After doing very well in the amateurs, what made you finally decide to turn professional? 

was always told that I would be suited to the professional ranks as I had more of a pro style. In particular, I threw lots of body shots that usually didn’t score and I was also better over the distance in a fight, so it was only a matter of time. I think I reached a stage were I learned as much as I possibly could in the amateurs towards the end anyway. My only regret is not getting to represent my country. Definitely something I would love to have done.

From your fights so far as professional, would you say there’s one you’ve learned the most from?

I’m learning with every fight. I don’t think there has been a particular fight that I’ve learned more from than others. Looking back at my first few fights, I used to rush in like a mad man. I’ve now learned to take my time and pick my shots, but I think that’s something you learn when making the transition from amateur to pro. Amateur contests are a sprint, whereas pros fights are more of a marathon. 

Leading up to a fight, what in all does a day typically entail? 

A normal day leading up to a fight usually entails me waking up at about 5:30 a.m., doing a morning road run, going to work at 7:30 a.m., then I go to the gym after work. What I do there varies from day to day, can be anything from strength and conditioning work, sparring, pad work, and technical training. 

What’s the best piece of boxing advice you’ve ever been given.

I’m always getting good advice as I have lots of experienced people around me, but something that sticks out came from Dominic Negus, which was along the lines of learning from other people’s mistakes. He went from boxing in 4 rounders, straight to a 10 rounder for the Southern Area title within just a few fights. Obviously once he won it he had to stay at championship level, whereas he wishes now that he had a few more learning fights before going for a title. So I’ve taken that on board and am in no real rush as I’m mindful of the fact that I am still very much a novice pro! 

Are there any boxing legends from the past that you admired or were inspired by in particular?

I watch and admire many all-time greats, but my favourites tend to be more modern legends. I thought Ricky Hatton was great, never in a dull fight and always real value for money. I also love Miguel Cotto’s style, definitely one of my favourite fighters out there at the moment!

Just the one blemish on your record from when you met Gary Bouldon in your 4th fight. Many felt that you deserved the win that night. When the final bell rang, did you feel that you had done enough to get the nod? How did you feel when the referee raised Bouldon’s hand?

I did feel that I had won the Gary Boulden fight quite clearly and was gutted when the referee raised his arm, but there’s no point moaning about it. It’s boxing, there are bad decisions all of the time. With hindsight, maybe I shouldn’t have had that fight so early in my career, but I want to be the best and in order to do that you feel the need to push yourself and box the best opponents available! I have since learned that it’s all about timing. If I was under the Goodwin promotions banner at the time of the Boulden fight being offered, I don’t think Steve Goodwin would have taken it. Not because he wouldn’t have believed that I would win, but I was the away fighter and would have been up against it for that reason. Gary’s a great guy though and a good fighter, I know him from the amateurs. Maybe we could do it again in the near future! 

You were offered the chance to fight John Ryder last year, but it was at short notice. If given adequate preparation time, would you relish the chance to avenge your narrow amateur loss to Ryder? 

Yes, we were offered the Ryder fight and I was very excited, as was everyone around me, but like I said, it’s all about timing in boxing. It was short notice, so Steve turned it down and said we’d pursue it further down the line. Looking back on it now, it was the right decision. Not because I don’t believe I could have potentially won, but in addition to having short notice, he’s very much ahead of me in terms of experience and I definitely needed a few more learning fights. I have a lot of confidence in Steve Goodwin. I’ll train as hard as I can and will fight whoever he says and whenever he says.

 

Having already negotiated the 6 rounds distance, do you feel you’re close to being ready to box in 8/10 rounders and eventually 12? 

My next fight will be my last 6 rounder and then I will be moving up to 10 rounds, so I’m currently training to be able to do 10 rounds in preparation for that. I do think the longer distance will suit me though.  

 
With talk of Chris Eubank Jr possibly meeting Billy Joe Saunders in a “grudge match” at some point this year, how do you see such a fight going? Are you hopeful of being in a position to be able to challenge the winner by the time they do meet, if indeed they do? 
 
believe I could fight any middleweight in Britain tomorrow and that I’d give a very good account of myself, but there’s a difference between giving a good account of yourself and beating someone. If I’m honest, I don’t think I’m quite ready for the likes of Billy Joe Saunders, but I’d fight Eubank Jr tomorrow! I believe Saunders beats Eubank comfortably if it happens, but I actually think Ryder beats the pair of them! There are of course so many good middleweight fighters domestically, not just the ones mentioned, and I hope to be mixing it up with all these great fighters towards the end of 2013. 

Do you know much about your next opponent? 

My next fight is against Jamie Boness on March 9th at York Hall. I know he has good boxing ability as he won a JR ABA title. He also packs a punch and is on record as having one of the fastest KOs in boxing! He is physically big, very tall and fights at super middleweight. He has been stopped a couple of times, so you could say he has vulnerabilities, but we all aim to exploit the weakness in our opponents. I’m expecting the best Jamie Boness to date. With his strong points and assuming he has learned from any mistakes he may have made, I think it will be a very tough fight. 

 

Not to look beyond Jamie Boness, but you are currently scheduled to face Harry Matthews in April. Assuming everything goes to plan against Boness, what do you expect from Matthews in light of his commendable performance against Chris Eubank Jr? 

I am indeed scheduled to fight 4 weeks after Boness against Harry Mathews for the British Masters title! I haven’t looked at a single video of Mathews yet as I want to be fully focused on Boness, who I definitely can’t afford to look past. All I am doing for Matthews at this point is preparing for 10 rounds so that my fitness is where it needs to be. 

 

Prizefighter: The Welterweights III was quite a remarkable show recently. If the opportunity were to present itself, do you think you might be tempted to participate in a Prizefighter tournament?  

Prizefighter is a great competition. Just watched The Welterweights III and I actually picked Glen Foot to win! Thought he was taylor made for the tournament. I would have definitely liked to take part in Prizefighter earlier on when I had just turned pro, but now that I’m building up to 10 rounds, I don’t think it would suit me. Saying that though, I don’t think I’d say no if I was offered the opportunity. 

What’s the general plan for 2013? 

For 2013, if everything goes to plan in March and April, we could maybe look at a Southern Area title and then try to break into the British top ten. 

Any message for your supporters? 
 
If there was a message to my supporters, it would be to keep following me as I firmly believe I will be involved in some great fights and that I’ll be a champion in the future. Thanks always for the support, because if people didn’t spend their hard earned money coming to watch me, I wouldn’t be able to do something that I love so much Fighting out of Cranham, Essex, Lee “Banjo” Markham 6-1 [2 KOs] is regarded as being amongst the best middleweight prospects in Britain. Coming off an impressive performance against a very game Diego Burton at the “Earthquake is Essex” Goodwin show in December, Lee is now aiming to establish himself on the domestic scene in the year ahead. Definitely one to watch and well-worth a follow on Twitter! @leebanjomarkham
 
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