“DID you see his eyes? He looked crazy and fearless.”
Adam Gault usually photographs “corporate stuff . . . still life, things like that.”
Tonight’s job is a very different one, but though Adam is new to the blood-splattered world of bareknuckle boxing, he’s soon proved himself to be a good judge of character.
Robin Deakin is very possibly crazy and definitely fearless.
Fifty-three defeats in 55 professional boxing matches weren’t enough to convince Deakin the boxing ring isn’t the best place for him to spend his Saturday nights.
‘Britain’s Worst Boxer’ – he gave himself the name during a run of 51 consecutive defeats – decided to take up bareknuckle boxing.
“I can take the pain and I can give pain better than anyone,” he explained. “I’m the hardest b**tard out there. This is my game.”
Except, that’s not how it’s turned out.
Four fights into his bareknuckle boxing career and Deakin’s record reads one draw, three losses.
Still, he looks for fights.
According to bareknuckle chief Joe Smith-Brown, Deakin “picks 20 fights every day on social media.”
KSI, Mike Tyson, and even Mark Wright have recently appeared on his hit list.
“I would fight Mark Wright for his missus,” said Deakin a few weeks ago, before he met his current partner. “Definitely. She’s just my type.”
Deakin was hoping Michelle Keegan’s type is a bonkers bareknuckle boxer with clubbed feet.
“I believe that if it wasn’t for my feet, I would have been British champion at least,” said the 34-year-old from Crawley.
“But because of them, I’m flat-footed and I’ve got no balance.”
Despite that, Deakin still had a good amateur career and in 2006, he turned professional with leading manager Frank Warren on the recommendation of a ring legend.
Steve Collins is an Irish hero who beat both Chris Eubank sr and Nigel Benn and Deakin said: “Steve saw me box as an amateur in Jersey.
“I fought the top lad over there and was mugging him off. I was blowing kisses at his missus, waving at Steve Collins and having fun.
“Steve heard about my disability and told me afterward that he’d never seen anything like it. He promised to keep in touch and he lined me up to turn professional with Frank Warren.”
Warren soon gave up on trying to make Deakin a champion and he became a journeyman instead.
“I’m infamous for being shit, for being the Eddie the Eagle of boxing,” said Deakin. “But people don’t realize that I was taking on the best fighters out there without even training. I would go to work as a butcher, get a phone call when I got him offering me a fight and I would say: ‘Yeah, let’s have it.’”
Anthony Crolla was among those who beat an underprepared Deakin on the way to the world championship and, hardened by such experiences and blessed with a chin that seldom let him down, Deakin believed he would be “invincible” at bareknuckle boxing.
Four fights later, he now seems to accept he’s a novelty – albeit a hard one.
“I’m a d***head,” he said, “and everyone loves a d***head!”
There have been more than two million YouTube views of Deakin’s last fight, a points loss to Shrewsbury electrician Mark Handley, a fighter he calls “the poisoned dwarf.”
Deakin wants a third fight – they had previously drawn – to end their rivalry.
“I’m going to hurt him this time,” promised Deakin, who lost his job at a fishmonger’s during the coronavirus crisis.
“It’s personal between us. He wouldn’t last 10 seconds with some of the people I’ve been in with and I need to deal with him.”
Deakin says victory in his next fight would make headlines around the world.
“I was in the news everywhere after my last win,” he said, remembering the aftermath of a points win over Deniss Kornilovs in August, 2015.
Even if Deakin beats Handley, he still wants to be remembered as ‘Britain’s Worst Boxer.’
“I gave myself the name ‘Britain’s Worst Boxer,’” he said. “I know I’m not, but I gave myself the name to get noticed.
“People remember the best and the worst. I know I’m not the best, so I called myself the worst and I hope people still know me as ‘Britain’s Worst Boxer.’
“You can stop people in the street and ask them: ‘You know who Robin Deakin is ?’ and they will say: ‘Britain’s Worst Boxer.’
“That’s something . . . “