1st May 2012

3
Daley Ojuederie, ringside at MyGym, London.
By: D.Osborne
Wind and rain lash against the steamed up windows of a gym tucked
away in the depths of North West London.  James Brown blasts out of the
speakers as 27 year old Daley Ojuederie aka ‘Dstar’ hits the floor and
finishes off his gruelling twice a day workout with several hundred
sit-ups.  In barely three weeks, on 20 May, he’ll be fighting at the
gritty home of British boxing: Bethnal Green’s York Hall.
It’s his comeback fight having been a promising amateur beset by
injuries and setbacks that kept him out of the game longer than he
should have been.  This will be his fourth professional fight after a
career representing England against the USA in 2000 and two London and
national championships in 2004. 
A broken rib took him out in 2010 and
now he’s hit the ground running with relentless dedication, an
undeniable punishing training regime, and new management to bring him
back on top of his game. There’s a real buzz in the air and tickets are
selling out, fast.
I catch up with Daley at the boxers favourite, MyGym in Finchley
Central, to talk about life; past, present and future. He’s in a focused
and quietly confident mood; looking lean and relaxed.

The hard work of the last few years has come together.  He’s in the
best shape of his life having adopted a new training and dietary regime
and eager to get back in the ring at Bethnal Green. I asked him how his
weight management is going, “No pressure. We’re right on schedule, we
have no issues with the weight, I’m eating healthily, training
healthily; everything is good.”

Changing his perspective, he said, helped him get back and prepare
for professional fighting. “A few years ago I was naive, I wasn’t
listening to the people around me, I was exhausted from not eating
properly, using saunas, you can’t just starve yourself to get the weight
off. I do everything right now; I train right, I’m in the gym every
morning for three hours solid, then rest and run early evenings. I eat
right and let the weight come off naturally”.

His new found focus has brought him into the stable of well-known
trainer Don Charles who has turned around careers like Dereck Chisora. 
Charles is more than happy with how things are going. He says it was
tough getting into Don’s group of fighters as his focus was with Dereck
and few other fighters but after much persuasion Don told him to come
down and train and if he found him special, he would take him in.

The boy from Watford says that before he entered a gym he knew how to
box.  Fighting was always going to be in him; he grew up in a boxing
family.   He chose boxing to channel the anger and frustration he felt
as a youth, having grown up in foster homes from the age of two with his
brother.  At 14, he was reunited with his other brothers, one being a
former Southern Area Light Heavyweight Champion. He encouraged him and
the inspiration he needed followed, “Starting to box calmed me down a
little bit,” he says laughing, “I’m a calm person anyway but it helped
me to put it all into a positive environment.  I could just let it all
out when I stared going to the gym and I started to get good at it.”
I wanted to know if Daley was the type of fighter who was on the
attack from the off, or if he didn’t mind taking a punch. Bringing up
Floyd Mayweather, “You got it right the first time. Floyd Mayweather,
Roy Jones, I like to counter punch.  The name of the game for me is to
hit and not get hit. I don’t like to take punches; I’m not in the sport
to take punches, I punish people and they got to try and punish me, if
they can.”
Even though he was reluctant to talk about it, Daley admitted that
the controversy around the post-fight press conference brawl, between
Haye and Chisora this year, tarnished the reputation of boxing.  The
reasons for it were obvious he said, “David Hay wasn’t meant to be at
that press conference, it was Chisora’s show, his fight.  He just put on
a good performance and he shouldn’t have been interrupting a press
conference like that.”
Ready for York Hall, 20 May. Photos by: D.Osborne
There have often been suggestions that the fight game is rigged
throughout the years. Is it all about the promoters’ and fight
matchmakers ability to make sure the favourite doesn’t face too tough an
opposition?
“When you got a prospect like myself at the beginning of my
career, it’s about building my experience as a professional until I’m
ready to take the step up to the next level and fight someone undefeated
or for a championship.
“They’re not going to put a dead body in there,
there’s going to be somebody who’s going to give me a test.  If I’m not
on my game I can lose and if I lose, the bigger promoters who are
interested now won’t be interested no more, so it’s my job to make sure I
look good and I beat that guy.”
I brought up Michel Watson and Gerald McClellan to find out what’s
changed since the days of those fighters and was he scared?  “Yea of
course, if a boxer ever tells you, when they go into a ring, that
they’re not scared is lying. 
“Being scared and being nervous is what
makes you perform and if I don’t have it, you won’t perform to your best
ability.”  He felt economics was the mainstay now in boxing,
“It’s not
so much boxing; it’s become more of a business, making money, getting
your name known. It’s like being a kind of celebrity now.  Back in the
day, it was more the boxing and fighting and people coming to watch the
fight but now there are loads of aspects to it.  Look at the Chisora-Hay
thing, it created massive media attention, he was everywhere, now
Chisora is famous of that.”
Will we ever know what makes a boxer take the punches? I tell Daley
you don’t see many rich people trying to get into the ring at York Hall,
“Why is anyone going to risk their life if their comfortable with
money, if you already got it then there is no point.”
So it’s about the money then I ask?  He tells me if things don’t work
out he’s got plan B already in action.
“I’ve got my own recording
studio business with my brother now that’s going well and I’ll have my
own clients as a personal trainer. I’m a big joker, we only live once
and I like to mess around and have fun, maybe acting after boxing one
day, who knows.”
“Everyone has dreams,” he says, getting ready to head home. “You
can’t judge anyone who wants to try something in life. Look at Vinny
Jones, now he’s a Hollywood actor.”
I ask what it is that makes a grown man with a pretty face want to
step into a ring, “I’m a flashy, skilled, fast, hard puncher,” he says,
“Who likes to please a crowd but I’m humble at doing it.  I’m flashy in
the ring but not with my mouth, I like to do the talking in the ring.”
I keep at it and persist; where does his motivation lie:  “I fight for personal reasons. With what me and my brother have been through, hopefully I can get to the top.” Watch this space.
Doors open at 2:00pm
York Hall, Old Ford Road, Bethnal Green, London, E2 9PJ
Tickets available online:
Left Jab Promotions:
Tel: 07979 494950
www.leftjab.co.uk