Mark Chamberlain Going For The Knockout
By Cameron Temple
Boxing is back! This Friday boxing returns courtesy of Frank Warren and Queensbury Promotions, with the headline act featuring a clash between Brad Foster vs James Beech.
Kicking off the undercard is the heavy-hitting prospect, Mark Chamberlain.
The show is expected to have added scrutiny, being the first boxing card to return in Britain, which could be a daunting possibility for most 21-year olds, but not Mark.
“I don’t let things like that bother me to be honest.” Mark said, “I know it’s on T.V and people are watching, but when you’re in there, you just completely block it out anyway. Whether there’s an audience or not, you don’t hear them. Say there’s 10,000 people there or one person there, it’s exactly the same noise when you’re in the ring, because you block it all out.”
This will not be the first time Mark has fought in front of a big audience, as he also featured on the Dubois vs Gorman undercard last summer at the O2 arena.
“That was definitely the biggest place I’ve ever boxed. Walking out there, it was a bit different to what I’m used to. I’m more used to Leicester or Brentwood, where there’s about 3000 people, whereas the O2 is about 18,000 people. I know there wasn’t 18,000 people there when I boxed, but it was still a big arena.”
Mark’s fight on the 10th of July will be a step up in level, with his opponent beating a 7-0 prospect last time out.
Despite this, Mark expects a conclusive victory, saying, “On paper, he’s probably the best opponent I’ve had so far, but I’m going to knock him out.”
In terms of his preparation for the fight, Mark made sure to stay fit over lockdown with regular runs, although the coronavirus pandemic has caused some issues.
“As soon as I got the call saying I was boxing in five weeks’ time, I was sort of half fit anyway, but I’ve been in the gym ever since. I haven’t had much sparring because some boys aren’t in the gym and some boys are a bit funny about where they go at the moment, but I’ve managed to get a few spars in.”
While Mark is relatively inexperienced with only five professional fights under his belt, he has been in the sport for a long time.
“I was six years old when I started boxing. My mum took me to a local club up the road, because she didn’t want me to get bullied and she just wanted me to be able to look after myself.”
Growing up in Portsmouth there were not a lot of high-profile professional boxers to act as role models for Mark, but having signed with Hall of Fame promoter Frank Warren, he hopes to become a role model himself.
“There’s a few amateur gyms in Portsmouth,” Mark said, “but, there’s not much going on in the professional side of it. There are pro’s in Portsmouth, but none of them have contracts with big promoters. So, I want to act as a role model now, I think it’s great for the kids to have someone to look up to.”
Mark has ambitions to become a world champion one day and pick up all the other belts along the way, but his real motivation is simply his love of the sport, as he admitted, “I just love it. I’ve been doing it since I was six for no money, so it’s great now that I can earn money as well, but I’m not just in it for the money, I’m in it because I love it.”
To become a world champion, it’s important to have a solid team around you, and as well as Frank Warren, there is another important Frank in Mark’s life, Frank Hopkins, his manager, who Mark cited as his biggest influence.
Completing Mark’s team is his trainer Wayne Batten. “I’ve learned more in the last year with Wayne than I learned in the ten years I spent previously with my amateur club.”
That’s some statement, considering Mark enjoyed considerable success as an amateur, winning a senior elite title in what he described as the highlight of his career so far.
One of Mark’s biggest win’s in the amateurs was over the highly rated Charles Frankham.
A rematch in the professional ranks has all the makings of a great British rivalry given their similar ages, weights and the fact that they fight under the banners of rival promotional companies.
However, Mark was not completely convinced by this idea saying, “I’d fight him again tomorrow if I could. Although, I don’t think that would happen if I’m honest. It might happen in five to eight years’ time if we’re still the same weight and he’s got what I need or the other way around. I’ve ended up with his cousin Josh Frankham, training up at the gym, so there’s no rivalry there in that way, it’s just mutual respect. I beat him fair and square in the amateurs, I think if it was close then there might have been need for a rematch at some point, but there was no need for a rematch because I beat him.”
Such success in the amateurs led to Mark being noticed by team GB, so much so that he was regularly invited to train with them.
“I was getting phone calls to go up there every other weekend for camps for the Commonwealth games and stuff like that. They’ve got their favourites picked already and they just want you for the sparring and I’d had enough of it, coming from Portsmouth all the way to Sheffield. I was wasting a weekend every time and even though it’s good sparring, they’re just using you for sparring and that’s it.”
The lure of potentially becoming an Olympian one day was not enough to stave Mark away from the professional ranks.
“I had no intentions of staying as an amateur, because I could’ve carried on boxing as I was, for trophies and that or I could turn over pro and earn a bit of money and do what I’m doing now.”
Since turning over to the professional ranks, Mark has impressed securing five victories in five fights, three coming by way of knockout, and he believes he has what it takes to compete with those at the top of the lightweight division when the time comes.
“I was supposed to go and spar Luke Campbell just before this lockdown happened.” Mark explained, “just to know where I stood, in terms of what level I’m at. I think I’m up there, because I’ve done good rounds with Josh Taylor before and he’s the weight above me, so I think I’m up there with them. I’ve still got a bit of learning to do, but I improve every session.”
When asked about what we can expect from him in the future, Mark gave a measured response, making sure not to get ahead of himself, as he said, “I’m not too sure, it’s hard to say. Maybe in my next fight or the fight after I might start looking at a title, like the Southern area title.”
“I’m happy with how everything’s going at the moment and I’m just taking it as it comes, there’s no rush because I’m only 21 years old.”