Tom Ansell: ’Believe in yourself and prove you deserve it’

Paul Wheeler talks to Tom Ansell, a man who switched from the rugby pitch to the boxing ring

When and why you started boxing:
I began boxing in my first year of university, in order to get fit for the rugby pre-season. I started at Elite Fitness Academy in Hitchin.

Favourite all-time fighter:
Manny Pacquiao is my favourite. He’s a multi-weight world champion and he’s always exciting to watch.

Best fight you’ve seen:
I watched Sugar Ray Leonard vs Roberto Duran II the other day. That was definitely a decent fight.

Personal career highlight:
I’d say that getting my first stoppage is my highlight so far. I stopped Aleksandar Chukaleyski in the second round [in October 2017].

Toughest opponent:
Lee Hallett [w pts 6 – October 2018] was the first southpaw I’d ever been up against, so I’d probably pick him.

Best and worst attributes as a boxer:
My best attribute is my fitness, and my worst is my punch selection.

Training tip:
Always be competitive, either with yourself, your coach or your teammates. By being competitive you’ll achieve better results.

Favourite meal/restaurant:
I’m not too sure about my favourite meal. As for my favourite restaurant, that’s a tough one too. I’d go with either The Knife & Cleaver in Houghton Conquest or The Anchor in Aspley Guise.

Best friends in boxing:
I’ve made a lot of good mates in the sport, especially [trainer] Tony Pill and Pill’s Army.

Other sportsperson you would like to be:
I’d choose Owen Farrell or Lewis Hamilton. Farrell is the England rugby captain and he’s achieved almost everything in the game, while Hamilton is already an all-time great in Formula One.

Last film/TV show you saw:
The last programme I watched on TV was MasterChef.

Who would play you in a film of your life:
Whoever plays Mr. Chow [Ken Jeong] in The Hangover, apparently!

Have you ever been starstruck:
I haven’t yet. I’m not really the sort of person to be starstruck.

Last time you cried:
When my son was born.

Best advice received:
Believe in yourself and prove you deserve to be here.

Something not many people know about you:
I used to fight at light-heavyweight.

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