Fighting his way out of neighbourhood depravity of London’s tough streets Ashley Theophane knew from a young age that he was destined for something greater, taking him to Brooklyn where he learnt his craft amongst some of Gleason’s best before finally settling in Nevada under the Mayweather Promotions umbrella.
Between that time Theophane has fought his way in to fight fans consensus, becoming a British title holder in 2011 whilst also giving a great account of himself in his loss against Adrien Broner in 2016 in a challenge for the WBA crown.
His story reads like a fascinating tale with many more parts to play out before he is done. He sat down with TopClassBoxing’s Michael Shepherd where he was able to go into a little more detail for you (the reader) on his rise through the ranks:
How did you start boxing and what age did you start going to a gym?
I got into boxing at the age of 4/5 years old. Watching Mike Tyson with my father. I went to all stars boxing gym when I was 7 in 1988. I had fun and I wanted to become a boxer.
What was your record as an amateur?
My record as an amateur was 50-10
As an amateur was it always your dream to turn professional?
I never really enjoyed amateur boxing. My goal was always to be a professional. I wanted to turn pro at 18 but Mr Akay founder of All-stars boxing club told me I wasn’t mentally ready for the toughness of the pro game so I waited until I was 22.
Was it tough to turn full time? Finding time between work, paying the bills etc
I’ve been a full-time professional boxer from the age of 22 to now which is 37 years old.
Most fighters have to work to pay bills but I had some money saved that helped me focus on training. I basically sponsored myself and invested in me during my twenties. Boxing is always a struggle as one year you can get great pay then the next terrible so money management is important.
I’m a professional athlete so it’s all or nothing for me.
You came over to the US at a young age, what would you say are the major differences in boxing from the UK to the US? And would you recommend it to other young fighters?
I went over to NYC when I was 24 years old. August 2005. Gleason’s gym and New York boxing taught me so much. I worked with some great coaches and sparred some great fighters. Without them, I doubt I would have got this far.
I think it’s good for boxers to travel outside of their comfort zone. It can only improve them.
For me, the differences were the quality of sparring and level of coaching.
Who inspired you to pull on gloves?
Mike Tyson, childhood idol.
Could you take me & the readers through a training camp week?
Monday to Friday, I usually train 3 times a day. Start my day with a run, track work or Bikram yoga. Boxing session around midday then strength work in the evening.
Saturday mountain runs up mount Charleston and yoga on Sunday.
What ranks as your proudest moment in the sport?
I have different things for different reasons.
Fighting in Saint Lucia was big for me as my dads family are from there.
Becoming British champion as no promoter and fans really thought much of me during that time.
Joining Mayweather promotions, fighting at the MGM Grand and Floyd Mayweather. Amazing experiences.
Challenging for the world title after 13 years as a pro against a four weight world champ after turning pro at York Hall in London and not having a promoter for 10 years. My journey is incredible and the stuff you see in movies.
You’ve been in with the likes of Broner, Garcia, Rodriguez and Cano who has been the best you’ve faced?
Cano was the hardest puncher. Broner was physically strong. Every fighter has their strengths. I don’t know who I’d say is the best I’ve faced. I just have been in the ring with some really good fighters with I had good and bad days against.
Can you put into words the influence Floyd Mayweather had in your career?
Without Floyd, I’d never of fought for the world title so I’m thankful of that. He kept his word to me.
Being around Floyd I’ve seen how it is from the top looking down and being on the inside, looking out.
Your next fight will be your 50th any special plans for that? Fighting back in the UK maybe?
I’ve been offered a few fights in Germany. Fighting in Las Vegas is always number one for me. I have 18 months left on my contract with Mayweather promotions so focused on seeing that out but fighting Ricky Burns and becoming British champion again are two things I’m interested in.
What are your hopes for the rest of 2017 & 2018?
The aim is to finish the year with my 50th professional fight and 41st win.
Next year I want to be active with 3 fights as two fights in 18 months isn’t the best for any fighter.
If you could talk to a young Ashley Theophane what would you say to him?
I’d tell Ashley that the hard work and sacrifice will be worthwhile in the end.
Who is Ashley Theophane outside of boxing?
Ashley is a man that loves to travel the world. Seeing different countries and cultures.
Any plans after boxing?
To give back. Help kids from humble backgrounds and be an inspiration and motivation to the next generation.
My advisor, Rene Carayol is working on Treasure Boxing Gyms that hopefully can bring that Mayweather Boxing Gym feel to London. Giving back to the community is important to me.