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Edgware boxer Ben Ileyemi talks about life as a pro and not pulling punches when sparring with his cousin Anthony Joshua
They may be cousins but Edgware boxer Ben Ileyemi says there are no pulled punches when he steps in the ring with Anthony Joshua.
It was Ileyemi who introduced heavyweight prospect Joshua to boxing six years ago and as a cruiserweight, he does spar with his cousin, who is two years his junior.
“We always push each other in the gym, even in sparring,” Ileyemi said.
“Sometimes you spar with people and you go lightly but with us, it was difficult at first because you didn’t want to throw big shots but now we go hard at each other.”
Ileyemi – like Joshua – is a former Finchley ABC member who is now trained at Tony Sims’ gym in Hainault after turning professional in the summer.
The 26-year-old recorded a second-round knock-out against Austrian Stanislavs Makarenko during his professional debut at the 02 Arena in London on October 5.
And now the 2011 ABA champion is fighting at York Hall in Bethnal Green on Thursday, November 14 against an unnamed opponent. It is a show which will include Joshua and a Britain versus USA Prizefighter event.
“The pro ranks are very different to the amateurs,” said Ileyemi, who was speaking from Joshua’s dressing room on Saturday night after the heavyweight won his second professional bout.
“It’s not that I didn’t learn in the amateurs - because I had two great coaches in Sean Murphy and John Oliver - but now I am in the pros I am learning a lot more about myself as well as the game.
“It is definitely a different type of game; you have to be ready and on the point all the time. You can’t just turn up to the gym and put in 50 per cent; you have to put in 100 per cent all the time in the gym.
“You have to be fully focussed and work hard because that is where champions are made – in the gym.”
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