What Mo Gharib learned from training alongside Degale, Groves and Joshua
You’ve had a long amateur career, you’ve been around a few years, how long have you been boxing?
I started when I was eight, but I wasn’t boxing properly, I was just learning. I had my first fight was 14. I’m 24 now.
Do you know how many amateur bouts you’ve had?
90. I was tempted to stick around for 100. But when you get to elite level, I’ve had a lot of pullouts. People get injured and they don’t want to fight and that, so usually I get eight fights a season, maybe nine, 10. Last season I only got 11, but won nine.
Does that get frustrating?
Yes, you train for fights but they pull out. So you’re making weight and they pull out. It’s frustrating.
Is that what pushed you to leave amateur boxing?
I went to Morocco for six weeks and I was thinking is there a point of me doing one more ABAS when I’ve got two people in my club, Islington, both at 60kgs and I’ll end up fighting them. Is there a point in me waiting around to box them and go through that awkwardness of training with my team-mates to box them? There’s no point.
I’ve got my [professional] debut on December 2, if everything goes to plan, on a Goodwin show. It’s in London York Hall. I’m looking forward to it a lot because it’s something new. It’s a different motivation now.
Who are the best people you’ve boxed?
I got a cut in the [Haringey] Box Cup against Gary Culley, from Ireland. He got the best boxer of the tournament. He’s had 120 fights or something, won 100, European [Youth] champion.
I boxed Pat Mccormack in the ABA quarter-finals in 2014 and he’s obviously won the ABAS twice and gone to the Olympics for Great Britain. He won it unanimous but it was close. If I had thrown more punches… I respected him because he was on the Great Britain squad. He is talented. It was more of a technical match between me and him, trying to outsmart each other. I made him miss a lot.
Even winning the London regional stage is a real achievement, how proud were you to do that?
I was proud because I had four hard fights to win London and then I had to box in the pre-quarters to get to the quarterfinal, so I was actually quite happy. That was the first time they done the London belt, the Ringside one, and I was the first one to win it.
Was most of your amateur career at Finchley?
I started off at All Stars, then I went to Dale Youth so I was training with James Degale and George Groves, then I went to Finchley when Anthony Joshua was there and then last season I went to Islington because of the split with England Boxing.
What was it like seeing people like James Degale, George Groves and Anthony Joshua right at the start of their careers?
You’re training with them and they’re nothing different to you. If they can go far, you can go far. Anyone can do it. They proved that.
STALWART: Gharib has had an extensive amateur career