PZ: Congrats on your first win as a pro against Danny Brown. How are you feeling physically and mentally for your second bout on the 5th July?
TB: I’ve managed to get most of my nerves out of the way in my first fight, as it was my first pro bout, which has helped my relax more for my next fight. I feel good. Relaxed, but still sharp.
PZ: You don’t know who you are fighting on the 5th July and the date is just round the corner. How does this make you feel?
TB: It’s no problem. I only get nervous on the day, but as a fighter you need to get nervous to give you that extra push.
PZ: You had a very successful amateur career, winning seven national titles and very narrowly missed out on an ABA championship. With the Olympics round the corner, do you have any regrets with turning pro?
TB: I don’t have any regrets whatsoever. I realised that the only way for me to get to the Olympics was to win an ABA, and I was a bit unlucky in the ABA finals a couple of years ago. Looking back, I know that I had beaten fighters such as Callum Smith whilst I was an amateur, so I have no reason at all to think I was not good enough to be an Olympian. After the loss by two points at the ABA final, I knew it was time to move on to the pros.
PZ: Any boxing idols you model your style on?
TB: Floyd Mayweather is a massive idol for me. He’s unbeaten and I don’t think he can get beaten. If he was to fight Pacquiao he would win every time. He has such a complete style and can change through the fight.
PZ: Anybody else box in your family?
TB: I’m one of six boys. We’ve all boxed, but there’s only two of us left still training. Me and my little 13 year old brother, who boxes at Repton. My other brothers packed it in when they got to the age of about 16-17. That’s the age where it becomes hard to make the decision to continue as your body develops from being a boy into a man, and although you becoming stronger, so do your opponents punches.
PZ: Tell us a little bit about yourself outside of boxing….
TB: I’m a roofer by trade. Most of my spare time is spent down the boxing gym. I give the sport my 100% dedication. I’m going to succeed.
PZ: Random question – rumour has it after your last fight you ate a whole chicken. True or false?
TB: False – I ate a whole chicken before the fight! (PZ laughs!).
PZ: For the records – was it cooked or still clucking?
TB: (Tom Laughs) It was cooked!
PZ: Toughest person to spar with in the TKO gym?
TB: Billy Joe Saunders. He’s one of the best people I’ve ever sparred with, and possibly the best I will share a ring with for a while. I learn a lot from him, which is great for me.
PZ: There’s some great middleweights in the TKO gym at the moment. Billy Joe Saunders, Frank Buglioni etc…. How do you guys get on? Do you help each other out, or train together?
TB: As part of Team Tibbs we never take any liberties with each other and also realise this is a dangerous sport and not a game. Me personally, I’m learning a great deal being around these guys and sharing the gym with them is a big inspiration.
PZ: Team Tibbs. What are Mark and Jimmy doing to develop you as a pro and leave any amateur traits behind?
TB: Mark has got my head moving a lot more, whereas I used to move in one straight line. He also has me taking my time over my shots, placing my feet for the power shots as opposed to the amateur game where I was bouncing around a fair bit more. In the six to seven months I’ve been training with Team Tibbs, they have changed me as a fighter and taught me more than I’d ever learnt in the amateurs. I feel like I’m a totally different boxer now than a year ago.
PZ: How good are Team Tibbs?
TB: I think they are the best in Britain. I can’t even think of close seconds. Jimmy has been in the boxing game for years. Just sharing a room with him gives you confidence. I’ve been training with Mark (Tibbs) for about seven months now, and he’s changed my incredibly. He says I still have a lot more to learn, but also says I have so much more to give, which is inspirational.
PZ: Tell us your ambition over the next 12 months?
TB: I’m only 20, so whenever and whatever Mark tells to aim for I will trust his judgement. I’d like to ideally have a title fight within 12 months. Perhaps a Southern Area title, but again, I will be led by Mark as he knows what’s best and makes great decisions for all his fighters.