Essex light-welter Charlie Driscoll gatecrashes the pro ranks tomorrow evening safe in the knowledge that he has already scalped domestic leader Jack Catterall in the amateur code, writes Glynn Evans.
Eldest son of top grade ex pro Mickey Driscoll, the 22 year old south London native, now based in South Ockendon, was a five time national junior titlist and regular England representative, prior to penning a pro deal with promoter Frank Warren in January.
Tomorrow evening at the York Hall, Bethnal Green, the stylish, all-action box fighter kickstarts a pro career that he hopes will be similarly decorated.
How did you first become interested in boxing?
My Dad Michael won three or four national titles and boxed for England as an amateur but gave up a promising pro career (just four losses in 23) to start a family. He never pushed me into it and as a kid I was playing football for Tottenham and Millwall schoolboys.
When I was 11, I had a cousin who was repeatedly getting kicked out of schools. My dad suggested boxing at the West Ham Boys Club to calm him down but the cousin refused to go alone so I tagged along. I loved it so ditched the football, no regrets. The cousin gave up after three sessions!
What did you achieve in the amateur code?
I had my first amateur fight, aged 12, just three months after entering the gym. (Coach) Mickey May had a massive influence on me; one of a kind! I won the first of my three national schoolboys titles within seven months. That was probably the highlight of my boxing life. I was crying afterwards, really emotional.
I also won two Junior ABA titles and got to the finals of the CYPs. I won and lost against (top pro prospect) Jack Catterall, a strong southpaw and a lovely fella. One time I boxed him and won, one time I fought him and lost. Back then, Jack was efficient but basic, nothing like the puncher he is now. Perhaps we can meet again for a lot of money a few years down the line.
As a senior I went in the senior ABAs three times. In 2015, I finally won the London title representing the Lynn club, after losing twice losing in the final. Eventually I lost to Alfie Price, my good friend from West Ham, in the English quarters.
I never really got involved with the Team GB set up but, from the age of 15, I boxed for England seven or eight times. All told, I won 52 of my 61 bouts but lost faith in the amateurs when I wasn’t notified that a national training camp had been cancelled.
What role has your father played in your career?
For the first two or three years, Dad just watched as a parent but Mickey May asked him to help out and he became involved in our careers. My younger brothers Sid (17) and Vinnie (14) have both won national schoolboy titles. Dad had a strong pro and amateur background and could always relate to me, knew when to mess about and when to be serious. Like Mickey May, he’d get you to walk through walls. Today, Dad’s head coach with the England schools set up.
As a pro you’ll be coached by ex amateur trainer Sam Mullins. What does he add?
I moved to the Lynn ABC in Camberwell when I was 20 because I had work commitments in south London and Sam’s trained me ever since. He tells you straight, doesn’t let any mistakes go unchecked and he never overcomplicates things. He’s good technically, very focussed and a great motivator, never frightened to give you a rocket up your arse!
How do you pass your time away from boxing?
I work for a plumber’s merchants who kindly sponsor me. Away from the gym, I enjoy family time, watching my younger brothers play football. I was brought up supporting Millwall but these days prefer to watch good football on the tele!
On Thursday, you finally make your pro debut over four rounds against 28 year old Newark hard case Fonz Alexander (stopped just three times in 36 pro fights). Why should York Hall fans keep an eye out for Charlie Driscoll?
I intend to bring something different. My style is fast paced and exciting. Fans will see an adaptable fighter. I can vary to whatever is in front of me. I’m a tall, upright boxer but I cut the ring down with high hands if I need to. I intend to go over whoever is in front of me.
Professional boxing is a new ladder to climb. Ideally, I’d like to fight five times this year and just let the Ws add up. Titles will then progress naturally.