As read out on the BillyCBoxing show on Friday October 27th. These are the thoughts of AJ through a newspaper article published everyday during fight week;
I celebrated my 28th birthday a couple of weeks ago. I say ‘celebrated’ but it was just spent indoors chilling and playing board games.
Times have changed — maybe I’m just getting old.
When I was younger, birthdays were a lot different but, as you get older, they just get ticked off, you don’t appreciate them, partly in this case because there’s work to be done.
I still do normal things but now I am older they don’t lead me into the sort of trouble I got into when I was younger. I guess it depends on what your definition of naughty is?
I think that people have related to that and got behind my journey, from the amateur ranks all the way to Cardiff on Saturday night.
Boxing is a working man’s sport, the fans are people that get up early in the morning and graft — and that’s a boxer’s life, too, so people relate to that.
I just do what I want to do and keep it real and, if that’s not good enough, then who can I be?
People are respectful around me, they give me time and space.
It’s nice both ways, though, because I’m a people person, I grew up on an estate so I am used to being around loads of people.
My family is massive, so it’s not an issue when I am approached in public. I haven’t really noticed any great changes in how people approach me after the Wladimir Klitschko fight but my mum has.
When I first told her I wanted to box she wasn’t sure but now she’s seeing how the discipline and dedication has matured me — and she sees the benefits of that.
My son is going to grow up like his dad — hard working and understanding sacrifices, because I think that he’s the heir to the throne!
So, he’s going to have to be tough, wise and make critical decisions.
My boy and I are on a mission together and I am guiding him now although I realise it’s early days as he’s only 18 months old.
I want him to start from the top and use his brain. Footballers use their feet, boxers use their fists and I want him to use his brain.
First and foremost — I think like any parent — I want him to be happy.
If he wants to fight, he has to use his head, too, and navigate through life as boxing is a business.
Naseem Hamed retired at 28 — imagine that. I feel that if I make the right adjustments in training as I go on, I could still be fighting into my late 30s, so that’s still a few birthdays to come.
I’ve noticed that, as you get older, you cannot put your body through as much. There’s a lot of sparring and a lot of impact and it takes its toll, so with my coach we’d have to adapt to manage that and keep my career going.
Floyd Mayweather Jr showed that you can go on and on if you’re smart. If I am fulfilled outside of the sport then that might help me make up my mind to hang up my gloves but, right now, I don’t have much else to keep me occupied.
Boxing is all I know and it’s all I’ve got. Maybe without it or after I’m done, I’d go back to college but, for now, I’ll keep my studying to the ring.