Middleweight Anthony Ogogo will be on TV screens for a completely different reason in the coming months but the talented fighter is adamant that his appearance on Strictly Come Dancing hasn’t taken his eye off the ball.
The 26 year-old, who has gone 8-0 since turning pro on the back of a bronze medal at London 2012, suffered a dislocated shoulder in his most recent win over Ruslan Schelev last month on the back of a long recovery from achilles surgery.
Ogogo needs time to get the top half of his body into prime condition to throw a punch again (as he is unable to until December), and so therefore decided to keep on his toes by accepting an offer from the BBC to appear on their top-rated primetime Saturday night programme.
The dancing competition could keep Ogogo busy until just before Christmas if he is successful in making it to the final week, which by that time his ailment should be fully healed and have the Lowestoft fighter ready for action in early 2016. Whilst participating in the show, Ogogo will also be working hard on his rehab and keeping his boxing training up to speed.
After making his comeback from a year out, Ogogo spoke openly to WBN about how his achilles measured up following the operation and what the circumstances of his new injury were when it occured on fight night at the Gerry Weber Stadium in Germany.
“Right now overall my body feels good but obviously I picked up a shoulder injury in my last fight. It actually dislocated in the second round and I had to fight the rest of the fight with just one arm,” Ogogo exclusively told World Boxing News.
“I was obviously gutted to have hurt my shoulder, but looking back I have to be encouraged that I managed to fight through the pain and win with just one arm. I look at the positives from that night and have to draw on my perseverance and mental focus to forget about the pain and persevere when many boxers in that situation may have quit. For example, the guy Terry Flanagan boxed the for WBO world title the weekend before my fight ended up quitting when he did something very similar to me – but quitting isn’t in me and it never crossed my mind.
“I could have boxed negatively and tried to just get through the rest of the rounds, but I stuck true to myself and went out, won every round and I was still looking for the knockout in the last rounds just using my left hand.
“Since then, I’ve had to have a small op on my shoulder and that will keep me out for a couple of months. It’s not ideal, but boxing is a tough sport and injuries happen.”
On a potential date for a return, Ogogo added: “Well, I need to sort the shoulder out so I’ve been working with my training and medical team the last few weeks.
“I’ve got a long career ahead of me. This isn’t a sprint and it’s not about just getting to the top of the tree.
“For some people that’s what they dream about, but when I get there I’m going to be staying there for a long time. For me, my boxing career isn’t a destination, it’s a long successful journey.”
Before his latest setback, Ogogo was hoping for a title bout of some sort by the end of 2015, although that plan has now been put back a few months but hasn’t altered the mindset of the unbeated Briton. Ogogo feels he is ready to make the step-up to facing the best, domestically, and has big ambitions to be the British champion one day.
“I’m ready for a title fight,” he stated. “My personality is that I felt I was ready for a title fight the day I signed professional forms. However I’m the fighter, I want to fight and be the very best and I believe in myself. My team (coaching and management) may feel differently, and they may want to move me along more steadily, but I’m ready.
“I’ve been very unfortunate that due to one thing or another I haven’t been able to put a run of fights together and build any momentum unlike my Olympic teammates of 2012. But like I said above, this is my journey and I’m not competing with anyone else other than the guy that stands in the opposite corner to me on fight night.
“I feel like I’m ready for a title fight of some sort. I’ll let my team sort that and get me the opportunities, and in the meantime, I’ll be focusing on getting my shoulder right and continually improving my boxing technique.”
As Nick Blackwell is the current Lonsdale Belt holder at 160lbs, Ogogo was quizzed on whether that ultimately means the Trowbridge man is now his number one future target.
“I’d love to win the British title as it’s such a prestigious belt and British boxing royalty have held the Lonsdale belt. It’s definitely a list I want to add my name to,” Ogogo insisted.
“Nick is a tremendous fighter and I’m a big fan of his, but if the opportunity came up I’d take the fight and I’m sure we’d put on a great show that would do justice to the great middleweight champions of Britain who have carried the Lonsdale belt.
“I just need to get fit, get back in the ring and finally put a run of fights together, build some momentum and then I’ll be ready for anyone.
“I’ve got a great team in the guys at Wasserman, who manage me, and with both Sauerland and Golden Boy looking after my career path, they will get me the opportunities to fight on big shows against formidable opponents and it’ll be my job to deliver.
“First things first, let’s get healthy and then it’s full steam ahead. For me now it’s all about finally getting some consistency, like I’ve said you couldn’t make the bad luck I’ve had up. But hopefully I’ve got it all out of the way early in my career and now I can have a good productive few years with no forced breaks. So I want to be as busy as ever.
“Whether that means fighting in Germany, America or anywhere I don’t care. I’ll definitely be boxing in Norwich in the near future in a long awaited homecoming and I’ll like to fight more at The O2 arena.
“But for me it’s about fighting, winning and working my way up the rankings.
“I am taking the time to get fit and healthy, so when I fight next it will be because my medical team have advised me to fight rather than rushing back out of eagerness. This is going to be a long successful career.
“I’ve won fights without being able to train, I’ve won fights using just one arm and I owe it to myself now to fight when I’m fully fit and show the world my true potential,” he concluded.