Ashlee Eales is the tough guy with the twinkle toes who swapped dancing for fighting.
Eales has his second professional boxing match at Villa Park on Saturday, February 8 and revealed he studied BALLET and danced in front of thousands – until he discovered scrapping.
“I went to watch my friend in a charity MMA fight and one of the fighters pulled out just before the show,” said the 25 year old from Nuneaton.
“I’ve always fancied myself as a fighter, so I stepped in – and I whupped him !
“My opponent’s coach said: ‘If you come to my gym I will give you a year’s free training’ and I decided to go for it.
“I had a few MMA fights and won them all by knockout.
“The dream was always to be a dancer for a big artist. I was a street dancer and acrobat and I danced for Disclosure at a festival where they were 250,000 people there.
“I decided I wanted the spotlight for myself – and I knew I wasn’t good enough at singing to be at the front of the stage.
“Dancing was my passion – until I found fighting.
Following his explosive MMA career, Eales has since made the switch to boxing.
“I got a job doing ringside security for BT Sport,” he said, “and got talking to Frank Warren’s brother, Robert.
“He told me to have some amateur fights and then he would look at taking me on.
“I had six amateurs and then Robert signed me.
“I’ve always thought I was a bit handy. I used to watch fights on television and sit there thinking: ‘I could do you.’
“Now I am !”
Eales, who outpointed hard-as-nails Kevin McCauley on his professional debut, hopes to be boxing in front of the TV cameras soon.
“I’m hoping that by the end of the year I will be boxing on BT Sport,” said Eales, trained by Lee Spare, ABA light-heavyweight finalist in 2004.
“I just need to keep grafting in the gym – and start knocking opponents out !
“I want the chance to show everyone how good I am.
“I’ve got a very unorthodox style and that’s why I’ve progressed so quickly. I only took up contact sports four years ago and now I’m an unbeaten pro boxer. I believe that’s because I was a dancer. If I hadn’t been a dancer, I wouldn’t be the boxer I am today.”