‘The last thing I was into was boxing, I didn’t even like it.’
Articulate and composed Joshua Ejakpovi is somewhat of an enigma, a serious boxing talent on the one hand who has spent time training in the Mayweather Gym in Las Vegas, but on the other a keen artist who was part of an exhibition at the world-famous Tate Gallery in London. He’s appeared in The Legend of Tarzan with Samuel L Jackson, and models himself on a ‘sweet science’ type of boxer. He comes into UB5 with just one defeat on his record, against fellow fight-night contender Sean Robinson. He also uses boxing as a way to help his local community, teaching and training children and is actively involved in charities working against domestic violence.
How long have you been boxing?
I started when I was 17, fighting at the Lynn AC Boxing Club, so that was 16 years ago. I had 37 fights as an amateur, losing six and was a three-time London National ABA Finalist.
What got you into the sport?
My uncle was and still is a professional boxing coach, and was always keen for me to get involved, and eventually I did. My upbringing was a bit diverse, I was into art, I was into dance, I was into a lot of things, but the last thing I was into was boxing, I didn’t even like it. But the family I was brought up in, there were boxing champions in my family, boxers, sporty people – I was always into sport, we were a sporting family. I was brought into boxing through those paths. A lot of people look at boxing as barbaric, but there are two sides to boxing – there’s the barbaric side, but there’s also the sweet science, and that’s what I model myself on
Why Ultimate Boxxer?
I’ve chosen to enter because I think it will be a fun opportunity to showcase my skills and to in the ring who are hungry to succeed. You can’t dodge anyone, and it really does get the best fighters into the final.
Why should we make you the favourite for the UB5 Golden Robe?
I think I have the drive, the skills, the range and the slickness to win. I can’t wait to be on the big stage, and everyone who is coming on to UB5 wants to win. I train like I have a disadvantage, but I have a lot of things in my favour – my height and my reach, but when I’m training, or out on my run, I work like I’m the guy with no height or reach. I wake up at 5am to do the swimming, or the extra running, I make sure my diet is on point.
When you’re training, what’s on the music playlist?
I like to listen to a lot of Motown, old school music!
Who is your favourite sports team, or individual athlete outside of boxing?
My favourite football team would be Arsenal. But I also love dance and art! I studied fine art at Camberwell, and still paint now – I’m teaching my niece and nephew. I was one of 100 amateur fighters who starred in The Fight – a boxing, music and dance performance, conceived by Panamanian-born artist Humberto Velez, and held at The Tate Gallery in London in 2007. I also featured alongside Samuel L Jackson and Margot Robbie in The Legend of Tarzan and also as well as in the Ridley Scott-directed Exodus: Gods and Kings.
Who is your favourite fighter?
A lot of people won’t necessarily know who he is, but it’s Michael ‘Second to’ Nunn. He was the WBA Super Middleweight champion in the early 1990s.
What would be your dream fight, if we could transform your weight, height, or put you in a time machine?
I would love to have had the opportunity to fight Roy Jones at his peak.