Ashley Theophane tempted to leave domestic scene in pursuit of success in United States

Posted: March 16, 2012 in Interviews
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Ashley Theophane.

IT seems that Ashley Theophane is bored. Of Britain, that is, or at least of fighting the contenders gunning for his light-welterweight title, which he won against Lenny Daws last year.

Theophane, whose latest title defence is scheduled against Steve Williams, has fought across the world. In Germany, St Lucia and the United States. Different venues, experiences, influences.

A lure that continues to tempt him, even as champion of his home country. Those experiences helped him to forge a career, borne out of the transformation Theophane experienced following a spell in prison. He was released without conviction but the burning sense of purpose has led him to an enlightened and meaningful path which, he says, has focussed his energies once more on making America his home.

He’s driven by challenges and making a difference. A difference he cannot make at home, any more.

It’s not just a hopeful punt, either. Theophane has been training with the best – the very best, pound-for-pound – at Floyd Mayweather’s gym in Las Vegas. Any boxer, even if they were stubbornly – and stupidly – resistant, couldn’t fail to be showered in some of the magic dust that falls during the Mayweather experience.

And Theophane is no different.

“I’ve spent two weeks at Mayweather’s gym, watching the master at work,” says Theophane, suitably impressed by the “Pretty Boy’s” disciplined training regime.

“It has been inspiring to see what he does. I’ve picked up a few tips and I’ll be adding in trips to Vegas as part of my Stateside training camp from now on. I have worked with Roger Mayweather and Floyd assistant coach Nate Jones. I feel they can add to my game.

“I’ve been to Wildcard in Los Angeles and watched Pacman (Manny Pacquiao) train and spar. Floyd is definitely on another level to him.”

This is where Theophane wants to be – working with the best, listening, learning and raising his game. It seems as if Williams may be his final title defence before he abandons the domestic game for the richer prizes which may await him abroad. And that’s what we come back to. He just seems to be a little weary of fighting in the UK. The challenge is no longer there.

“Fighting domestic fighters is tough. They are motivated to fight me as I’m the biggest name they will probably ever face – but they are just another win to me,” he says.

“I’ve fought the best that the domestic division has had to offer. I fought a great British champion in Lenny Daws and I made that look like easy work.

“Jason Cook was due to fight in an eliminator with Nigel Wright and I fought him. Next up was supposed to be Nigel Wright, but unfortunately he failed a brain scan so Ben Murphy, the warrior he is, stepped in and gave a brilliant showing. Ben will never perform like that again in his life (following a shaky start, Theophane won by TKO in the 11th).

“I was his World Cup final, his world title shot. Everything went to plan in the Ben Murphy fight. I let him wear himself out and I knocked him out when he was tired.

“I expect knock outs in all my British title fights. Steve Williams is next but he will fall like all of them before. Look at his record (12-1) and mine (31-4). It is a mismatch and he will be knocked out.

“I have loved being British champion. I am very proud to be the king of Britain but the world beckons me and my supporters in America keep asking me when will I fight in the States again.

“I want to fight the best, be it Marcos Maidana, Lamont Peterson, Humberto Soto, Kendall Holt. I’m not bothered. I’ve fought WBC world number 16 and former world champion Demarcus Corley (a unanimous decision win in 2008) IBF world number 3 Delvin Rodriguez (a majority decision win in 2010) and WBC world number 4 Danny Garcia (split decision loss earlier that year) already. I shine in 50-50 fights and that is not available as British champion.”

The 31-year-old, among the more cerebral personalities on the boxing circuit, is not short of words either when the notion of a post-boxing future is raised. His is a clear vision for the future.

“I am interested in politics, finance and world affairs but I’d rather make a difference at the grass roots level,” he says.

“If that means me travelling the world promoting sport to the youth in schools, that is more what interests me. “Boxing can help young people with discipline, respect and how to eat and live healthily. Train hard and the fight is easy. Believe in yourself and anything is possible.

“I’ve never had people believe in my talent but that never bothered me, because I did. I went to America and fought some of the best fighters around. Not many British boxers do that. I am one of a few who compete and win abroad.”

Broadening horizons is something with which Theophane has had little difficulty. Should his achievements match his ambitions, we may yet see the start of something very special – but we’ll probably have to watch it from afar.

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