Daily Sport speaks exclusively to Simon Vallily on turning pro

EXCLUSIVE: DAILY SPORT catches up with Heavyweight 2010 Commonwealth Gold medal, now turned pro boxer, and training under Mark Tibbs

PZ:        How did you get into boxing?

 

SV:        I was originally into football, but I got into boxing because my older brother was into boxing.

 

PZ:        Tell us more about your amateur career.

 

SV:        It was a bit stop start. I went to jail, but after that I won the ABA’s and then got into the GB Squad and won the championships and then soon after won the Commonwealth Gold medal.

 

PZ:       Toughest amateur fight?

 

SV:        It was against one of the Cubans. Tough, tough fight.

 

PZ:       You had your brushes with the law in the past, but it seems that you have really got yourself back on track. Has boxing as a discipline help you focus your life?

  

SV:         Definitely. Boxing has kept me on the straight and narrow and given me something to aim for.

 

PZ:       Would you recommend that boxing be more widely introduced into society as a discipline to give people focus and possibly even back into schools?

  

SV:        Absolutely. There are many kids who need discipline at a young age and boxing is great tool for that. Especially in the estates where many of the kids have nothing to do, boxing could guide them in the right direction.

 

PZ:       After winning the ABA’s in 2009 and the Gold in 2010 at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi, everybody, including myself were assuming you would be a natural choice for the 2012 Olympics.  Was not being chosen a factor for turning pro, or was this something you had been thinking about for a while?

 

SV:        I’d been thinking about turning pro for a while. 2012 Olympics were not a deciding factor.

 

PZ:       Team GB did very well at the Olympics. Was there anybody that really stood out for you?

 

 SV:         Anthony Joshua did really well and Luke Campbell did really well. In fact I fancied Luke to get the gold before the Olympics started.

 

PZ:       I believe Frank Warren is taking care of promotions and you have an excellent trainer by way of Mark Tibbs. How is Mark adjusting your game from amateur to pro?

  

SV:        Mark is a fantastic coach. I’m picking up pretty quickly from his great training methods and he has great ethics. He’s been showing me how to slow down, place my feet more and land my power punches. It’s exciting because he’s improving me all the time, and I’m looking forward to how good he will continue to make me.

 

Mark has been getting me to chip away more and hit more with the body shots before landing the big right hand.

 

PZ:       What’s it like training with Mark and being around the team at the TKO gym?

  

SV:         It’s brilliant. Love it there as the atmosphere is always great and there is a good vibe.

 

PZ:       Who have you been sparring with since turning pro?

  

SV:        I haven’t been sparring as yet. I start my sparring next week.

 

PZ:      Please do offer your first sparring partner my sympathises!

 

SM:     (Simon Laughs!)

 

PZ:       Any dates for your first fight?

  

SV:      Hoping for November…. Just waiting for the official date. Can’t wait to show the public how good I am.

 

PZ:       Will you fight at Cruiser or Heavy?

  

SV:        Cruiser. That’s the weight I’m strong at.

 

PZ:       Time-wise, when would you like to be winning titles?

 

SV:        I will leave that down to Mark in terms of how quickly he wants to move me along.

 

PZ:        Mark and Jimmy Tibbs both say you hit very hard. Describe your strengths as a boxer.

 

SV:        I’m a big puncher who can box.

 

PZ:       Random question – who wins between Mayweather and Pacqiuao?

  

SV:        Mayweather all the way.

 

PZ:       Tell the readers one thing about yourself that not many people know.

  

SV:        I have a beautiful girlfriend called Whitney and a beautiful son called Ruben.

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