Jordan Joseph

Father and son combinations are a hard balance to maintain in boxing.  Famously Floyd Mayweather Jr and his father Floyd Mayweather Sr have suffered their stresses over the years, leaving them at times separated from each other as Jr prepared for his big fights.  Ultimately the two reconciled towards the end of the unbeaten fighter’s career, but it wasn’t without its ups and downs.  For young Jordan Joseph, 20 years old, his dad has played a pivotal role in guiding his boxing career.  For Jordan, his father made it a sink or swim scenario from the start as his dad tells me:

“He was like a welterweight coming on light middle, he wasn’t as big as he is now (Jordan stands well over six foot).  Don (Charles) had a fighter that he had been training for a while who was 19 and a very good amateur.  I asked if Jordan could spar him and Don asked me if I was sure, the lad was two weights heavier than him.  I said ‘that’s alright, we’ll do it’.  We made arrangements for the sparring, I gloved Jordan up and put his head guard on and he said to me ‘where’s my gum shield?’  I said ‘no gum shield – if you don’t move your head you’ll get your teeth knocked out’.  He agreed to it, got in the ring and annihilated the kid.”
 
It may have been fear of visiting the dentist following the sparring session that spurred Jordan on that day, but either way it showed his dad that there was a potential future for him.  “My dad’s old school, he puts me in the deep end” laughed Joseph when looking back at the situation.  Now heading towards his fourth professional fight on November 21st, Joseph didn’t have a long amateur career and took the step towards professional boxer at a young age as he explains.  “I didn’t have much amateur background, I had six fights.  I started boxing to box professionally so we got there as quick as we could.  I turned professional at 19, last September, but had my first amateur bout at 16.  I was training when I was just turning 14.”
 
His dad explains to me that Jordan wasn’t the archetypal child that would step into a boxing gym.  There are no stories of using the training to drill in discipline or keeping him away from trouble; for Jordan Joseph the choice was all of his own volition to start boxing training.  I am told he was a good artist as a child, excelling in sketch work.  It was a different type of canvas though that sparked the imagination of the young man from Hemel Hempstead.  Only six months into his training and still only 14 he told his dad that being a professional boxer was his aim.  “He was still quiet, a bit reserved” his dad tells me.  “He did have his moments though, he was a boy after all!”
 
Boxing runs in the bloodline for Joseph – his dad not only trains him at Don Charles’ gym but was also a professional boxer himself.  “I turned pro at 19 and had about 35 or 36 fights.  I won most of them but never got the decisions, close fights.  On my record I have won just over half.  I’m a South African and in South Africa the pro’s and amateurs in my days used to train together.  The amateurs were used as fodder for the pro’s.  You had to learn how to duck and dive, move out your way and use your hands, and that’s what I’ve tried to teach to Jordan and why I’ve started him from a young age sparring with men to give him the experience I had.”
 
It was at 15 when Jordan started to work with his dad’s clients.  As a personal trainer and professional boxing coach, his father was able to provide sparring partners for his son – he tells me that Jordan was more than capable of holding his own with those of a higher age bracket.  So, as a former professional fighter himself, has Jordan and his dad ever stepped into the ring together?  His dad tells all:
 
“Jordan has always been two different people – the guy training outside the ring and the guy that walked inside it.  I saw he had the killer instinct in him, so I decided to have a move around with him for a few sessions, just to teach him a few moves.  I gloved up myself, thought I would give him a bit of a test.  He tried to knock me out!  I said ‘Jordan you tried to knock me out!’ and he said ‘Dad, it’s business’.  From that day I knew he had something inside him and that’s why I’ve let him do it.  It’s a hard business and we agreed he has two years in the pro game and I he’s not going anywhere he’s coming out.”
 
It takes a certain type of clinical individual to wilfully try and knock out your own flesh and blood in a sparring session!  In his last fight Joseph was able to demonstrate in front of a crowd that spitefulness when he scored his first stoppage victory, claiming a first round knockout against Csaba Vinisback in June of this year.  “It was my third fight and I won by knockout in the first round landing a nice uppercut.  I love that shot!” he tells me with a gleefulness that shows his love of being able to halt an opponent before the final bell.
 
That victory moved Joseph onto a professional record of two wins, no losses and a draw.  The draw came in his debut.  “I think I won the fight but it doesn’t matter now” he tells me in his laid back demeanour.  Joseph has a baby face about him, tall and well built.  He is softly spoken and at six foot two with youth on his side could well outgrow the light heavyweight division that he is currently fighting in.  But before there are any thoughts of that he has some lofty ambitions within the domestic scene for the next 12 months. 
Jordan Joseph
“I want to be coming up towards the British title in the next year” he says.  “I’m not looking to stick around and do nothing for a while, I want to push forward.  I’ll take it in stages through the traditional routes but there aren’t that many light heavyweights about and I think I can move on.”
Joseph is under the promotional and management guidance on Goodwin Promotions.  The relationship is an organic one, with Joseph’s dad having a longstanding background with the head of the promotional outfit, Steve Goodwin.  Their story covers far more than just the boxing industry as he tells me.

“Steve and I go back almost 30 years – I’ve known him from being a mortgage broker and financier, the whole thing.  I must have been his third or fourth client when I got my first mortgage and we’ve been friends ever since.  Our children are around the same ages and Jordan used to actually spar with Josh (Goodwin, Steve’s son).  Steve has known Jordan since being a baby and now Steve in five years has become the third best promoter in the country.  He knows Jordan and he knows me, we’re all honest between each other and I would rather go with someone who is honest and will look after my son than anyone else.”

With the relationship in place with a promoter and manager that has Jordan’s best interests at heart, there is also top class sparring available within the team.  Joseph, although trained by his father, does his work at the gym of Don Charles who has famously worked with the likes of Dereck Chisora down the years.  Now he has two charges under his wing in Nick Parpa and Jose Lopes who are both undefeated cruiserweights and often spar with Joseph.  “I like to think I’m a slick boxer but if I need to step forward and fight then I can do that too” he tells me.  “It depends who I’m fighting, I can do quite a few styles if I have to.  Don Charles always brings in different styles for me to spar with so it’s good.”

It is the love of boxing and being in the ring that motivates Joseph.  As he tells me, “I want to be the best at it”.  He has time on his side and on November 21st will be taking on ring veteran Elvis Dube (6-42-2).  “I’ve watched one or two of his fights and he looks ok, it will be a good fight.  He’s a strong journeyman who’s had over 50 fights and he works hard” says Joseph while looking forward to getting back in the ring at York Hall.  So who out of the team is busy researching the next opponent?  “Dad looks over their styles and records, I just get given a name!” confesses Jordan.

Dube will provide a stern test for the young fighter.  It is opponents like Dube that will test the fortitude of the man and be able to take him through the rounds.  Although he may have lost 42 fights, only four of those have been by way of stoppage.  If Joseph were to stop him it makes a huge statement.  The clock is ticking on his dad’s two year timeline to make an impression on the sport; a little over 12 months in and this will be his fourth professional outing.  A win here and Joseph can start to look at building towards his aspirations of British title level.  There may be a long journey ahead yet to get there, but he has the right guidance and support around him to push on through the tests that will inevitably come his way.  If he can handle them with the same clinical nature that he handled his dad in the gym, a bright future could lay ahead.