PZ: How did you get into boxing?
EO: I used to be a bit of a bad bay and was involved with street fights. Then when I was about 14 years old and living in Tottenham, a friend of mine who had boxed when he was younger took me on the pads and I really enjoyed it. We started doing the pads more regularly at weekends and then at every opportunity and place. I was hooked.
Haringey Boxing Gym was about five minutes walk away and I started training there. The coach in charge there, Chris, said I had talent, but I never took him seriously. There was a defining moment though soon after when I was at church and the sermon on that day was about those in attendance using their talent and ability to help themselves. So whilst sitting in church I asked myself ‘What talent and ability do I have?’. It came to me like a light and the words of the coach suddenly came back to me. So I went back to the gym the day after and started training hard and was really enjoying the sport. Everything from hitting the bag through to sparring and fitness training.
After I had been training for one long good year I had my first amateur fight. I was 16, won it and never looked back.
PZ: Tell us about your amateur career.
EO: I had 70 seventy fights and won 55. Of course there were some day light robberies in some of those losses! I went to Sweden and took part in their championships. I won that competition four times, including three times consecutively. I won the ABA’s twice and reached the London finals twice. I had 22 KO’s. Although my professional record doesn’t show it, I can punch!
PZ: You will be looking to defend your English title on the 8th December. Has your opponent been confirmed yet?
EO: Terry Currethers.
PZ: How’s the training camp been going?
EO: It’s been going great. I’ve been doing some good sparring with Lee Purdy in preparation for this one.
PZ: Tell us a bit more about the team around you.
EO: Brian Lawrence, who’s a very experienced coach and constantly develops me. Ian Nappa is also in my corner. I learnt a lot from Ian and if I have to be honest, the first time I saw him at the amateur boxing gym I liked his style so much, I wanted to base my style to be like his. I also have James Cook MBE in my corner.
PZ: You are currently rated 6th in the UK. Where do you see yourself in 12 months time?
EO: Winning the British and Commonwealth titles and heading towards the European.
PZ: What’s it like to be a part of Matchroom?
EO: It’s awesome. They are the best people to do business with. They are straight forward, kind and most importantly get things done with honesty.
PZ: In your opinion, who’s the best light middleweight in the world at present?
EO: Erick The eagle Ochieng! (Both PZ and Erick laugh at the same time!)
Being serious now I would have to say Saul Alvarez. He has power, speed, and all the moves. The kid is good.
PZ: Freddie Flintoff has his debut fight this week. What’s your thoughts on Freddie turning his hand to boxing?
EO: Give him a chance. Never write off anybody. He will bring a big following into the sport, so I wish him luck.
PZ: Who gave you the nickname ‘The Eagle’?
EO: One of my friends said think about Eagle. I said to him, ‘let me do some research’. When I looked it up, the definition of Eric was ‘eternal ruler’ and the eagle rules in the kingdom of the birds. So I thought that I ‘Erick The Eagle Ochieng’ have come to rule in my division at light middleweight!
PZ: If you could spar three rounds with any past boxing legend, who would it be?
EO: Sugar Ray Robinson.
PZ: A big thank you for your time Erick.
EO: It’s been a real pleasure.