Robbie Chapman Interview
By Oliver McManus: Robbie Chapman will enter the ring as a professional for the second time when he fights at Tottenham Green Pools and Fitness as part of the undercard to Steve Goodwin’s stellar card topped by Jumaane Camero vs Jeff Ofori.
I caught up with Robbie just the other day and here’s what he had to say to me –
So, Robbie, how did you first get into boxing?
I first got into it after going to the park with friends after school, we took 2 pair of gloves and fought each other. From that moment I was hooked. We used to play football at princes park every Saturday, but after that first time we boxed every time, after that we took the boxing gloves and just did boxing, I fought everyone and anyone that wanted to. I loved the buzz of fighting in front of the crowd, the bigger the better. Then I decided I wanted to go to a real boxing gym and give it a go, I heard of a gym in Chalk Farm called St Pancras so one day I just turned up.
Was there a particular moment where you realised you could turn professional?
I had always wanted to turn pro, but I didn’t really think it was something that would happen. When I was young I wanted to be a professional footballer so I just thought turning pro was something you didn’t really think about. But once I started to have more amateur bouts – I probably had around 20 – and then I knew other people were turning pro and I was sparring professionals and doing well I thought it was something I could do.
Let’s talk about that debut then, how did you feel going into the fight?
I was so excited going into my debut. The night before the fight I felt like a kid on Christmas Eve. It felt like I had been waiting for the day for 7 or 8 years. It was at York hall a venue I had always wanted to fight at. The thing I like most about boxing is fighting in front of a big crowd, in my amateur fights the most people I had ever brought to watch me fight was around 40-50 people and the atmosphere was amazing, but when you turn pro you have to sell a lot more tickets than that, so I was looking forward to fighting in front of all the people who came to support you.
And once you were in the ring did you find it easy to put your game into place?
The guy I fought was a very experienced southpaw, which can make things tricky, but I managed to get off the work I wanted to do. So I would say it was a good learning fight.
Do you think the six years as an amateur made it easier to transition into the paid ranks?
6 years in the amateurs definitely helped the transition to the pros. For one thing, although I love to fight in front of big crowds it can make you do silly things – fight for the crowd as they say – something I’ve been said to do by my coaches, I like to entertain the crowd, but sometimes that’s not always the smartest thing to do, but after 37 fights as an amateur it taught me that’s not always the best thing to do and sometimes you have to be a bit more intelligent Also after 20 fights in the amateurs you step up from fighting 2 minute rounds to 3, 3 minute rounds. And it takes a few fights to get used to the 3 minute rounds, so if I hadn’t had those 17 fights with 3 minute rounds it would’ve made it a lot harder!
You’re next out then in October, how many fights would you like to get each year?
Mate if it was up to me I would fight every week, in the amateurs at one point I WAS fighting every week, sometimes twice in a week. Obviously that can’t be done, but more realistically I’d like to fight every other month so get 6 a year in, but unfortunately it’s hard to sell the tickets so I will probably be looking at fighting 3-4 times a year.
Up against these journeyman, no disrespect, how much can you learn and how much is it about getting experience?
The way I look at it, fighting these journeymen (some of which are extremely experienced) all bring something different to the table. They all teach you something. Some be be very good at not getting hit, some can be very good at taking away your best attributes, some can be good at surviving when hurt, some can even be very aggressive, so a term used is “serving an apprenticeship” which I would agree with if you take something from all of the fights you can use it if ever needed down the line in more challenging fights,
Currently fighting at middleweight, is that a long-term weight or are you still finding the one that suits you best?
In the long run I will either stay as middle weight or maybe super middle, but we’ll see how my body develops, and what feels right.
Looking at the prospects around you, what do you think separates you from the rest?
I think I have an extremely addictive personality, so whatever I do I can get a bit obsessive and go over the top, so in the past if I was trying to earn money, I would do 16 hour shift every day to make money, if I was eating unhealthy I would eat enough for 5 people, but if I’m training and thinking about a fight, I will be obsessive about that.
How quickly do you want to get into those 50-50 fights that can really push you on towards a title?
For myself I would only like to fight another couple of journeyman – 3 maybe 4 max before I start fighting 50/50 fights, but ultimately it’s up to my team, my promoter/coach/agent, they’ve been in the game longer than me and they probably know better than me, but I would like to just have a couple more learning fights and then try to step up.
I want to fight in big arenas in front of big crowds, and that will only happen when I step up opposition. I actually like the old school style of boxing, where people would always fight 50/50 fights, and if they lost they would pick themselves up dust themselves off and go again.
But unfortunately boxing has changed a bit so that people just want to protect they’re 0 and if they lose people start saying they should retire.
Talking of titles, then, are you still targeting the Southern Area for your first belt?
Southern area is the first title I think I will be challenging for. I have always said I’m not overly in to winning titles I’m more for the good fights that I will remember for ever, and fights that people that support me will enjoy. Titles will probably bring them, so I will be trying to challenge for titles, but it’s not my only motivation in boxing. If that makes sense? (It does Robbie, it does!)
There we have it, then, that’s the Camden Caretaker, as he’s known, Robbie Chapman who is a downright gentleman, a supremely talented boxer and certainly one to keep an eye on – he’ll be out next on October 13th and it’s surely only a matter of time before we see him in the big fights.