DailySport catches up with light middleweight boxer Nav Mansouri ahead of his title fight

PZ:     How did you get into boxing?

 

NM:     I initially started for the fitness side of things, as I was weighing 15 stone at the age of 17. About four stone more than my fighting weight now. I had a mate who used to go to boxing and he kept asking me to come along, and then one day I took the bait and went with him. I loved the environment from the second I walked in and within no time I was shedding loads of weight and in general living a healthy lifestyle.

 

After my first spar I fell in love with the sport and the rest is history.

Nav Real Steel 2

PZ:     Tell me about your amateur career.

 

NM:     I had nine fights. Won five and lost four. The amateurs simply didn’t suit my boxing style, but that said, when I was fighting as an amateur, I really didn’t think I was going to become a professional one day. I was doing boxing for enjoyment primarily and didn’t think I would progress further.

 

PZ:     Any other family members who box?

 

NM:     An uncle. He took me up to the gym when I was a little kid and I remember getting hit in the nose, and my eyes started watering – so I hated the sport at that point!

 

PZ:     You boast a good record of only one loss in 15 fights and take on a strong opponent by way of Mathew Mallin who has only lost once in 11 fights, for the English title. What do you know about Mathew?

 

NM:     Mathew is a strong kid who will come forward on fight night. We’ve sparred before in years gone, helping each other out for our past pro fights, so there will be a lot of genuine respect for each other on fight night.

 

PZ:      How’s the training camp gone?

 

NM:     Perfect. Since my last fight I haven’t stopped training. The last fight only lasted a round, so I didn’t really need a break. For this fight I’ve been working on strength with a guy called Fritz who runs a gym in Rotherham. He’s an ex army man and really puts me through my paces.

 

I’ve also had a good solid six weeks of boxing training and am feeling in great condition. Throughout the camp I was never more than 10 pounds over my weight, so I’ve been very fit for this fit.

 

PZ:     Tell me a bit more about the team around you and the gym you train at.

 

NM:     Oliver Harrison in Manchester. Consequently, I got to spar with the likes of Martin Murray, Rocky Fielding and a number of other lads from local gyms. Oliver is very intelligent with the raw boxing side of things. Everything he says works. I have a great deal of belief in him.

 

I’d also like to say that my sponsors Jimmy Wilson and Scott Brunt from WB Promotions have been fantastic, and was responsible for me being able to spar with Paulie Malignaggi in Italy when he fought Senchenko. He’s also looking to get me out to the Wildcard gym now.

 

PZ:     Are there any light middleweights in the UK at present that you would really like to fight?

 

NM:     I don’t have a specific person in mind. I do however have an aim – I want to be British champion.

Nav smashing Graham

PZ:     Best light middleweight in the world in your eyes?

 

NM:     I’d have to go with Floyd Mayweather. He’s never had easy fights. He beats everybody like it’s another sparring session.

 

PZ:     Would you prefer to see a rematch between Maidana/Broner or Groves/Froch?

 

NM:     I’d like to see the Froch v Groves rematch. I think everybody wants to see that fight.

 

PZ:     Mayweather versus the Pacman in 2009 – who would have won?

 

NM:     I’d have to go with Floyd again. Even when Manny was at his peak I just think Floyd would have found a way to win. I don’t think there’s anybody out there who can beat Floyd at the moment.

 

PZ:      Tell the readers one thing about yourself which not many people know?

 

NM:     I work with kids who have lived on the naughty side of life and try to help give them direction and help them achieve something in their lives. The organisation is called CYP and it’s based in Sheffield. It’s very, very rewarding and fulfilling to see the effects.

 

PZ:     If you could spar three rounds with any past boxing legend, who would it be?

 

NM:     Floyd Mayweather.

 

 

Photo credits – Jason White

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