Tag Archives: Isaac Chamberlain

‘Boxing for an athlete is a lose-lose’

British boxing has undergone a major resurgence in recent years, with the likes of Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury thrilling global audiences and enjoying huge rewards for doing so.

But the story of Dwayne Jones highlights the darker side of what former world heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis called the ‘sweet science’.

A good prospect in the light-heavyweight division, Jones is undefeated in five professional contests, but he hasn’t fought in over 14 months and has informally announced his retirement from boxing at the age of 26.

He told Elephant Sport: “I lost the hunger. When you turn pro, you maybe start to see hundreds of thousands of pounds and this glamorous life, but I wasn’t seeing that.

“Plus I was losing my appetite to fight because [I feel like] I’m a bully, and even if I fight someone on my level, what am I fighting for? I’m not getting paid life-changing money and I can get knocked out, or they can get knocked out.”

‘Dirty sport’

Jones continues:  “When you come into boxing, you don’t realise how dirty it is; everyone is in it for themselves, it’s a dirty sport, trust me. Look at it like this – you have journeymen who fight; they know they are going to get knocked out.

“But fighters like me train to some extreme level for pence and at any time I could lose my life or knock someone out.

‘Promoters don’t fight and they can promote until they’re 100. I can only fight until I’m 40, maybe. So in that time I have to train so hard, what for? Boxing for an athlete is a lose-lose.”

‘Even when I’m on top like AJ I’m going to be knocking people out who I don’t hate and potentially giving them brain damage, and all they are trying to do is feed their family. What kind of job is that?’

Some might say that, for a fighter with so much promise, Jones is being impatient in ending his boxing career so soon.

But for many fighters like him, especially those from humble beginnings, financial security is the be-all and end-all of the fight game.

“Many fighters come into boxing with that [money] aspiration. But they don’t know what they are signing up for. If you look at AJ for example, he’s a multi-millionaire; then you look at [his promoter] Eddie Hearn – who do you think has more money?

“AJ is the biggest boxer in the country and he still earns less than a promoter, because promoters can do 60 shows a year, taking 20% of each fighter’s purse, Hearn ain’t getting punched in the face.

“As a fighter you can only fight three times [in a year] maximum, and in between that you’re training – and you don’t get paid to train. Training is the hardest part, waking up at 6am to run, eating bland food; everything you put in your body has to be checked.

“And even when I’m on top like AJ I’m going to be knocking people out who I don’t hate and potentially giving them brain damage, and all they are trying to do is feed their family. What kind of job is that?”

Hunger

Jones admits he started boxing “for all the wrong reasons”.

“I never really had a hunger to fight, and I just can’t be arsed to train, to be honest. To be a top level fighter, you have to train hard, and I have no incentive. So I’m setting myself up for failure.”

Despite his decision to quit the ring, Jones can look back on a successful time in the sport which included sparring with some of England’s best prospects.

British welterweight Chris Kongo

‘I was training at a high level, sparring with some good guys at the time, people who coming through the ranks.

People like Chris Kongo, Joshua Buatsi, Richard Riakporhe, Isaac Chamberlain. I even sparred with Anthony Yarde for one round, but he was a beast, he hits hard.

‘To me all of those guys can [get to the top], but Yarde was an animal, non-stop attack, like I was landing shots and he was still coming forward.

‘Riakporhe is cruiserweight, so that was actually better for me because in my mind I was thinking if he beats me it’s because he’s bigger so it made me fight with less pressure.

“Kongo he will be a great fighter, in fact if I had to put money on it I’ll say he will go the furthest.

“He was probably the hardest fighter to fight I’ve ever had to fight. I like to land punches; if I don’t land then I get disheartened, and I was swimming when I was fighting him. He is great defensively.

‘Buatsi I sparred with years ago, like before all of the other guys and he dropped me so, it is what it is.”

On a whole it is a great time to be a British boxing fan due to the emerging talent coming through and it will be interesting to see who goes the furthest.

With that said, boxing has in Jones lost a fighter who could have been a real star.

Isaac Chamberlain – from Brixton to the big time?

“Growing up in Brixton was hard. You had to be tough or you would get walked over.”

When boxer Isaac Chamberlain talks about his upbringing, there is menace in his words. After all, Chamberlain is a born fighter.

The 22-year-old cruiserweight is emerging as one of Britain’s brightest young talents in the ring, with his unpredictability, burning desire to succeed and raw emotion making him a growing favourite amongst fans.

But these characteristics were developed on the troubled streets of south London.

“I never had any big brothers, so I had to fight nearly every day so that people would leave me alone,” he recalls. “From a young age, I grew up fighting in school and on the streets. Boxing gave me a way out of all that.”

Not calling it quits 

His most recent fight, at the end of September at Bethnal Green’s York Hall, provides a good snapshot of the man known to his fans as ‘Chambo’.

Chamberlain celebrates beating Camacho

His sixth professional bout was against Wadi Camacho, a 31-year-old from Canning Town, who in the pre-fight trash talk had promised to bury his opponent.

Chamberlain was already on the backfoot even before his right shoulder went, and from that point he struggled and could barely raise his arm as Camacho took advantage.

But somehow he overcame the injury and fought back to win his biggest title so far, the Southern Area Championship. He hopes this is just the start of things to come.

“The victory felt good, but I want more than this,” admits Chamberlain.

“I knew I could do it because I’d thought of it a million times in my head. It made me hungry for more success and glory.”

Sparring with Wilder 

In his short career so far, the cruiserweight has trained and sparred with some of the biggest names around.

But Chamberlain says it was a month in Alabama with WBC heavyweight champion Deontay ‘The Bronze Bomber’ Wilder ahead of his 2015 pro debut that was most instructive.

Chamberlain training with WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder in 2015

“I learnt how a champion prepares and trains,” he says.

“The team he has around him is incredible. To have a champion and win fights is a team effort as they are all working hard to help the contender win the title. It was like a tight-knit family.”

‘Straight Outta Brixton’ 

Chamberlain, also nicknamed ‘The King’, starred in Sky Sports’ documentary ‘Straight Outta Brixton’ which focused on his troubled childhood and how boxing transformed his life.

He said he was keen to show how his upbringing had changed his attitude.

“Going back to my roots showed how far I have come,” he adds.

“I’ve always been the type to look forward, never back. My upbringing and journey showed the perseverance I had when I was growing up and how tough I must have been.”

Support 

Under the guidance of his uncle and trainer Ted Bambi, Chamberlain has flourished.

Training alongside heavyweights such as Dillian Whyte at Miguel’s Gym in Brixton, he has received expert advice to keep him on the right track. Despite his tough training regime, Chamberlain says Bambi has been crucial to his development.

“I learnt the meaning of hard work with Ted,” he says.

Chamberlain with his uncle and trainer Ted Bambi

“He pushes me to the limit nearly every training session but also teaches me a lot about the business and life itself.

He’s so hard on me because he doesn’t want me to make the same mistakes he did.”

Chamberlain also says that being around a character like Whyte every day means there is never a dull moment.

“Dillian is a crazy guy but also fun to be around. We used to take the bus home from training together and he would always say he was going to fight Anthony Joshua again after their amateur bout early on in their careers. And he did.”

‘No easy fights’

Signed to Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom stable, so far Chamberlain has a record of six wins and no defeats.

He says his manager has been an important figure in his professional development.

“Eddie has influenced my career a lot,” he says. “My career’s been different from other boxers because I’ve never had any easy fights and my record shows that.

“When I’m a champion, I’ll know what it’s like to go deep in a fight and take someone’s heart in the ring. I’ve been through the hard fights before, so I know what it takes to dig in.”

Ambitions 

An admirer of former three-weight world champion James Toney, Chamberlain has set his sights high, and the likeable character is not only hoping to reach the top in his profession but also inspire youngsters to follow in his footsteps.

“I want to make my mark in boxing like the old school fighters such as James Toney. I hope to show my the sheer guts and grit to match my skills”

“My advice to anyone facing hardship in life is never give up, no matter how hard it gets,” he insists.

“There will be low times, but it will all pay off. I hope to continue to provide support and the right advice whenever I speak at my local youth club.

“I’d love to fight for the WBC world title at some point in my career. Hopefully, I can become a future Hall of Famer but that’s only once I have defeated some of the top names and unified the division and ensured that I am the best UK cruiserweight to have ever stepped in a ring.

“I want to make my mark in boxing like the old school fighters such as James Toney. I hope to show my the sheer guts and grit to match my skills.”