SIR TOM’S PULLING NO PUNCHES TO GET BACK INTO SHAPE

Wales On Sunday - - NEWS - CAITLIN O’SUL­LI­VAN Re­porter caitlin.osul­li­van@waleson­line.co.uk

TOM Jones isn’t let­ting his re­cent ill health knock him down. He’s pulling on the gloves ready to get back to busi­ness as a judge on the new sea­son of The Voice com­ing in Jan­uary.

The singer was taken ill in July, and had to can­cel some per­for­mances to re­cover. Now he’s back on his feet, with a new fit­ness rou­tine to help him get back in the ring.

The 78-year-old has taken up box­ing to help him get in shape and take on the com­pet­i­tive show­biz in­dus­try.

Talk­ing about his new fit­ness regime, he said: “It’s good to be back. Ev­ery­thing’s good now – I’m on top form. I’ve got a trainer who comes to see me. A lot of stretch­ing and box­ing thrown in.

“He puts the gloves on and we do a cou­ple of rounds in the gym, which is re­ally good. It’s a good car­dio­vas­cu­lar work­out.

“I do it twice a week. I get in the gym when­ever – three times a week usu­ally. I try to watch my diet too.”

The singer re­vealed he fell ill while on the road, and was taken to hospi­tal.

“I was in there for four days and they checked ev­ery­thing and said it was a vi­ral in­fec­tion,” he said.

“I didn’t feel good and they said you need an­tibi­otics. So they gave it in­tra­venously and that was it.

“But I had to can­cel shows. So that was a big deal.”

Asked if his right cross would stand him in good stead when he gets back with ITV tal­ent show ri­vals will.i.am, Jen­nifer Hud­son and Olly Murs, he said: “I might run out of steam. I’d have to knock them out fast.”

Plans for a TV biopic about Tom Jones’ 55-year ca­reer are still be­ing dis­cussed – af­ter re­veal­ing he’d love Rob­bie Williams to play him.

“There’s quite a few peo­ple who are talk­ing about it,” he said.

But he hasn’t ruled out star­ring in it him­self. “I’d like to do more act­ing – it just de­pends on the role,” he said.

It’s not the first time Tom has tried his hand at box­ing... well, sort of!

Back in July 1980, in Deer Lake, Penn­syl­va­nia, the Ponty singer squared up to box­ing leg­end Muham­mad Ali when an in­cred­i­ble black and white photo was taken.

The two un­likely op­po­nents had faced each other in a mock spar­ring ses­sion, when Ali took a dive to the can­vas for the cam­eras.

The pic­ture formed part of a doc­u­men­tary film called I Am Ali, which was re­leased at the end of 2014.

Ali’s long-term friend and former busi­ness man­ager Gene Kilroy was the man be­hind the lens that day in 1980, and be­fore the film was re­leased spoke about Ali’s long-run­ning friend­ship with Sir Tom and how this par­tic­u­lar photo came about.

He said: “Tom and Ali have been friends for more than 30 years. Ali was a mas­sive fan of Tom’s and would of­ten go and visit him at his house over here.

“But then, one day, Ali fig­ured it would be fun if Tom came and spent some time with him at his train­ing camp for a change.

“I re­mem­ber Tom be­ing asked if he’d like to do some spar­ring and re­ply­ing ‘What? Oh no, no, no,’” said Gene.

“But Ali wouldn’t take no for an an­swer. ‘C’mon Jones, some fun’, he told him.

“So they both threw a few punches and Ali pre­tended to hit the deck – I took a shot of it and those pic­tures went all around the world.

“We got sacks of mail about it, let- we’ll have ters say­ing things like ‘If Tom Jones can knock out Ali then maybe it’s time he hung up his gloves and re­tired.’

“Of course, Tom’s best known as a singer but he’s a pretty tough fella too.”

SHIRLAINE FOR­REST

Sir Tom Jones at­tends The Voice UK 2018 pho­to­call in Manch­ester last week. He has re­vealed that he is pulling on box­ing gloves as part of a new fit­ness regime

UPI / EYEVINE

Muham­mad Ali and Tom Jones had a mock spar­ring ses­sion

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