One to watch: Joe Collins

15 04 2011

Collins (left): One to watch

With the state of British boxing looking better than ever, The Sweet Science UK sat down with rising star Joe “Crackers” Collins to discuss how he got into boxing and how he sees his future in boxing panning out. 

The 24-year-old Manchester based-boxer is a bit of a late bloomer to the professional ranks and relatively unknown but with his last fight being promoted under the Hatton Promotions banner; he is sure to be a face British fans will soon come to recognise very soon.

“I first got into boxing through a friend. I was coming off a knee injury I sustained in a football match and I was just trying to get fit again to play football.

“But once I was there I couldn’t turn back. The atmosphere in the gym and the work rate was first class and after I had my first sparring session, I didn’t look at any other sport. Boxing had and has taken over my life.”

Studying boxers and boxing itself became the norm for Joe, who counts the likes of Marco Antonio Barrrera, Ricky Hatton and Joe Calzaghe as his idols.

“I used to look up to the likes of Hatton, Calzaghe, Michael Brodie, Scott Harrison and, of course, Barrera. They were brilliant to watch.

“My favourite fight has to be the second fight between Barrera and Erik Morales, it was an incredible fight. But Michael Gomez v Alex Arthur was a bit special too and has to be up there.”

The light-welterweight now trains under the well-respected coach Bob Shannon at Shannon’s Fighting Fit gym in Openshaw.

“Bob Shannon is a great trainer who is very determined and very knowledgeable about the sport.

“I look up to all the lads I train with at Shannon’s gym. Denton Vassell, Prince Arron, Kieran Maher and of course, Matthew Hatton. It’s a top set-up there and everyone in the gym helps out. They all play their part in the gym and they deserve all the credit in the world for making it such a success.”

Talk moves on to Joe’s style of boxing, which may shock a few of you considering his “Crackers” nickname.

“I like to slip and roll under shots you know. I’m not adverse to mixing it up but that’s definitely my style.

When asked on which boxer he’d like to fight, the response wasn’t as I’d expected.

“Rocky Balboa! (Haha) Why not? To be honest I’ve never really thought of who I’d like to step into the ring with.”

Following a defeat in his last fight (the fight was stopped in the third following a clash of heads which left Collins with a broken nose) we asked Collins how he sees his career in boxing panning out.

“I want to get as far as my ambition and drive will take me.”

When asked if he feels he could become a title holder in his division, Collins responded quite simply.

“If I don’t believe in myself no-one would ever believe me.”

There is no doubting he’s got people who believe in him. The likes of Hatton Promotions, Bob Shannon and his stable mates. But most importantly he has that inner self belief that is the most crucial thing for a boxer.

Finally we finished up the interview by asking Collins, a student of the game, on his prediction for the up-coming Khan – McCloskey fight.

“I think Khan will win by stoppage late on, around the 10th. McCloskey will be very tricky and he can hit too, so it will be a tough fight for Amir, a lot tougher than some think.”

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