Ilkeston’s ‘Relentless’ Russell Henshaw knows all about hard work, and is willing to pay his dues, both inside and outside the ring, in pursuit of cruiserweight titles.
The amiable 30-year-old balances a burgeoning boxing career with jobs as a bricklayer and tree surgeon and will next appear, in the ring, on July 25 at Derby Arena.
“Recently I’ve been working on the railways swinging a chainsaw about and chopping down trees,” he said. “I’ve been working in the heat all week wearing chainsaw trousers and thick, heavy clothing. It helps me lose weight, but, other than that, it’s horrible.
“It’s really hard juggling work with training, but I’m at the bottom of the food chain right now and I have to be realistic. I have to go to work to live. I need the money. Until I get a bit bigger and a bit better, it’s what I’ll have to do. One day, though, I’d like to be able to do the boxing full-time and maybe get a sponsor or two. Until then I’ll just keep grafting.”
Henshaw is currently unbeaten in four fights and has won two via stoppage. Already he has gained a reputation for entertainment. Already he has been earmarked as one to watch.
“I’ve had four fights so far and I could have had eight,” he said. “The first two opponents had licensing issues and the second two pulled out. Eight in eight months would’ve been perfect. That would’ve been a wicked year. I’m still happy with the four fights I’ve had, though.
“This month I’m hoping to fight someone who’s tough enough to stand up to a few punches and give a few back, too. It’s nice to get a black eye or two. It’s nice to feel like you’ve had a fight.”
Henshaw added: “I’m exciting, aggressive and relentless. ‘Relentless’ is my name. I’m just constantly coming at you, non-stop. I’ll get you in the end.
“I won my first ten amateur fights, a national title and the novices by just coming forward and being aggressive. My opponents didn’t know how to deal with it. I overwhelmed them all. I never let my foot off the gas.”
Though a late bloomer, Henshaw believes turning professional at 30 will prove to be the best decision he’s ever made.
“I wasn’t committed enough when I was younger,” he explained. “I enjoyed the boxing, but I also enjoyed going out, smoking, having a drink and so on. I didn’t really take it seriously. If I’d turned pro back then, I’d have won a few, lost a few and probably fizzled out.
“But now I’m a lot more mature and a lot more dedicated. I’m 30 years of age and the timing is right. I’ve got a chance now, so let’s go and do it. I can have a few good years, dedicate my life to it, and see what happens.
“Also, my following is getting bigger and bigger each time. I’m getting a reputation for being exciting and relentless and people realise I’m good value for money. I’ll probably bring at least a hundred fans to Derby because it’s fairly local. It’s then up to me to put on a great show and keep them coming back.”
*** Tickets for Blackwell vs. Jones can be purchased from the Derby Arena Box Office on 01332 255800 or by visiting www.derbylive.co.uk ***
*** Blackwell vs. Jones will be televised live on Channel 5 on July 25, while the supporting undercard will be televised live earlier in the evening on Spike ***