TOPCLASS Q&A WITH FORMER BRITISH/COMMONWEALTH HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION MICHAEL SPROTT

The milestone of a 70th professional fight inches ever closer, telling the story of a fighter who’s accomplished a lot during his 21-year career in the sport.

Heavyweight Michael Sprott (42-27, 17 KOs) in that time has captured British/Commonwealth titles plus Prizefighter glory, raising a few eyebrows along the way.

Blessed with a never say die attitude, the tough/rugged fighter grasped most things that presented itself to him whilst his storied career can also boast of him sharing the squared circle with the likes of Anthony Joshua, Carlos Takam, Kubrat Pulev being just a few names to which there are plenty more examples.

Michael Shepherd recently took the opportunity to relay some questions to the Londoner who was more than happy to answer in this latest TopClass Q&A:

How did you start boxing and what age did you start going to a gym?

I was watching boxing matches with my Dad, the likes off Ali Mike Tyson etc and I was jumping round the living room shadow boxing and my Dad saw I took an interest in the sport . I started when I was 13 at BULMERSHE ABC a very good friend Simon Titus took me to this gym. I had great trainers George & Ricky

For our readers that don’t know what was your record as an amateur?

As an amateur, I had over 68 fights for BULMERSHE ABC

Were there any occasions during your time on the amateurs that made a significant impact on you?

Yes, there was. I boxed for England vs the USA and home countries Vs. Germany/Denmark. I won the Home Counties four times and got to the ABA finals and also boxed in the qualifiers in Canada plus competed in Liverpool’s multi-nations.

As an amateur was it always your dream to turn professional?

Yeah for sure but before that could happen I had to first build up my CV. This is the reason I had quite a few fights at different levels as an amateur.

Was it tough to turn full time? Finding time between work, paying the bills etc

Yes, it was tough as I was working as a hod carrier and doing removals. I had my work mate Nick who had a word with the removal firm BMG to help sponsor me  if I needed time to train he give me time out and paired me a wage to help

What would you say are the major differences between amateur and professional boxing? And did you have to change the way you trained when you turned professional?

The major difference between amateur and being a professional is that amateur is 100 meters and the professional side of the sport is a marathon.  It takes time to adjust to being a professional. I had to change the way I trained from amateur to professional, everything took longer, running, skipping, bag work, pad work, sparring and ground work plus the warming up and stretching

Any fighters from past and present that inspire you, if so who and why?

Yes of course. The likes of Ali really inspired me, His skills with his footwork and jabs and fast hands, and he was a Big character in and outside the ring.

Mike Tyson was this machine, I loved how vicious and savage he was in the ring, showing no Mercy, he had speed and power which was deadly. His combinations so fast and powerful and his attitude to boxing was spot-on, he was like a lion who wanted to tear you apart.

Evander Holyfield I love this mans combination of his Plyometric footwork in the ring. His timing and his skills. Evander has a heart of two lions. He would fight to the death in some of his fights. I liked what a warrior he was, through Christ he feared No man, not even Tyson. Most boxers lost before they got in with Tyson, for them it’s a big payday, for Tyson it’s another KO.

James Toney to me was one of the best counter punchers in boxing history. His skills are Phenomenal. I could go on so many fighters to name.

You have fought in many countries & Venues around the world. What would you say was the best country & venue you have fought in and why?

Yes, I have fought in many places and seen the world thanks to boxing and God. The best place for me is England as the atmosphere is phenomenal in big fights. right now it’s all about the UK and the best venue is Wembley.

The best and biggest show I boxed on was in Germany when Wladimir was due to fight David Haye and Haye pulled out because of injury. There were 63.000 people in the football stadium when I boxed Alexander Ustinov .

What ranks as your proudest moment in the sport?

There quite a few there’s winning the British & Commonwealth titles, the English title. And winning the EU-union European title in Germany was just some of them.

In the professional ranks who has been your hardest opponent so far and why?

That’s a hard one I have fought so many hard fights

You are due to have your 70th fight, congratulations on reaching such a milestone. Will this be your last fight or do you even have any plans to retire just yet?

Thank you, sir. The fight I had scheduled was called off but I will continue to keep fighting just for a couple more fights before I call it a day. My plans after boxing is to train people and do boot camps maybe 1-2-1 training with clients

What are your hopes for the rest of 2017 & 2018?

My hopes for 2017-2018 is to get few more fights before I hang them up. I look forward to watching the heavyweight Division as it’s looking good with Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder which could happen in 2018.  Joshua will win though and keep ruling the division.

What did you think of Anthony Joshua performance against Takam?

Joshua’s fight with Takam was a good test for him, it’s what he needed. The stoppage was wrong because we know that Takam would have taken Joshua the full 12 rounds, he is a tough cookie as you saw. Joshua did really well to adjust to the fight in just 12 days notice, as was Takam.

Joshua tried to land the clean shots and Takam’s movement made it hard at times for Joshua.

Takam used his experience and ringcraft to make it a tricky fight, Joshua was well ahead on points and had some success, even managing to make Takam touch the Canvas briefly.

Takam’s head movement had succeeded in Joshua missing some combos. If both had the same time to train, it could have been very interesting. Joshua could have come out and stopped Takem convincingly or Takem could have caused an upset, who knows?

Takam wants a rematch which you can’t blame them! But Joshua wants to move on which I completely understand.

Who do you think will win when Joshua & Wilder eventually meet?

As I said earlier, I see Joshua beating Wilder but it could become a case of who lands the big combo first, Wilder has no stamina issues doing the full rounds as he has done with Stiverne. Joshua has not done the full twelve which I am confident he can do, as he nearly did against Klitschko and Takam . But I see Joshua winning the big one.

Tyson Fury is scheduled to come back in 2018 what do you think of his return? And do you think he will be anywhere near the level he was when he claimed the titles from Wladimir Klitschko back in November 2015?

Yes or so he says, I hope he does as he brings the noise and entertainment to the division!.

But we have to see if he can get into the top shape he was against Wladimir. If he can get to what he was it will be very interesting!

He will probably have a few fights against top 25 competition and go from there

BUT & IF are two big words right now!

Should he get his fitness and mind right I think he can make a statement that he is back!

If you could talk to a young Michael Sprott what would you say to him?

I would say get in do well and get out of the game with your health intact, live like a king. I would also say being nice & loyalty don’t mix in this game! Don’t trust anybody It’s Dog Eat Dog Business!

Who is Michael Sprott outside of boxing?

I am a family man

Any plans for after boxing?

I plan to do 1-2-1 personal training and do boot-camps whilst also working corners

Final words or closing statements?

I just want to say thanks to all my fans and support over the years you all play a huge part in my success and career.