“I just fell into it really. I remember watching a documentary about bare-knuckle boxing and travellers and it had someone singing Hank Williams!”
The weeks following a decorated amateur’s decision to transition into the paid ranks are normally filled with a plethora of media appearances, however, MTK’s new signing Jordan ‘The Wanderer’ Reynolds instead took the trip to Malawi to give back and embark on ‘a lifechanging experience’.
The decision is indicative of Reynolds’ character, someone who clearly prides himself on being a source of inspiration and a positive influence on the younger generation.
Reflecting on his experience in Malawi, he told BBTV: “I’ve always heard people talking about how they want to make a difference and I just thought, I have two weeks off so I’ll go over there. It was a real eye-opener, the things I saw were unbelievable.
“I thought I’m going to go there and give myself, they haven’t got anything over there at all, literally nothing. All they do is work 12/15 hours a day, hard graft for one meal for their family and then they have to wake up the next day and do the same.
“I raised a few grand and I had a lot of donations to help build hospitals and for medical stuff there. We went to loads of villages where we were getting a hundred to a thousand people gathering and we just entertained them with boxing, getting people out from the crowd and having little spars with them.
“There are a few boxers out there and they’re still sending me videos now. They were so happy and so grateful, Malawi really stole my heart, I would love to go out there once a year. It was unbelievable. I think when you do things like that it keeps you grounded and humble.”
The benevolent nature of the 25-year-old isn’t limited to overseas charity, speaking at schools across the UK also provides him with much fulfilment.
Revealing it’s something he plans on keeping up as he progresses through the professional ranks, he said: “I’ve done it all across the country, I think it’s great, it builds character and I just thrive off the buzz that the kids get from it.”
A desire to spread positivity perhaps stems from the fact that a ‘rough and ready’ childhood in his hometown of Luton saw him witness the grittier side of life. It also played a key role in what led to him having a burning desire in representing the town in the best possible way.
“I’m born and bred in Luton and putting the town on the map is what it’s all about.”
He added: “It’s also about inspiring the younger lads. When I was young, you would have a fistfight or throw stones at cars, now kids are stabbing and killing each other. So I try my best to be a positive influence and inspire kids on my journey.
“Not even just in my town but in other places as well, people will be able to relate to my story and hopefully, it will give them some hope.”
Furthermore, the timing of the former Senor ABA Champion’s move into the paid ranks couldn’t be better, as plans progress for a much-needed new 17,500 multi-purpose stadium in his hometown.
Inevitably a defining night at the new stadium is something Reynolds is yearning for, as soon as it’s possible: “Barry McGuigan done it in Luton Town years ago, so it’s only right I bring boxing back. Can you imagine having a big football match there and then after a big title fight? It would be unbelievable.
“And if It’s there to be done, which it is, I’ll do it. If the stadium gets built, which it needs to be as we have outgrown the old stadium, I’m all over it.”
That being said just showcasing his craft back in England is something that excites the former GB amateur: “The reaction since turning pro has been great, I haven’t boxed in England for years and all the lads, all the people around my area, they can’t wait.
“When I was boxing for GB, I was always boxing in Russia, Belarus, all over the world, so it’s good to be back home – I’ll get good crowds for my fights, it’s a real buzz.”
Having boxed at the highest level as an amateur, Reynolds is wasting no time is seeking out the special nights as a professional, already eyeing a potential clash with Stoke favourite Nathan ‘Hitman’ Heaney.
“I think I’d school him, I’m confident in my ability and I think it’s a good fight for me. People follow boxing for the big fights, the exciting fights, they want to see the young prospects fight each other.”
The undefeated Heaney and his fanbase went viral at the end of last year, following a video of his ring walk as he orchestrated his fans in a rendition of Stoke anthem ‘Delilah’.
The video prompted Reynolds to envision just how good the atmosphere would be if he and Heaney were to collide: “He’s a down to earth kid and it would entertain the fans, so why not? Stoke vs Luton – it would be such a buzz, it would make great TV and the atmosphere would be incredible.”
Although his devotion to boxing is unquestionable, Reynolds’ passion, which he possesses in abundance, also transcends to music.
“I just fell into it really. I remember watching a documentary about bare-knuckle boxing and travellers and it had someone singing Hank Williams, a proper weird country sound and I just loved listening to it, I remember I used to play it on the way to training at West Ham.
“From the country, I moved onto Elvis and I was quite inspired by him and the way he held himself as an 18-year-old kid – he was different and he stayed different and stayed true to himself. The whole world took to him, it inspired me to stay true to myself. I just love the sound, it’s a good story and it’s happy music.
“In the gym, I listen to jazz because of its rhythm, but before a fight I listen to happy 50s music and love songs,” he added.
Reynolds’ journey is temporarily paused due to the global health crisis, but when it resumes and his transition into the professional ranks commences, he’s fully confident in not only his own ability but also in his partnership with MTK Global to guide him to the top.
Although there’s a lack of clarity around when boxing will return, it’s emphatically clear that when the charismatic Lutonian is unleashed on the professional game, he has all the right ingredients for an incredibly bright future in the sport.