How did you get into the world of professional boxing which includes both competing yourself and also training other boxers?
It all started when I was about 15-years-old. My older cousin showed me a TV show about the sport of boxing. It was about a high school student who was bullied and picked up the sport of boxing. I was fascinated about the story and felt that boxing could be for me. I then started to take boxing classes twice a week for a year, which led to me developing a passion for the sport, and began fighting. I joined Gideon Boxing Academy where my coach Horace Hunter taught me how to box and started my amateur boxing career. We slowly built up my experience in the sport up until this point, where I am now ready to take the dive into the professional ranks. I recently won my first professional fight in Cuernavaca, Mexico.
How did your family feel about you getting into boxing, which is a very physical sport where serious injury (including brain injury) is possible?
At first my family was very worried. For my first fight, I had to get my mom to sign a waiver as I was under 18. I promised her that I would only have one fight and never fight again. After she signed that waiver, I went on to have an 80+ fight amateur career.
I feel like I slowly won my family over because they saw the amount of discipline and passion I had towards the sport. They heard from other parents and coaches that I was progressing very well in the sport, so they slowly understood that I had a gift. Also, during my entire amateur boxing career, I continued to pursue my education as well, graduating from the University of Toronto in Finance. I think because I was in school while doing boxing, they were a little warmer to the idea.
What was the moment or maybe it was a specific fight where you knew that boxing was something that you could potentially pursue professionally to some degree?
I realized I could become a professional, when I started sparring and fighting other high-performance athletes. I performed extremely well against them, while being a person who started the sport late, still had to work, still had to go to school and did not have as much resources or support as they did. So, I knew if I continued to build upon what I was doing, I would get to a position where I can potentially surpass all of them.
What does your typical week look like with your full-time job as an underwriter, training yourself and training others?
- 7:30 AM: Wake up and do Strength/Conditioning/Airdyne/Running
- 8:30AM: Eat Breakfast
- 9AM: Start Work
- 1PM: Eat Lunch
- 5PM: Finish Work and have a small snack
- 5:30PM: Arrive to the Boxing Gym to Warm up, Train, Spar, etc.
- 9:00PM: Leave the Boxing Gym
- 9:30PM: Unwind, Talk to Friends/Family
- 11:00PM: In bed to sleep for the next day
Much more relaxing as I do not have work on the weekends. Usually, my weekend is more appointment based as I set up my own clients and training times.
Speaking to others who train to be professional athletes, it’s extremely time-consuming. How do you balance your personal pursuits (ie. friendships, family, etc) with this?
It is extremely hard to balance all the personal relationships with friends and family. I find this to be the most difficult thing to do in my life. I am grateful to have such understanding people in my life who know that I must prioritize my craft.
I balance my personal pursuits by keeping the end of my weekdays and weekends more open to spend time with them.
What’s been a failure (or “learning lesson”) you’ve experienced in the last 3 years in the boxing world?
I feel any fight that I had lost in the last 3 years is due to not having the best frame of mind. I have learned that against the top opposition, you must bring a strong mentality alongside strong physicality to win. I have since learned ways to enter fights with a better state of mind through meditation and mental exercises.
If you were to look forward 5 years, would you continue down the path of balancing your underwriter career and your roles in boxing, or focus on one path?
I plan on focusing more on the path of boxing. At the time being, to help support my family I need to balance both. But as soon as I get to the point in boxing where I need to solely focus on that, then I will be making the switch.
What do you do outside of work for fun (outside of boxing)?
I listen to a few podcasts, read manga and watch movies. I try to keep my fun stuff not too active as I need to save my energy for the time in training.
What is an insecurity you have?
I think I give too much thought about what others think of me. This insecurity used to be a lot worse when I was younger. But I have become a lot better with this and realize that at the end of the day, the only opinions that really matter is my mother and I.