Career losses to Hosea Burton and Joel McIntyre were enough to make Light Heavyweight Miles Shinkwin take stock, reassessing his future, knowing he needed to do something drastic to change his fortunes, starting with a reshuffling of his team with an emphasis on refreshing his title ambitions, leading to the employment of one of British boxing’s best in Don Charles.

Sights now set on winning the English title, Miles with a different outlook going forward gave us some of his time this week, in the latest TopClass Q&A from Michael Shepherd:

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

My grandad boxed in the Navy, leading to my dad and his 5 brothers boxing. 3 turned pro my dad and uncles Ronnie and Shaun. Boxing is all I’ve ever known, was first in the gym sparring around 3 years old. We’ve got my first spar on VHS somewhere with a fella who is one of my best pals today.

 What was your record as an amateur?

  • Amateur record; 85 fights 70 wins
  • 5 x national champion
  • 2 x four nations gold medalist
  • 1 x multi-nation gold medalist Finland.
  • 1 x Junior Olympic Bronze medalist
  • Junior England captain.
  • Boxed for England over 20 times

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

I can’t say that there was like I said, boxing is all I’ve ever know, all the family has known so we’ve grown up with it all our lives

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

I never really considered turning pro until I kept getting overlooked for England squads. Even after winning national titles sometimes they’d pick people if beat on route and that started to change my outlook

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

Not really, at the time I was still plumbing but had a really really great boss. I only worked 4 days due to help from sponsors and he always made sure I was home at a good time so I could get to the gym.

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?

Main differences are the obvious ones, the longer rounds require longer runs, more rounds in the gym, on the bag, pads everything just trebles. Then the way you need to win the fight, you could nick an amateur fight by a punch or 2 but in the pro, there is a lot of emphases put on the knock-out and the need to entertain.

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

My dad, he could have been very good but didn’t apply himself in the right way. He’s always reminded me of what he did wrong so I don’t replicate his mistakes. He knocked out soon to be British champion Tony McKenzie in a round so goes to show what he could have done

I heard you have made some major changes to your team since your fight with Joel McIntyre?

We’ve had a complete reshuffle. I loved my old team to bits and the time we had together but got to the stage where I feel I’m last chance saloon. Jason, Richard and Joe are all great men who I hope will be friends for life but a change can breathe new life into a fight and I feel that with Don Charles as my new head coach I’m back to my best again. Also Thibeault David as my new strength coach and Steve Goodwin managing me I feel settled in and ready to assault the domestic scene and beyond

Who are some of the best you’ve sparred with to date & how beneficial was it for you?

George Groves is an old friend of mine, we roomed together a lot when we first started out on England squads and we still get a lot of rounds in now, his a world champion, deservedly so and a top fighter. Andy Lee, very technical and an absolute student of the game. Billy Joe Saunders, one of the, if not the most, naturally gifted fighters I’ve her shared the ring with. I try not to get into taking too much from who I’m sparring with, I just take bits from everyone, whatever level they’re at I feel that if you take bits from everyone it can only make you a better fighter.

What ranks as your proudest moment in the sport?

As bad as it probably sounds, I haven’t had one yet. I’ve always felt I’ve underachieved, even at amateur level and now probably more so as a pro. Maybe when I retire I’ll think differently but if I leave the sport without at least having a British title for keeps I’d know I had massively underachieved and possibly wouldn’t be proud of anything I’d done. I’m my own worst critic but know how good I can be it’s just about putting that together on fight night

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

In around my 4th fight, I boxed a bloke called John Anthony, he had recently come down from cruiserweight and was a big strong unit. He hit me in the back and it felt like he had reached in to grab my spine!!! Thank god it was only 6 rounds!!

 What is going on with your boxing career now- Can you tell readers when? Where? And against whom you will be fighting next?

 I have no date at the minute but will be challenging the winner of Liam Conroy v Chris Hobbs for the English title early next year

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

With no fight date to look forward to this year, I’ll just be in the gym, ticking over working on little things and improving so that 2018 can be my best year yet. By summer next year I fully expect to have the Lonsdale belt strapped around my waist.

 How would you assess the Light Heavyweight division, both domestically and beyond?

The light heavyweight division both domestically and beyond has boomed in the past 18 months. In Britain, you have arguably 7/8 fights who can claim to be the best. With the retirement of Andre Ward, there is an opportunity for someone to stamp their name on the world scene

Any short term and long term goals at this point, or anything that you would like to achieve in X amount of time?

Short term goal is to get my hands on the English belt early next year then to win the British. Ideally outright but if an opportunity to progress came along it would need considering.

If you could talk to a young Miles Shinkwin what would you say to him?

I like to have no regrets so don’t worry to much about things I can’t change. I’d say to a young me or any young kid, just keep pushing, keep getting better and try and be the best version of yourself. You only get one shot at it so make sure you do it properly.

Who is Miles Shinkwin outside of boxing?

I’m an average joe, a dad to two beautiful little girls and husband to an equally beautiful wife! Nothing beats spending time with your family and I’m fortunate that with the boxing I get to see mine a lot.

 Any plans for after boxing?

I’m not thinking about after boxing just yet. I still dabble with the plumbing, I still enjoy doing bits and pieces actually so if I’m not successful enough to sail off into the sunset then I’ll go back to that.

 Final words or closing statements?

Like to say a huge thank you to family, friends and anyone who has supported in enabling me to get to this point. I’ve had a couple chances I’ve not taken, I can guarantee that my English title chance next year will be firmly grabbed.