The 26 year-old last fought in July 2014 when stopping Wayne Reed in the fifth round to record a seventh career win, but has since suffered setbacks due to his niggling achilles’ which had threatened to keep the Olympian away from the ring until 2016.
Whilst Ogogo’s warrior mentality has considerably shortened his recovery time, the Lowestoft fighter has admitted that seeing British rivals Billy Joe Saunders and Chris Eubank Jr steal the spotlight has been hard to deal with.
“I’m doing really well in my recovery,” Ogogo exclusively told World Boxing News.
“On December 22nd, when I saw the second surgeon he said that with how bad both of my achilles were, and how long I’ve had the issue, I’d be looking to be out for a further 12 months after the operation that took place in early January 2015.
“What I’ve done to push through the pain and the infection that was present after the first operation, I’ve caned the rehab like never before. I’ve been so diligent in everything that I’ve been doing and I’m looking to be boxing in the summer. Condensing a twelve month rehab into six months is just testament to how hard I’ve been working.
“Saying that, I came away from my appearance on Ringside on Thursday annoyed though. Whether it was because of the frustration of being away for so long now I that can finally see myself climbing back through the ropes and fighting again or whether it’s because I feel I’ve been ignored for too long by boxing in general, I don’t know.
“What I’ve had to do to get to this point alone, people wouldn’t believe it. They may have heard bits here or there, but they wouldn’t believe the adversity I’ve had to overcome. I’m still here though, still standing and soon I’ll be ready to fight.
“In my time away from the ring I’ve had the chance to read a lot of books and watch many sports documentaries of some of my sporting idols. Comparing what they’ve had to overcome in their career, to what I’ve had to go through in mine. Yet they still came out the other side and went on to do great things. I believe when I overcome this and I go on to do great things in the sport and the relevant people decide my story is ready to be told in a book or documentary it’ll be able to inspire a lot of people. Because of the time away from the ring, and before that the average performances I was only able to give, (average from my own high standards because of the injury) I have missed being in front of a packed arena, and fighting on TV.
“I drove home on Thursday frustrated that I haven’t made the splash that I wanted to make when I first turned pro, but that’s all about to change.
“I’m done with being the happy go lucky, smiley dude that’s too honest, too happy to let someone go before me in the queue. All too happy for my fight to be made from an eight rounder to a six rounder at the last minute to fit TV scheduling. I nod along a smile and say; ‘that’s ok.’ All this adversity has awoken a beast inside me and it’s getting unleashed when I get back in the ring.
“When I’m back it’ll be better than ever and I won’t be getting ignored anymore. I’ll make people sit up and take note of me.
“I see myself as the future. I see myself as the beacon of light coming through. Billy Saunders has been pro since 2008 and he’s a good fighter, but I don’t think he’ll be getting better. I think Chris Eubank Jr is ok at best and I’ve never been impressed with him. I’ve been pro for two years. But I’ve spent a combined total of six months in the gym. Due to my injuries I haven’t been able to train with a proper pro coach, I’ve almost had to train myself – with the help of my old amateur coaches. I’ve been fortunate to work with a couple of experienced pro coaches, however, that’s been as a favour to me and it’s been very sporadic.
“I have been totally dictated to by this damn injury, yet I’ve still got a 7-0 record and done ok to date. When I’m 100% and I can train for a full week rather than the odd day here and there before having to stop for a couple of days, then there’ll be no stopping me. Give me two years of being in a pro gym with my trainer, training and sparring and learning my craft, I’ll be the one that goes the furthest.”
In the immediate future, despite being signed to United States-based Promoters Golden Boy, Ogogo wants to reach the top the old fashioned way and claim domestic titles before moving onto the world stage. Once firing on all cylinders, a shot at the Lonsdale belt currently in Saunders’ possession is a real possibility for Ogogo who sees winning UK honours as a minimum requirement.
“If I’m not British champion in two years I’ll be disappointed,” he explained. “You can never envisage yourself getting injured. I certainly didn’t feel like I’d be out for a year with this one. You can never plan too much in this game, but the only thing that’ll derail me on my quest is another unfortunate injury. But I’m doing everything I can to prevent that. I’m spending hours in the gym prepping my body for my return.
“I’ve got the correct balance now of training hard, but also resting hard too. Before, I was guilty of overtraining in my eagerness to be the best. I just need time in the gym. That’s all I ask. I’ve been out for so long that I’m going to be like a sponge when I’m back in there. I’ll be taking everything in. It won’t take me long to get back to where I feel I should be.
“As I have said, two years in the gym honing my skills is all I need. I’ve had a just those six months training as a pro, that’s all. The rest of the time I’ve been unable to train. It hasn’t been like a hand injury where you can still run and shadow box. I’ve been unable to do anything and been totally bedridden. Because of that, I’m still a baby in terms of development.
“In two years I’ll fight them all, but in the meantime I’ll continue to support the (Matthew) Macklin’s and (Martin) Murray’s of this world. As a true Brit, I want all of the boxers from these shores to win titles and to do well, just not when they’re facing me across the ring.
“I’ll be fighting at home as much as possible. This is my country, this is the country I want to conquer first. Then Europe, then the world. Some exposure on a big U.S card once a year would be great, but I’ve had the experience in Vegas and Atlantic City, now I just want to fight often and regularly, I’ve got some making up to do.
“I am looking forward to making my return from injury in the summer and the year following that I want to continue to learn and be earning my stripes – so to speak. Then, I want to move on to boxing against the tough Europeans, the wild South Americans and the flashy Americans before I clean up domestically.
“British champion first, European too and then I’ll be working my way up the world governing bodies,” added Ogogo.”