I speak to boxer Alex Bishop on the most intense, high-pressure week of his life, but he couldn’t sound more relaxed. In fact, one of the first things he says is, “I just really wanna get it out the way and eat a big burger“. Alex is currently training for his first professional fight on June 30th at York Hall in Bethnal Green, “It’s been a long time coming, I’ve had a pretty long amateur career and now I’m stepping up to the big league.”
Alex is doing vigorous training, “I’ve been training twice a day for 5 days a week. This week will be the hardest as you don’t want to train too hard the week before a big fight as you could get injured or too tired.” And the burger he’s craving comes as no surprise as he’s been living on lean meats, fruit and vegetables for a while.
Music plays a big part in the life of a boxer. It can be used to motivate and unwind and of course, there are those renowned ring entrance songs which pump up the fighters and the audience. There are endless playlists for this purpose. Alex Bishop loves music, “Lately I’ve got into UK rap. Back in the day when I was younger, I listened to a lot of grime, then American rap like Drake and now I’m shifting back to the UK stuff: J Hus, Yxng Bane, Not3s.” He still likes Drake and mentions the new Post Malone album.
I ask that all important question, what track has he decided to play for his ring entrance? He replies calmly, “For my fight, I’ll decide the day before or on the day or what I’m gonna walk out to. A lot of people plan it in advance, but I’ll see what I like most at the time. There are a few songs that motivate me. ‘Sit Back Down’ by Not3s. That’s top of the list right now.”
And what artist would Alex love playing live at one of his fights dead or alive? “Michael Jackson – I would like him to be there.” We both ponder on what he would sing and I come up with ‘Beat It’ which is pretty ideal.
So how did it all begin for Alex? “I wanted to start boxing when I was 4 or 5. My sister used to do ballet every week and me and my mum used to wait for her to come out and in the room next door there was a boxing session so I used to see them walk in.” He says, “It started in the summer of 2009. I was 14 years old and it started off quite casually. Just 1 day a week then I realised I had a bit of a talent for it and decided to change gyms. I went to the Finchley Boxing Club which is the same gym Anthony Joshua used to play at and that was a massive motivation for me.” He continues, “That club left the England Boxing Association which meant anyone that boxed there couldn’t box for England so I moved to another club. I had my first few fights, got named the best boxer of the night for the first 3 fights. In Sweden, I did ‘King of the Ring’ and I ended up winning that belt and won again the year after.”
I wonder what he would be doing if he hadn’t gone down the boxing route, “Growing up I was quite fond of athletics and the 100-meter sprint was my main sport but then I discovered boxing.”
And how does Alex switch off before and after a fight? “I can switch off definitely“, he says, “I like chilling out, the lazy stuff. I enjoy listening to music and watching TV.” He comments, “Saturday is always my full rest day when I get to unwind and chill out. My friend moved near to my town recently so we chill out and listen to music.”
We discuss who Alex would like to play him should they make a film about his life. He says almost immediately, “Michael B. Jordan. I think he’s young, relevant and current. He’s a varied actor and in ‘Creed’ he already played a boxer.”
Who are Alex’s boxing idols? “Muhammad Ali, I look up to him a lot. Floyd Mayweather and Anthony Joshua – those are my top 3.”
Alex Bishop is an ambassador for the No 1 decentralized music platform Potentiam. He will be making his professional debut at The Big Bang at York Hall, Bethnal Green on Saturday 30th June at 3 pm.
Find out more and book tickets here.