Ashley Theophane: “I Was Just Happy To Prove The Doubters In The UK Wrong”
By Will Lott
Former British light-welterweight champion Ashley ‘Treasure’ Theophane has been fighting for nearly 17 years, globetrotting around the world.
A career which has seen him achieve his dream of headlining in Las Vegas to fighting in the likes of St Lucia and Romania. It has been a serious ride for the Londoner.
Whilst in the middle of a pandemic, Theophane told me:
“I’ve tried to make the most of my time during lockdown. I’ve done some online courses and finished writing my book which is about my life and time in Las Vegas with Floyd Mayweather. I have also been looking for premises online for my new project, Treasure Boxing Club.”
As an amateur, Ashley had an unspectacular career in which he had about 40 fights and a 50/50 record.
A talented and hardworking fighter who just didn’t get the results.
Two years into his professional career and Theophane had suffered two early setbacks. It was this that made ‘Treasure’ more determined to fight abroad:
“Those early two defeats made me more determined to base myself in the USA. I’ve never been a fan of a referee being the judge in a fight. Britain is the only country I know that does that but many fighters are given bad losses and there’s nothing you can do.”
Ashley had gained a reputation for chasing the best fights available, especially when he took on future superstar Danny Garcia in 2010:
“I had just beaten former champ DeMarcus Corley and I was in line to fight Zab Judah at Madison Square Garden which never happened. I was linked to Lamont Peterson, Kendal Holt and Joel Julio. The Danny Garcia fight was the one that got made. If I had won, I would have gotten a 3 fight deal with Golden Boy, that’s why we took that fight. I wanted to fight Kendall Holt but we turned it down and Mabuza took the fight and won.”
Despite the lack of support in management, Theophane secured the prestigious British title in 2011 to put the tough defeat to Garcia behind him and prove his ability to the fans that had questioned him:
“I was just happy to prove the doubters in the UK wrong. I was world number 4 at the time and turned down the opportunity to fight in a world title eliminator vs Randall Bailey, so it was a step back but I knew I would win.”
However, that title was not his only shining light during a tough but impressive career:
“Fighting in my father’s homeland of Saint Lucia, headlining in Las Vegas, fighting for the world championship, opening up the Pay Per View for Floyd Mayweather at the MGM Grand and making my debut in USA are moments I am very proud of.”
Despite a strong record with a good resume including a British title, Ashley spent years fighting without the backing of a promoter. Hence he fought around the world including Luxembourg before finally settling in the USA and securing boxing icon, Floyd Mayweather as a promoter:
“I was already successful before Floyd. That’s a reason why he signed me. I had beaten a world number 3. Been British Champion and robbed against Garcia. He knew I could fight but never had the backing of a promoter. Being based in Las Vegas was a dream come true. Promoted by the pound for pound number one in the world, it doesn’t get much better or bigger than that. I learnt so much about the business, things no one sees or hears.”
Finally, after over a decade in the sport Theophane got his world title shot when he challenged the brash, self – proclaimed ‘little brother’ of Floyd Mayweather in WBA light welterweight champion Adrien Broner.
Despite a stoppage defeat, Ashley takes pride in what he achieved:
“My only regret was that I complained about the low blow. I should have taken a knee. The referee stopped the fight and the crowd booed. He seemed to be the only one that didn’t see it. Everything else, it’s why I started boxing, to fight in the USA and to be in big fights. So mission accomplished. Most fighters never get as far as I have.”
Whether we will see him fight one more time is another question. There has been a lot of talk between himself and Matchroom fighter Conor Benn on social media in recent weeks:
“There’s been no further talk. Benn wants the fight. I’m up for it. It’s up to his promoter if it happens or not. I haven’t fought in London for nine years and England eight so it would be my homecoming and final fight here.”
Whether that fight happens or not, Theophane can certainly take pride in an impressive career:
“In 2002 it took me 8 months to make my debut, I never thought I’d get to 50 professional wins but I have. Working with promoters across the world is the only reason I’ve had a long career or it probably would have been over 10 years ago. Doors and opportunities have always been slim at home. My biggest successes have been abroad.
“I’m content to walk away now as my focus is Treasure Boxing Club. I might fight again, I might not. Depends on the offer.” Best of luck if the Benn fight comes off but if not, enjoy the next chapter.
Photo Credit: Getty Images