James Moorcroft: ‘This is my time, there is nothing standing in my way, there are no excuses and I can’t wait to announce myself.’
By Louis Devereux
James Moorcroft is the perfect example of a boxer who has come up the hard way. Training at the famed Gallagher’s Gym under the watchful eye of Anthony Crolla, James has made his name on the small hall shows, often as the away fighter, turning professional after a run on the unlicensed circuit and no amateur experience.
This Friday, however, James gets his biggest opportunity to date. Fighting the 16-0 undefeated prospect Jon Miguez overseas in Spain, James has the chance to boost his career to the next level, and he told me he felt more than capable of doing so.
‘Everything is going brilliant at the moment yeah. I was originally supposed to be fighting in Newcastle in April on the Savannah Marshall undercard, but the guy I was supposed to be fighting pulled out so I’ve basically been in camp for six months now! I’m being trained by the best trainers in the world and feeling really strong; I’m looking forward to seeing what six months of hard work and great sparring does for me. I think it’s going to be a great fight in Bilbao, and it could get the fight of the night.
‘This is 150% the toughest fight of my career. He’s ranked number sixty in the world and I’m 300, but I wouldn’t have accepted the fight if I didn’t think I has what it takes to beat him. It’s going to be a great night.
‘I believe that even though he’s a technically great fighter, I feel like I want it more and I can dig deep to get the decision if it comes to that. I’m going to give it my best shot, show everyone just what I can do, and announce myself on the biggest stage of my career so far.’
The fight is taking place in the Bilbao Arena in Spain, and with it being James’ first fight outside the UK, I was wondering what effect he was expecting that to have on his performance. As you may have guessed, the change of environment has not wavered Moorcroft’s confidence one bit.
‘I think being abroad will work in my favour, to be honest. In my last fight I was the away fighter in Manchester, and being in the away corner did something to me. I knew I was the underdog and that gave me that bit more motivation. I know I’ll be the underdog for this fight too, and I’m happy with that. Even though everyone will expect him to beat me, I take boxing really to heart and I’m going to be the aggressor and really go for him. I’m never in boring fights, I’m all or nothing and I’ve proven that over the years. The fact I’m abroad and the underdog will work in my favour; I just hope that Spain isn’t too hot and that the Bilbao arena has good air conditioning! This is my time, there is nothing standing in my way, there are no excuses and I can’t wait to announce myself.’
A win for James (16-1) as an underdog on a major platform would, without a doubt, open doors for James, and I asked him where he wanted his career to go after this fight.
‘So obviously once I win, I’ll put all my trust into my team to make the next move but they know that I want a title next. Hopefully, when I win, I’ll get given another chance on a Matchroom show, because the domestic welterweight scene is massive at the moment, and there are a lot of good fights to be made. Miguez is a European and Spanish champion, and a former youth world champion so it will be a big win for me. I’m ready to put on a fantastic show.
‘I came from an unlicensed boxing background so my ambition was only ever to win my professional debut, but I’ve always loved the idea of winning a Central Area, an English then the British title and I believe I am capable of that. All I need is the chance to win it because there is definitely a British title in me.’
As always, I rounded off the interview with a couple of quick-fire questions to find out more about James. First up: ‘If you could share the ring with any fighter, past or present, who would you choose and why?’
‘I would love to get in with Joe Calzaghe. He is my absolute idol; my favourite boxer of all time so it would have to be him. I’ve met him a few times before, and that was so cool so to actually fight him and learn from him would be amazing. He did everything without too much sparring because of his hands, and I believe he’s one of the most underrated fighters ever. I know I’d learn so much from him, and it would be fantastic. So yeah, Joe Calzaghe.’
Finally, I asked James the same question I ask every boxer I speak to. ‘How would you like to be remembered?’
‘I’d like to be remembered as a good, honest man and a boxer who never ducked a fight or avoided a challenge. I came up the hard way, almost all of my fights so far have been on the small hall circuit and I’d like people to remember me as a man who never gave up, never listened to doubters, and someone who was determined enough to make anything possible.’