Josh: I can be king of the ring
BOXING JOSH Burnham is gearing up for the adventure of a lifetime ahead of his first professional fight, and he admits he does not know where the journey will end.
The chiselled middleweight, who is 22 and from Bushey, says he feels mentally and physically prepared for the challenges that lie ahead, with the bout in Chigwell only days away.
“Training has gone well and I feel ready,” said Burnham, who is also a personal trainer.
“I’ve been waiting for this opportunity for a while now, working hard in the gym twice a day, six times a week.”
Burnham took up the sport aged 12, encouraged by his father, an avid boxer and kickboxer. “My dad taught me how to box, but I never had to use it,” he said.
“I was always the smallest at school, although I was never bullied. It was during an FZY tour to Israel that I shot up in height, aged 16.” He has never looked back.
Following a successful amateur career, Burnham, a former under-16 Junior national light middleweight champion, is determined to put on a good performance against a yet-to-benamed opponent.
He has been sparring with George Groves and Miles Shinkwin, under the tutelage of trainer Jason Rowland who once fought Ricky Hatton.
“My last amateur fight was in May so I’m looking forward to getting back into the ring,” said Burnham. “My training has been non-stop since and I feel in great shape.”
Burnham, who has a Magen David tattooed on one leg and another embroidered on his boxing shorts, recently became engaged to his partner, Anna, who is expecting their first child. “She has expressed fears and doubts about me turning full-time, but she appreciates it’s something I enjoy and am also good at.
“I’ve spent much of my life box- ing so she knows what she’s signed up to. I still train with a head-guard but the problem with most boxers is that they never admit when enough is enough.
“It’s hard for me not to say I want to go all the way. I have a great team, coach, manager, agent and family behind me and I lead a disciplined lifestyle. I won’t have a drink until the baby arrives in May.
“As a family we support Jewish box- ing dinners and I still observe the High Holy Days. I’m also looking to do some charity work and give something back to the community.”
Burnham includes Manny Pacquiao, Roberto Duran and Gary Jacobs as his boxing idols, as well as Bernard Hopkins, whom he describes as “the hardest 50-year-old out there”.
He describes himself as a “pressure counter-puncher” and says he was “chuffed” when former Jewish cham- pion Jacobs recently contacted him on Facebook. “It was a special moment,” he said. “I felt star-struck.”
Asked what he hopes to bring to the ring, Burnham replied: “I’m an exciting fighter to watch and want to bring the sport back to the community. I’m looking to impress and get some rounds under my belt.
“I’m proud of my roots and am not ducking or hiding from anyone, inside or outside the ring. I feel as though I’m flying the flag for my religion and nothing intimidates me.”
Burnham,whosecommercialagents are the Jewish-owned Sidekick Management, has been following the progress of another Jewish boxer, Tony Milch, and says he would love a fight against him for “Bushey bragging rights”.
Assuming all goes to plan in the Essex Boys 2 show at the Prince Regent Hotel on Wednesday, he plans to feature on the bill at York Hall in March.
Josh Burnham has been training twice a day, six days a week for his first pro fight