ONES TO WATCH: LINUS UDOFIA "ONE FIGHT AT A TIME"

Updated: Aug 7, 2019



Hey Linus, thanks for taking a bit of time out to speak to me, I wanted to ask you how you got into Boxing, I can see that you used to play a bit of Football as well, what made you choose Boxing?

To be honest, Boxing being an individual sport played a key part in making that decision. After getting fed up with being on the losing team depending on somebody else’s individual mistakes, I decided to focus more on Boxing.

I also had a few friends who were Boxing at the time who encouraged me to take the sport more seriously.

And was it around 17/18 that you started Boxing?

Yeah just before my 18th birthday.

And you’re 24 now? That’s pretty impressive considering how long it takes some people to progress and turn professional. Staying back for the time being, can you tell us a bit more about your amateur career? How successful would you consider it to be?

I’d say relatively successful considering how late I started Boxing. I managed to go 19 fights undefeated before suffering my first loss and then didn’t lose for another good while.

Unlike others, I didn’t win the ABA’s or the Box Cup or anything like that which is a shame considering how well I could have done in them. There was a chance at one point of making the GB developmental squad but I don’t think they really liked my style.

After 40 odd fights, I got a bit bored of being an amateur and felt that I had done my time so wanted to look forward and turn professional.

Also, to be honest with you as much of a learning curve as the amateur game is, it’s not for everybody and for somebody such as myself, I believe that being a professional rather than an amateur suits me a lot more as a fighter.

And how did the opportunity of turning professional actually come about?

When I was entering tournaments such as the ABA’s, I’d visited the club KO gym where a friend of mine (Kay Prospere) was training.

Kay’s coach at the time Terry Stewart took a liking to me and said that he’d take me on as a professional if I wanted to.

Things progressed from there really and here I am today.

Moving onto more current events, you’ve already had 2 fights in 2018. Is there a plan this year in terms of the amount of fights that you want or are you in the cycle of taking every day as it comes?

I’ve always taken every day as it comes but I’d agree that a big goal is to stay active this year.

I’m still quite young in the pro game at 24 so I don’t feel the need to rush but on the other hand, inactivity isn’t good for fighters so staying active is definitely key for me at this stage of my career.

I think that’s all very fair. We’re still quite early in 2018, looking back to 2017 how happy were you with your year now that you’ve had a bit of time to look back and assess?

Yeah I felt that it was a really good year to be honest. I would have liked to have fought a bit more but was unable to due to a couple of injuries.

Looking back it was a great learning year for me and I feel a lot more experience now than I did 12 months ago.

Great stuff, I noticed another interview that you did discussing the Tey Lynn Jones/Matthew Legg fight. Since that interview, the fights happened with Jones winning. We know that’s a fight that you’re interested in, what can you tell us about Jones, if anything?

Yeah I know quite a lot about him to be fair. I got to know him quite a bit when we were both amateurs and I’ve followed his career since he’s became a professional.

He’s done very well so far in his career and congrats to him for becoming Southern Area Champ.

However, I’m only really focused on myself at the moment, building myself up one fight at a time. I’m on my own journey and have my own targets and want to be at a certain point soon, and it just so happens that Tey Lynn Jones is at that point at the moment.

From the footage that I’ve seen of you, you’re a decent puncher in my opinion. How much do you rate yourself as a puncher? And as you progress and have more fights, do you think your KO percentage will improve?

I’m probably not as much of a puncher as some of the other guys in my division but you can be a puncher in different ways in this sport. I rate myself as somebody who can deliver sharp and steady punches rather than someone who can knock somebody out with one punch.

That’s where I see myself at the moment but as I get a bit older, I do expect my power to improve and hopefully the amount of fights I win by KO is evident to that.

As somebody who’s career may be mostly at Middleweight, I’m sure you take an interest in the division. Have you got any thoughts on the upcoming all British clash between Billy Joe Saunders and Martin Murray?

I can only see Saunders winning on points to be completely honest with you. Probably won’t be a complete whitewash like some of Saunders’ other fights.

It could be an exciting fight as it’s a bit of a make and break fight for Murray who’s challenged for world honours a few times now so I think this fight will tell us whether he needs to perhaps drop down in class.

Assuming that Saunders does win, how much do you think that he could challenge Golovkin or Canelo?

I think that Saunders would do better against somebody with the style of Canelo rather than Golovkin.

Saunders could potentially out-box the hell out of Canelo whereas he may struggle with Golovkin’s footwork and power.

To be completely fair and honest though, that’s a really tough question to answer. I just hope we get to see Saunders go up against at least one of those guys.

Yeah fingers crossed. To finish off with, I wanted to congratulate you on your prediction for the Chris Eubank Jr Vs George Groves fight a few weeks ago. Most of the people I know were going with Eubank Jr so wanted to see what your thoughts were behind your prediction?

Yeah I don’t really understand why so many people were convinced that Eubank was going to do Groves in. I think that some people may be fooled by how good he looks on Instagram when in reality he’s stepped up once against Billy Joe Saunders and got clearly beaten.

In my opinion, he only went down the IBO route because he knew he’d then be in a position to secure big fights and call himself a ‘world champion’ which is very smart to be fair. However, the idea that he was going to beat George Groves who has fought against quite a few opponents of a high calibre is crazy.

Groves has also fought at that weight for a long time now whereas Eubank’s been at the weight for just over a year and has been quite selective with who he’s fought.

Yeah I feel like I’ve gone on a bit of a rant there but as I said, I’m really not sure why so many thought that Eubank was going to just blast through Groves.

Nothing wrong with a rant! Glad that your prediction came true. Final question, how much time do you spend reading about or watching Boxing in your spare time?

I’m always watching Boxing but I enjoy it differently to when I’m Boxing if that makes sense.

When I’m in camp I’ll sit down by myself and watch a mixture of old and new fights and take it seriously whereas if I’m not in camp I’ll still watch what’s going on with my friends, I’ll just be more relaxed about it.

Twitter @EliotStott1


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