s boxing gym in Brixton under the tutelage of experienced trainers Don Davis and John Simms and will be campaigning in the light-welterweight division. He will make his debut at the York Hall Saturday night in a four rounder against Johnny Greaves.
What made you want to start boxing?
“I started boxing when I was 17, I used to go training after college just as a hobby really. Before I knew I was getting serious about boxing and naturally I wanted to start fighting. I had more and more fights and gradually my record built until now when I am ready to turn professional.”
Did you have a boxing idol when you were younger?
“I used to watch a lot of Muhammad Ali and Sugar Ray Robinson fights, they were the historic boxers who I was interested in and did a lot of research on.”
Did you do much amateur boxing?
“I boxed for Rose Hill ABC in South London where I had 40 fights and won 28 of them. I competed in the novices and the ABA’s. I represented London twice. I took on many good fighters. Because it was only a small club we had to travel to a lot of the fights which gave me good experience of fighting in other peoples back yards.”
How do you know the time is right to turn pro?
“I have got a really good foundation from my amateur career. I faced a lot of the top fighters in London and held my own, especially in my last season I won 9 out of 11 contests. After that season I proved to myself that I can hold my own as a professional boxer.”
Do you see a difference in the pro and amateur codes?
“I do see a difference but at the end of the day fighting is fighting. In the pro game you have to pick your shots a lot more and it’s fought at a slower pace. You have to plant your feet and try not to waste to many shots.”
Do you work full-time alongside boxing?
“Over the last few years I have been studying law at university, so if boxing doesn’t go as I hope I have that career to fall back on. I work part time around boxing at the moment. I work in an after school club supporting children in sports activities which are provided by a charity. I work with children from a deprived background and help them along and give them support.
“I work from around three o’clock until six thirty so that gives me time to train in the morning and after work. I also work sometimes as a film extra when the opportunity comes up.”
What sort of fighting style do you have?
“My fighting style is very unorthodox, I throw my punches from all sorts of angles. I hit hard, so I would describe myself as awkward and strong.”
What ambitions/expectations do you have for your pro career?
“As an amateur I was able to compete with the top fighters in the country. As a professional I like to think I can do the same thing. After a few years I would like to get up to European level. As long as I keep training hard and keep up my good life style I should be able to compete at a high level.”
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