By Shaun Brown
It’s almost as arrogant as an Adrien Broner ring entrance when one says that a fighter has the world at his feet. Especially when the man in question will only be having his sixth professional contest this Saturday night.
Anthony Ogogo 5-0 (2 KOs) may, however, fall under that category. Parts of the puzzle shape the evidence. The 25-year-old middleweight prospect is an Olympic medallist, is backed by Golden Boy Promotions, and has charisma and good looks as well as a bag of talent in his locker. Potentially it is all there for the man who has went from Lowestoft to Las Vegas. The acid test hasn’t crossed his path yet, nor will it for a while, and the hyperbole has been kept under control.
Audley Harrison, James DeGale, Amir Khan are three Brits that have been draped in gold and silver between them as an amateur. Success never guaranteed, at times not grasped, but doors certainly opened quicker. At the end of the day only your abilities in the ring separate you from the best.
Ogogo, who gained a bronze at the London 2012 Olympic Games, is ready to show the world just how good he is beginning this Saturday with his sixth contest against Jonel Tapia 8-4-1 (5 KOs) on the Floyd Mayweather Jr. Vs Marcos Maidana undercard at the MGM Grand. An important 12 months awaits and momentum is vital.
“I’m not in a rush but I want to get going and become a world champion as soon as possible,” Ogogo told BoxingScene from Las Vegas on Wednesday. “I’d give it a seven so far,” he said when rating out of ten the early start to his professional career.
“I was frustrated last year, I didn’t have a fight for five months because of an injury. After my first fight, which was probably my best performance, I really felt at home in the professional ring. After that I got injured and I was out the ring for five months. If anything I felt as though I stagnated and went back to my old amateur habits because I couldn’t train.
“I’d been out the ring a long time and when I got back in I was doing things that came natural to me. That was frustrating. If that hadn’t happened I’d have scored it a nine or ten. I just want to get back to where I was but being a pro athlete injuries are part of it and you have to take the rough with the smooth. I’m just looking forward to getting back in the ring and getting some consistency and fighting as often as I can this year.”
Ogogo may have promotional backing Stateside, but he is prepared to fight on more homely shores having done so four out of his five starts. Commonwealth and British titles are on his agenda over the next 12 months yet Ogogo knows the depth of talent that lies beneath at 160lbs in Britain.
He said: “The standard of the middleweight division at the minute is the strongest in the country without a shadow of doubt. A great pool of talent and a great pool of young talent as well. [Matthew] Macklin, [Darren] Barker just retired and [Martin] Murray are on the world title level and they’re at the peak of their careers at the moment.
“There’s a crop of guys just below them in their early part of their careers, early to mid-twenties which is great for the sport because in the next 18 months to two years I think there can be some great fights between us all.”
Enjoying the glitz and glamour of a Las Vegas fight week has its perks as Ogogo has already found out. A side that he is thoroughly enjoying.
“If you were here in Vegas yesterday [Tuesday] you would’ve seen why,” he said. “There was a grand arrival for us. That just showed exactly why I joined Golden Boy rather than a domestic promoter. It was just really special—it was really something else. I’m in the MGM Grand this week and they whisked me out the back door put me in a limousine drove me 10 yards to the front of the hotel and I got out and walked the red carpet.
“That’s a massive big deal and that’s what Golden Boy can provide. That was only the first day it’s going to get more manic. It’s a big deal over here and that’s why I joined them. Just something a bit different. It’s big, it’s exciting and hopefully as I progress it’s going to get much bigger and more exciting.”
Red carpet, countless interviews, and the flash of the cameras… it’s not entirely new for Ogogo. British TV viewers have already seen him in the reality diving show ‘Splash’ as well as ‘Big Brother: Celebrtiy Hijack’ as well as a commercial for fast food outlet ‘Subway’. The Brit freely admits that he enjoys that side of the game and hopes to do more as long as it doesn’t interfere with his boxing.
“I’d never do anything that would detract from my boxing because it’s so important to me but when I get time off if I’ve got the opportunity to film an advert or have a few beers with my mates I choose the advert one because that’s the kind of person I am. ‘Splash’ was very important to me. It opened myself to the sporting general public and I wanted to do something before I turned pro to open myself up to a whole new demographic.
“The opportunity of Splash came along and I thought it was a great opportunity. Primetime on ITV on a Saturday night and I knew I was going to turn pro so I thought I could showcase myself and get my name out to people.
“I want to get to the stage where I’m the next Amir Khan, the next Ricky Hatton when not just boxing fans know who you are but your Mum knows, your Nan knows , your cousin know that’s the kinda guy I want to be. That’s quite important for me, but also I enjoy doing that side of things. Boxing’s the graft, the hard work and I work harder than anybody I know, but rewards come from the showbizzy side of things as well as boxing.”
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