Ahead of fight week, I got the chance to interview an up and coming boxer from Wallsend, Newcastle, Anthony Ornsby. A young man with big dreams and a strong work ethic.
Ornsby is fighting at the Eagle Arena in his hometown on the MTK card, February 29th and he is determined to put on a good showing for his friends and family in his fourth fight, he was victorious in all of his first three fights.
Anthony is very much a family man and talks of his family, friends and the team that he has supported him with a lot of warmth. He got into boxing after becoming body conscious and wanted to get fit and lose weight, What started for him as a healthy way to lose weight quickly turned into so much more, he caught the boxing bug, as many do and decided that boxing was the life he wanted to make for himself.
"I got into it to get fit and lose weight, I was a little fat kid from Wallsend, I wasn't getting picked on but was becoming conscious and thought it was bound to happen, my brother and sister were going to the gym and I just got the ache for it, school really wasn't that big of a deal to me and I just wanted to be in the gym, It felt no good to me and I just thought what am I doing here," said Ornsby.
The young Wallsend fighter speaks very highly of his hometown and the trust that a lot of people have placed in him as he represents them, during our chat he explained to me just how many people have come forward to sponsor his career from around his neighborhood and it really is staggering just how much support he has.
"I have a lot of people supporting me and putting their trust in me and believing in me a lot so I think that is my biggest achievement so far, there are a lot of good things I have done, there are a lot of good things in my life, having that support and the team that I've got right now, they are just family,"
So far the career of Ornsby has been guided along the way by the former world champion, Glenn McCrory and learned a lot from him.
"He's not full time but with me, because obviously, he has his own things but whenever he's in the gym with me I train with him and he's great to be around. I'm also hoping to get my amateur coaching badges, I'm training a bit here, there and everywhere but that's good and I'm learning a lot and picking up different styles from people too,"
Ornsby is very proud of his achievements so far and is really happy to be given the chance to shine under the MTK banner. Ornsby likes to fight as a defensive counter-puncher but is also at home in a rough tear up,
"I am still raw in terms of experience at 21 years old, I like to defensive counter, I like my defensive counter shots but when I fight I get rough, the last fight I showed a much better boxing display but my fist two I just seemed to get rough and scrappy, the excitement took over definitely, it's scary but it comes with maturity and I'm just a boy in terms of boxing right now, it will come, hopefully,"
Ornsby went to great lengths to explain to me just how important a role boxing plays in his life, the dedication to training and future that he wants to build for himself,
“boxing just takes over, it’s an addiction for me, I want to fight as often as I can and I want to fight at least six times this year. I’m at the start of my career and I don’t want to rush things but I want the experience, and to get good rounds in with quality opponents and see where I end up. In the next year or so I want a Northern Area belt but we will see what the year brings,”
Ornsby started his professional career at super welterweight but as his training has increased he has shed weight and his next fight will be at light-welterweight.
"This next fight is at ten stone, my first fight was at 10St 9lbs, super-welterweight but this one will be at light-welterweight so let's see how low I can get,"
As his conditioning has improved he has shed weight quickly and is comfortably making light-welterweight and will continue to see his weight decrease. During his amateur career, he fought at 75kg, fighting much larger opponents.
"I was a chunky kid, I had 'Team Fatboy' on my shorts all my amateur career, I'm looking at fighting now at light-welterweight, its a 'saucy' division and so many good fighters in it for me,"
Ornsby went on to tell me about his admiration for Tommy Hearns, a man he sees as inspirational, a no-nonsense approach, coupled with a will to win and a fighter that really could give other fighters a beating,
"If I could have fought anyone from any era it would have been him, I wouldn't have minded taking an ass-whooping from him, he was a beast,".
During our call, it became increasingly clear to me just what a thoughtful and caring young man Anthony is, as I asked him about what he wanted to be remembered for during his career he explained;
"I want to try to be a good person, more than anything, try to be just someone that always helped other people, someone, that wasn’t arrogant, that would do anything to help anyone and just be a nice kid and I'm all good with everybody, that's how I want people to remember me,"
His immense ambition came across during the interview in a big way, quietly self-confident and a huge will to succeed but also a very grounded fighter with huge respect for boxing. I know from personal experience that they “look after their own” in God’s Country and Ornsby is very much of the same ilk.
His indebtedness to his sponsors was very apparent and he fully appreciated that without them he would not be a professional boxer.
“They have helped me so much, honestly if it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t be in boxing today, everybody is so good to me and have been from the start of my career, they are all local as well so it means a lot to have people from Wallsend and the Newcastle area be behind me, I am blessed,"