by Eliot Stott
Manager, Trainer, full-time Coach at BXR London, Pundit, former fighter & former MC (believe it or not) London born Gary Logan has a lot to say and quite rightly.
‘I have to keep active, I’ll go nuts otherwise’ Logan declares after we exchange pleasantries. Still keeping clients and himself active during lockdown via online methods, the former boxing champion is clearly still full of energy which may explain the diversity & quantity of his life.
We started the interview by discussing Gary’s previous opponents during his professional career which consisted of 42 fights. Having watched Gary appear on TV with former opponents Jamie Moore & Spencer Fearon, I was interested to know what it’s like transitioning from having a fight with somebody to being in a much more relaxed environment years later.
‘One of the great things about fighting is the respect that it brings out in people. Going into the Spencer Fearon fight, I had known Spencer for a long time as well as the likes of Danny Williams & Wayne Alexander so there was respect prior to the fight.’
‘Along with Spencer, I don’t think that Jamie (Moore) is the sort of person who holds grudges if I’m honest so that partly explains why we get on so well now. Jamie, Spencer & I are all very positive people and have a few things in common so it’s all love now.’
‘The only fight that I can think of where there hasn’t been an embrace was when I fought Ojay Abraham for the second time which was the third fight into my comeback. He said something to me that was pretty rude at the weigh-in which fired me up (the fight ended in a fourth-round stoppage in favour of Logan) and it took quite a few years for us to start talking again.’
As mentioned, the second Abraham fight was a fight that was in the early stages of a comeback which lasted a total of nine fights. As comebacks go in boxing, Gary had rather a long layoff period of exactly five years, making his return at the age of 32.
‘I was fairly popular but I wasn’t a massive ticket seller. Fighters have people who are there to help them shift tickets whereas I realised that you needed that kind of support a bit too late and wasn’t given much guidance early on in my career.’
‘Despite this, I fought for the British Welterweight Title in a fight that I was a slight favourite to win but couldn’t see it through unfortunately and was stopped late on. My Promoter at the time Frank Maloney told me that the only big fight that he could get me was a shot at the British Super-Welterweight Title against Ensley Bingham. Seeing as it was the only decent option I took it.’
‘Bizarrely, straight after the fight was announced I was told by the board that I had to fight somebody that was already ranked in the division. I ended up fighting a guy called Paul Wesley who incidentally had recently lost by ½ a point to Rob McCracken for the British Title actually – and this was 1 month before I was fighting Bingham! Anyway, I got through it and was in an exciting fight against Ensley but unfortunately, things didn’t go my way.’
‘Frank basically then fucked me off and told me that he didn’t have any fights for me which wasn’t great. At the time I had a kid on the way so started to look at other avenues.’
Having not been aware of what Gary did during his first retirement period, I naively assumed a standard response of ‘getting a 9-5 job’ or having some family time due to the impending child that Gary had mentioned.
However, I assumed wrong and was given an answer which I found unimaginable, to say the least, and which many fight fans of a certain generation may have forgotten about:
‘I got back into boxing but in a strange way. As well as helping to coach some fighters, I came back as a Master of Ceremonies. For whatever reason, I was approached by somebody at Sky regarding a trial which obviously went well, got my licence from the board and that was it really. Believe it or not I actually MC’d a couple of Jamie Moore’s fights so it’s strange how things work out.’
‘After some time had passed I had started to think about coming back and was doing a bit of training with Adam Booth at his gym in Soho. I’ll never forget it actually, on the day of my 33rd birthday, Adam told me that if I was ever going to come back, I couldn’t wait any longer and that I could join his gym as a coach as a way to make some money’.
Trying his hand at matchmaking during his time off as well, Gary was able to explain why the transition from being in a fighting to a non-fighting role was easy to achieve without gathering too much attention.
‘I think what helped is that I wasn’t in any sort of shape to fight so a lot of people must not have recognised me! I’d gone from fighting at middleweight to being the weight of a cruiserweight which tells you about the sort of shape that I was in. I was getting more questions asking about when I was planning to lose some weight rather than return to the ring.’
Moving onto current events, Gary currently coaches two fighters: Deion Jumah (English Cruiserweight Champion) & Dean Richardson (Southern Area Super-Welterweight Champion). Having been present for Jumah winning the English Title & Richardson successfully making his first defence, I was keen to ask Gary about what it’s like having him as a trainer and where he manages to fit it into his life.
‘If I get involved, my expectations of a fighter are for him to believe in me and we’re going to fight for major titles. The two fighters that I’ve got now, my absolute minimum expectation is the English Title. I’ve been around great coaches all my life so I like to think that I’m able to manage different personalities as well as different fighters well.’
‘Deano’s got a bit of hooliganism about him which is nice he just needs to be moulded slightly – but it’s nice when somebody is naturally violent in the ring. We’re currently working on him being a smarter boxer rather than too reckless and I’m sure we’ll get there.’
‘Deion, on the other hand, is as close to the finished package as you’re going to get in this country within the cruiserweight division. Technically he’s better than Okolie & Riakporhe – he just needs to prove it. To be fair Riakporhe has done very well with the opportunities that have been given to him.’
‘Okolie, on the other hand, is a very poor mans, Carlos Monzon. If you were to watch Monzon you’d see that he always find a way to win somehow and I believe that Okolie is a poor version of that. If Okolie doesn’t knock you out he’s not going to look good, it’s been proven that he gets uncomfortable when people fight him on the inside.’
Clearly holding a personal connection with both of his fighters, Gary rounded off the interview by going into a bit more detail on the recent history and the future of Deion & Dean.
‘This time next year I expect Deion to be British, Commonwealth & possibly European champion. He’s mandatory for the British and I believe that a unification fight against Chris Billam-Smith could be made quite easily.’
‘We got the win against Wadi Camacho but if I’m honest that wasn’t his best performance. However, against Sam Hyde in Manchester was a real test and Deion went out there and did it. He nullified what Sam had & produced what he’s capable of.’
‘Deano meanwhile can box a lot better than he did in his last fight. He’s not actually had a huge amount of rounds under me which is a bit of a shame but I’m sure they’ll come in the future. He hurt his opponent early in his last fight and rather than box and create openings, he wanted to go straight for the knockout and therefore was being caught with more shots than he should have.’
‘Not all punches have to be big punches but I know that Deano knows that and he’s definitely on the right road.’
Gary Also Works As A Trainer At BXR London - www.bxrlondon.com/index.html
Follow Gary on Twitter Here - twitter.com/garylogan68?lang=en