For years British boxing had a reputation as being the home of the ‘horizontal heavyweight.’ Times have changed. Fighters from these shores now dominate the world scene and Tyson Fury, Anthony Joshua, Dillian Whyte and Daniel Dubois have all shown that, for the time being at least, British is best. For all the latest fight odds, visit our sportsbook.
David Adeleye (1-0, 1 KO) is 23 years old, 6ft 4in tall and has an excellent amateur background. It looks as if another blue chip prospect might be set to roll off the conveyor belt of heavyweight talent.
Adeleye won Junior and Senior ABA titles as an amateur and continued to train whilst completing a degree in business management. The Londoner has already collected plenty of accolades and can’t wait to begin treading the title-laden path laid by his predecessors.
“Most definitely. British boxing is at an all-time high at the moment. I don’t think it could get any better really so being involved now is perfect,” Adeleye told 32Red.
“Since I started training again [after the lockdown] I’ve been striving and working hard to get through it. It hasn’t been easy but, at the end of the day, we have got through it and as long as I’m healthy, I’m happy.
“It hasn’t been too bad. Obviously I had to be out of the gym for a little while so I had a little break but then I was straight back in.”
By common consensus, new professionals benefit from every second they spend in the ring and the more regularly they fight the better. It is more than six months since Adeleye turned professional and, so far, he has seen only 2 minutes 25 seconds of action. His diary has been full, however.
He and Dubois shared some rounds as the 32Red ambassador prepared for his delayed clash with Joe Joyce and earlier this year, Adeleye found himself at the heart of a world title camp in Las Vegas having been handpicked to help Tyson Fury prepare for his rematch with Deontay Wilder. Adeleye is at the stage of his career where he would love to be in the ring every Saturday night but the time spent mixing with the world’s elite has more than made up for the lack of ring time.
“I don’t think you can ever replicate the feeling of fight night can you?” he said. “It [sparring] hasn’t got that same feeling of excitement but in terms of experience, it’s kind of like having two or three fights because you aren’t going to be getting in there with anybody who has the skillset those guys have. If you learn how to deal with that you can deal with anybody else coming up. It’s a bit of a Catch-22.
“You learn how these guys and their teams work at world championship level. This is the very top and it’s experience that you can’t really get anywhere else.
“I didn’t just learn one or two things. It was more or less everything. There was the footwork and how to plant your feet when you’re throwing shots. It was all different things but they all go into making the full picture. You learn everything and take in everything that’s going on and what they do in the actual ring to make them successful.
Fighting behind closed doors will bring a different dynamic to the sport. Boxers won’t have the comfort of a dressing room packed with supportive gym mates. There will be no ego-boosting ring walk and the attention generated by the traditional fight week events and an endless stream of video interviewers will have to wait until crowds are once again allowed to gather. The whole bare bones situation might provide a few fighters with a stark reminder of the brutal reality of the sport.
“It’s business as usual for me. I’m not really bothered. I fought in the amateurs and there were no press conferences of anything,” Adeleye said. “I used to weigh in on the day of the fight and I was a super heavyweight so I’d have to fight last. The only people who were left were my family. I’m not really fussed at all. It’s nothing new for me.
“Some people thrive from the energy and gain motivation from the people who are surrounding them. It might affect a lot of people. For people like myself, I don’t really see it affecting us.
“This really is as big as it gets [in terms of the television audience]. I’ve got to take all of that in my stride. There might not be a lot of people there but I’ll have my family members at home watching me. It’s going to be good.”
The heavyweight division is a law unto itself. Qualities which are absolutely crucial for success in other weight classes sometimes get overlooked as fighters who carry an undefinable ‘X-Factor’ or fight ending power find themselves catapulted to stardom almost overnight. It is extremely easy for a young heavyweight to get carried away with a series of spectacular one-sided victories so it is always interesting to ask them what they feel are the key attributes a heavyweight needs to succeed.
“I think it’s your chin and a jab. A lot of heavyweights these days have the size but that’s not really it,” said Adeleye whose head has yet to be turned by the attention he is receiving. “A lot of people come into this thinking, ‘I’m bigger than everybody, I’m gonna start boxing’ but if you don’t know how to use boxing ability you’re as good as useless. You need a good jab and you have to be able to take a dig as well as give one. Those are the two main attributes you need I would say.”
What’s that old saying? Sometimes you’re the hammer and sometimes you’re the nail.
“Exactly,” Adeleye said. “And which one are you?”