I’ve just had the whole weekend off to rest and let my body heal – it felt good. It always does, in fact. All my weekends have felt good lately. But then I hit it hard on the Monday and the pain begins all over again.
Ahead of my fight on June 13 against Ryosuke Iwasa, I’ve obviously been sparring quite a few southpaws of late. They’re all very tough and they’re all taller than me. They’re quite awkward – they have a longer reach than me and try to keep me off them.
I’ve never really done a lot of sparring. But, for this one, I’ve really gone over the top and done more rounds than I’ve ever done before. I’m sparring Monday, Wednesday and Friday religiously now. I’m constantly sparring and really putting the rounds in. And I’ve still got another two weeks of sparring to go.
I decided to do more sparring than usual for this fight, and do more training in general, simply because it’s such a big and important fight for me. Also, if you want to get fit, you’re best off replicating a fight – get in the ring and spar, get fighting fit.
You can enjoy training if you just want to go to a gym and have a little train – hit the bag, do pads – but, for us, it’s a job and we have to treat it as such. That means it’s very hard work and it takes a toll on your body. My body is literally in agony every single day. I had to be told to have a day off the other day because I just want to train all the time. It was the first day off I’ve had other than at the weekends.
I’m pushing myself to the limit and preparing myself for the hardest fight of my life. Nobody ever said it would be easy.
Back in the day I never used to train. It was crazy. I’d win most of my fights on luck and a bit of talent. That was all. But, obviously, the older you get, the wiser you get and I’ve learnt a lot along the way. And I’ve got the kids as well now. I’m doing this more for them than myself.
When I get a weekend off, I just do stuff with the kids, to be fair. We’ll go away in the caravan or go to the cinema or arcade. It’s all family-orientated. It keeps my mind off the fight and that’s exactly what I want when I have days off. You can’t get a better distraction than family.
It’s very important to take your mind off the fight from time to time. Sometimes you overthink things and start to think negative thoughts. It’s best just to forget about the fight and concentrate on yourself. I’ve always believed I’m super fit and that nobody in the world can beat me – and that’s the sort of thing you want to be thinking during camp. Come June 13, I’m going to prove that.
Finally, it’s worth mentioning the great work produced by Jamie McDonnell of late. He’s the current WBA world bantamweight champion and he just defeated Tomoki Kameda in Texas to successfully retain his belt. He’s also someone I beat back in 2008.
I beat him a long time ago, sure, but I still believe I’d beat him if we fought again. I’d take that fight any day of the week. I wouldn’t hesitate.
In terms of what he’s achieved, though, he’s done very, very well and I’m genuinely happy for him. He’s become one of the best in the world and he deserves everything he gets in this sport. Unless we fight, I’m rooting for him every step of the way.
Apparently he’s moving up in weight now anyway, which will be interesting. That will throw him into the mix for fights against the likes of Scott Quigg and Carl Frampton.
I can’t help but think he’s got some unfinished business left at bantamweight, though. I know I’d be keen to avenge my loss if I was him. Then again, it’s probably wise to take the easy route and shoot off.
*** Bristol’s Lee Haskins and Japanese star Ryosuke Iwasa contest the vacant IBF interim world bantamweight title on June 13 at the Action Indoor Sports Centre, Bristol, LIVE on Channel 5 ***