By Altaf Mubarik
People who are not involved in the sport often overlook the important role of a ‘journeyman’ in professional boxing. They provide valuable experience to young prospects and give them an insight into professional boxing without throwing them in at the deep end straight away.
If there were no journeymen, numerous young prospects would struggle to get a fight early on in their career and some of them would end up hanging up their gloves due to lack of opportunity. In many ways these journeymen help educate young boxers and are sometimes at the wrong end of controversial decisions. It is not easy being a ‘journeyman’ boxer because they are usually on the road fighting in their opponent’s hometown for minimal pay.
Recently we have had numerous journalists ridiculing Robin Deakin’s professional boxing record of 1-51. There have been articles published by the Daily Mirror’s Louie Smith and Chris Pleasance of The Daily Mail. However, the most damning article was written by Rod Liddle of The Sun who referred to Robin as the “world’s worst boxer”. Therefore, I thought I would give Robin the opportunity to respond to some of the comments made about him.
AM: Rod Liddle referred to you as the world’s worst boxer, what is your response to that?
RD: “If he thinks I’m that bad then tell him to step in the ring with me and we will see how long he lasts. I don’t know the bloke and I’ve never heard of him in my life. If he knew anything about boxing then I would have heard of him. He’s disrespecting people he knows nothing about. He sounds like a cyber bully to me.”
AM: Rod Liddle made the assumption that your first opponent Shaun Walton is “entirely limbless & blind” because you defeated him. What is your view on this?
RD: “By making that remark he is actually insulting people who don’t have limbs and those who are blind. He is a bully and very disrespectful to disabled people.”
AM: What inspired you to take up boxing and why have you continued despite your losing record?
RD: “Records are for DJs. In a boxing bout, you either win or lose. However, everyone who enters a boxing ring is a winner. It shows true guts to enter a boxing ring. Boxing is a big part of my life—it’s not about the money. I love boxing and I enjoy entertaining my fans.”
AM: Do you think some journalists with limited boxing knowledge do not understand the role of a journeyman in professional boxing?
RD: “Yes, they comment about something they know nothing about. They shouldn’t really comment on something they have no knowledge on. I just defended and blocked during my fights then it would be boring for the fans. I like to entertain my fans and put on an exciting fight. I give them what they want to see, an action packed fight.”
AM: You had a decent amateur record, including reaching the semi-final of the British Youth Championships, what was your amateur record?
RD: “I had 42 wins in around 72 or 76 fights. I boxed against ABA champions, finalists and semi-finalists. I fought the likes of Gary Sykes and Jack Bowen. I also had wins over the likes of Todd Mills and Richard Smart.”
AM: What do you think you would be doing if you were not boxing?
RD: “I would probably be in prison to be honest because I love having a fight. Boxing has taught me discipline and respect. I would have fought on the streets if I was not boxing. I can punch and have dropped some good fighters. Therefore I would not like to be at the receiving end of one of my punches on the street without gloves. Boxing has very much saved me throughout my career.”
AM: London-based boxing trainer Ben Doughty has been defending you via social media and referred to the fact that you have a disability. Can you please elaborate on that?
RD: “I was born with Talipes (club foot) and also had serious problems with my hips. The doctors said I would never walk. However, I started walking at the age of 6. It was very much a miracle that I managed to walk let alone become a professional boxer—I am proud of my achievements.”
AM: Finally, do you have a message for the journalists who have criticised you and for your loyal fans?
RD: “I would like to say the following to the journalists: if you think I’m that bad then instead of slating me can you please ring me and get my story rather than making assumptions based on what they read on paper. They have no idea what I’ve been through in my life, so they should talk to me to get the real story. I am a miracle baby, when I get my confidence back I will not continue losing. In regards to my fans, I have a lot of respect for everyone who has stuck up for me and supported me during this time. I cannot be thankful enough. Their love and support is keeping me above water. I’m blessed.”