John Evans speaks to Ryan Farrag
By John Evans
Ryan Farrag is ready for his turn. In recent months, the Liverpudlian bantamweight has kept his nose to the grindstone while his stable mates from the surging Everton Red Triangle gym have grabbed the spotlight. Kevin Satchell claimed the British and Commonwealth flyweight belts, James “Jazza” Dickens has attracted an increasing amount of attention as he nears title contention, Nathan Brough continues to improve and Steve Lewis has made a promising start to life in the professional game. The recent arrival of Tom Stalker — captain of the GB boxing team at the 2012 Olympic Games and star amateur — can only add to the sense of excitement surrounding the gym.
At 24-years-old and undoubtedly benefitting from being part of the successful set up, Farrag, 8-1, is perfectly poised to make 2013 the year he makes his own headlines. “It’s going well, we’re all learning from each other,” Farrag told Boxingscene recently.
“Everybody’s got different styles in the gym, so it’s good to spar with them and work their styles out. The likes of ‘Jazza’, well you’re not going to come across anybody like him. If you can catch him then you can catch anyone.
“We’ve been working on a lot in the gym. I’ve tried a couple of different styles, but I’m going to stick to being an aggressive counter puncher. I’ve been working a lot on my ringcraft and it’s really coming on well. I’ve been working on head movement and power, different things every day. I don’t think I’ll notice any improvement myself until my next fight.
“The Liverpool boxing scene’s at its best for years. It’s good to have a load of lads coming through and some competition and, especially at our gym, we’re all around the same weight so there’s lots of good sparring going on.”
To the uninitiated, Farrag’s 8-1 record probably seems pretty uninspiring. Look at the names on his slate and it quickly becomes clear that the numbers don’t tell the full story. His lone defeat came at the hands of former British and Commonwealth flyweight and Super flyweight champion Lee Haskins during a Super flyweight Prizefighter tournament and earlier that night he outlasted English bantamweight champion Craig Lyon in a three round war.
Considering he was a 4-0 novice when he clocked in for that tough nights work, it’s fair to say that Farrag won’t be shying away from any challenges as he attempts to reach title contention.
“I leave the worrying to them [his opponents],” he laughs. “I just concentrate on my own game and do what I do on the night. Paul and Mick [Stevenson, his coaches] do a lot of research on my opponents and come up with tactics for the night. I do what they tell me, work hard in the gym, do my running and hope it all pays off in the ring. Most of the time it does!”
“I couldn’t imagine anybody else in the corner [than Paul]. He does keep you calm and doesn’t overload you with information in the corner, he just gives basic instructions but they’re very effective.”
If titles were given out for enthusiasm alone, Farrag would already be a multiple champion. In the ring, he never stops moving forward, shrugging off whatever punches come his way in order to deliver his own. I was in Kevin Satchell’s dressing room following his British title victory over Chris Edwards in October. Farrag was due to fight later that night and visibly couldn’t wait to get going.
“Yeah, I’d just seen Kev win the British title and he’s the lad I’ve grown up with. It got my adrenaline going and I couldn’t wait to get in that night,” he said. “I’m just the same now. I can’t wait to get back in the ring. I haven’t got a date yet but my promoters working on getting me a good fight for, hopefully, March. The opponents are going to be stepped up this year. I think this is my year and my chance to put my stamp on the bantamweight division.”
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