Kirk Garvey Interview
Six foot four inch light-heavyweight Kirk Garvey believes it won’t be too long before he’s towering over Britain’s 175lb division.
The 22 year old from Clapham, south London bagged 11 national amateur titles – including the 2012 senior English ABA crown – and once scalped Olympic medallist Anthony Ogogo.
This Wednesday, the skilful and mobile box-fighter begins his professional journey in a four rounder at the York Hall, Bethnal Green.
Watch the whole show live and exclusive – headlined by Frank Buglioni’s comeback against Sam Couzens but also featuring the English superfeather title clash between unbeaten rivals Mitchell Smith and Peter Cope plus a host of quality prospects – by tuning into BoxNation, the Channel of Champions from 7pm Wednesday evening on Sky Ch.437 (HD490)/Virgin Ch. 546. Join at www.boxnation.com
Recently boxing writer Glynn Evans interviewed Kirk to gather some background information.
Name: Kirk Garvey
Born: St Thomas Hospital, Waterloo, London
Family background: I’m the youngest of four. I’ve two sisters and a brother Rob who got beat in the London ABA final this year, his fifth one. He won NABC titles and boxed for England at the World Juniors and European Juniors.
We’d put the gloves on and spar in the house which always ended with us getting told off. He’s a year older and usually got the better of it. He’s only a middleweight so now I’ve caught him up and overtaken him.
A granddad on my mum’s side boxed, as did three uncles. Dad is one of 12 brothers! The family’s originally from Brixton but I’ve lived in Clapham Common since I was 10 or 11.
Trade: I work with Dad and an uncle. Their company make furniture from scratch. It’s taken me all around the world, Kuwait, the States, Mallorca.
Nickname: Not yet. Let’s wait and see.
What age did you become interested in boxing and why? Dad used to go to the boxing gym to keep fit so I’ve been around boxing gyms since the age of about five. I didn’t really start enjoying it and taking it seriously until I was about 13 or 14 and won my first national title.
What do you recall of your amateur career? I only ever boxed for the Earlsfield club. I was coached by Sid Khan and had 112 amateur contests losing just 14. I beat the likes of Anthony Ogogo, John Ryder and Frank Buglioni, though Ogogo did beat me back in the 2010 senior ABA semis.
I won the national Golden Gloves, three junior ABAs and the NABCs. I won the Four Nations twice and the Three Nations three times. As a senior, I got to the national ABA final twice, losing on points to (unbeaten pro) Hosea Burton in 2009, then beating Peter Bevington in 2012. That was definitely my amateur highlight. It had always been my aim since I was a kid and it took me four gos!
I must’ve boxed for England about 20 times. When I was 16 or 17, I won a bronze at the Commonwealth Youth Games in India and boxed at several other multi-nations. I went on a couple of assessments with the GB team when I was younger but never got picked which was a bit frustrating.
But overall I really enjoyed the amateurs. There were frustrating times, of course, but Earlsfield was a fabulous club.
Why did you decide to turn pro when you did? Once I’d achieved my goal of winning the senior ABAs I thought the time was right. I wasn’t getting anything, GB wise, so thought I’d just be wasting my time if I continued. I wanted to win world titles.
Tell us about your back up team: I’m managed by George Warren and promoted by his dad Frank. I’ve always been interested in the Warrens. Frank was always the main name when I was growing up and he does well for his fighters.
I’m coached by (former European featherweight champion) Jim McDonnell over in Essex. I was introduced to Jim by (‘man about amateur boxing’) Ron Boddy when I was still amateur. We had a few sessions and I really enjoyed working with him. I trained with him for a year before taking the plunge (to the pros).
Jimmy’s got a great personality. He’s pretty relaxed but works you hard and makes sure that you’re 100% fit. I also get to spar with ‘Chunky’ (ex Olympic champion James DeGale) plus Louis Adolphe.
Jimmy’s good on all fronts but a guy called Terry helps out a bit with the strength and conditioning.
What’s your training schedule? Which parts do you most and least enjoy? I train at Jimmy’s five mornings a week then do a swim or a run on my own at the weekend.
I get to the gym before Jimmy and warm up. You never know what he’s got in store for us until he arrives. A regular session would include bags, pads, strength work and weights but Jim chucks in some other crazy stuff. He gets us moving our bodies in some weird ways with weights.
Sparring is the best part of training cos that’s when you discover what works for you and what don’t. I spar a lot with ‘Chunky’ but also work with some good light-heavies and cruisers down at the Earlsfield gym. Occasionally I go across to Fitzroy Lodge as well.
My least favourite part of training is Jimmy’s long runs around Hampstead Heath – killers (!) – and the sprint work on the track in Essex.
Describe your style? What are your best qualities? I’m essentially a clean, tidy boxer with a good jab and a nice right uppercut. Because of my height (6ft 4in), I prefer to keep things long and rangy but I can mix it up, if need be. I like to think I’m quite adjustable.
What specifically do you need to work on to fully optimise your potential as a fighter? I think you’d have to ask Jimmy Mac! I watch myself back on tape a lot and try to improve on every aspect, every day.
What have you found to be the biggest difference between the pro and amateur codes? The training is a lot different, obviously; far harder and more intense. We trained hard at Earlsfield but, for the pros, there’s a far greater emphasis on strength work. The amateurs are more about using speed to nick points.
Who is the best opponent that you’ve shared a ring with? It would have to be James DeGale. He’s super quick, has great movement and is naturally awkward. You’ve no idea where his shots are coming from. He’s a bit of a pain!
All time favourite fighter: Rocky Marciano. Perfect record. So often he seemed to be losing yet always came back to knock the opponent out.
All time favourite fight: Gatti-Ward I. Unbelievable. Back and forth, back and forth.
Which current match would you most like to see made? I guess it’d still be Mayweather-Pacquiao. They’re both slightly past their primes but it’d still be a brilliant fight. I’ve always thought Mayweather would beat him. He always finds a way.
What is your routine on fight day? I’ll usually get up around 8ish and have some porridge, honey and bananas. After walking that off, I’ll lay down and rest. I’ve no real superstitions or routines.
The fight creeps into your mind and you keep going over it and over it. I’ll try to talk to people and may even read the paper or a book. I’m quite a relaxed, laid back fella anyway so it’s not too difficult for me to chill.
At the arena, I’ll put my music on, maybe have something small to eat again and I’ll take in water. I try to save my energy but when I need to be aggressive I can be. The nerves and adrenalin take care of that.
Entrance music: ‘Feeling Good’ by Nina Simone.
What are your ambitions as a boxer? I’ve not really set myself any time scales but ultimately I want to win all of the titles; Southern Area, English, Commonwealth, British, European and World!
How do you relax? I quite like to go to Richmond Park for a picnic with my girlfriend and, sometimes, my niece and nephew. I also hang about with my cousins. We might play a bit of football on the common.
Football team: Tottenham since I was a young kid, though I’m not sure how it came about because everybody else in the family is Chelsea.
Read: The last book I read was Tyson’s autobiography which I really enjoyed. I also read the Boxing News plus The Sun and The Daily Mail.
Music: A bit of soul.
Films/TV: I like horror and comedy movies though my favourite film of all time is definitely Rocky! On TV, I mainly watch sport. I also watch ‘Man Versus Food’. I do love my food!
Aspiration in life: To have a nice family – three kids – a nice big house and to earn plenty of money.
Motto: Winners never lose. Losers never win!