Spiros Demetriou

Spiros Demetriou
When I speak with fighters it is usually a lonely affair.  Me on one end of the phone and a boxer on the other or alternatively a face-to-face conversation when I take up their valuable training time.  For Spiros Demetriou though this is a more crowded affair.  Flanked by a man wielding some impressive looking camera hardware, his coach and another who is frankly built like a proverbial outhouse, Spiros likes to be around people.  That fact was reflected when he made his professional debut back on September 5th at York Hall against old crowd favourite Moses Matovu.  In the compact arena of York Hall, the ‘Team SD’ made themselves heard that night; at times security were keen to keep an eye and make sure that they didn’t get too close to the ring, this was a ravenous crowd.  Being sat near them it felt impressive, so how many did he pack into the 1,200 person venue? 

“We sold about 310 tickets - I have a big fan base because of my old IBA unlicensed fights, they’re quite busy shows” Demetriou tells me.  “Where I own the gym I work in I bring quite a lot down from there, my friends come and support me and a few of my family as well.  I go in to do the job, regardless of who has come to watch me or not, but the fans do make it more exciting for me.”
 
310 tickets is a huge number for a fighter making his debut.  As he alludes to, there is a background to Demetriou that encompassed multiple physical activities.  Firstly there is the gym, MuscleWorks in Stoke Newington.  Demetriou is a part owner of the setup which he admits is a huge advantage when it comes to a training regime.  “I’m always around people training and try to do as much as I can in the day.  Because the gym is half mine I can decide when I want to train, so half of my day is spent working out.”
 
That time spent sculpting himself certainly shows.  When sat around chatting with the entourage he lifts up one half of his shorts that reveal a thigh muscle to put Olympic weightlifters to shame.  Spiros is a short man for the cruiserweight division that he fights in, his natural stance is squat and powerful.  Does the fact that he may have a height disadvantage reflect the type of fighter that his fans will be seeing in the ring?  “My style is short and explosive, I need to get in and do the work then get back out again.  It’s how I’m built, I can’t play a long range game with a taller fighter.  My weight is comfortable and it would be difficult to drop down a division.  I had eleven fights as a heavyweight and I look back now I was quite slow.”
 
Those fights he had as a heavyweight came in the aforementioned unlicensed scene.  Demetriou fought in the IBA (International Boxing Association) which specialises in semi professional events and acts as a breeding ground for aspiring professional talents.  He did compete in one amateur fight prior to this for Edmonton, but came to the sport of boxing relatively late in life.  “I was 22 when I started boxing, I used to do martial arts before I picked up the boxing gloves.  My coach left the country, so I switched over to boxing but then he came back and he’s training me again now” says Demetriou.  That late start didn’t hinder him in the IBA as he went unbeaten in 12 fights, winning nine by TKO and three on points.
 
It was at 25 when he made the transition to professional boxer under the Goodwin Promotions stable.  His first fight against Matovu gave him a platform to show how the hard training has paid off.  How did Demetriou find that debut?  “Moses had a lot of experience on me, I found it hard to keep him where I wanted him but I’ve been watching it back and learning from it.  I could have cut the ring off a bit more, not let him get away from me as much” he says.  Matovu is famed for his in ring antics, such as brushing down the shoulders to show his punch resistance and throwing in the occasional Ali shuffle centre ring.  Did that affect Demetriou on the night?  “It can be annoying when in there, but you’ve got to see past that and don’t let it get to you or lose your head in the ring.”

He took it in his stride, winning a convincing points victory.  There was a clear style to Demetriou that night and one not often seen in a professional ring today; his head movement was constant, permanently off of the centre line and not presenting a target for the opponent.  Bobbing left and right it looked awkward for any opponent to pin down but also looked a very tiring process for the man from Edmonton.  So given that style and the obvious muscle size on him, is it a concern that as the number of rounds in a fight steps up he could suffer from fatigue in the ring?  “Before boxing I used to do a lot of weight training but this last year I’ve switched it up and don’t really touch weights.  I do more circuit, short explosive work and out doing runs.  It’s all still a bit new to me but I’ve dropped four stone and feel much more comfortable at this weight, much fitter” he tells me.  “I’m fit for the longer rounds.  Whatever number of rounds I’m going to fight I double it or triple it in the gym in preparation.”

There is certainly a dedication to his work that is displayed by Demetriou.  We will next see him in action when he takes on another ring veteran Paul Morris (5-30-2) on November 7th at York Hall.  After that the intention is to stay busy, his diary is already booked for another date on December 5th and one pencilled in for March 2016.  “I like to stay busy” he tells me in what is clearly a case of understatement for a young man early in his career.  “Hopefully by the end of the year I will be 3-0 but titles are definitely what I’m in this for” he insists. 

The Goodwin stable has a large number of cruiserweight fighters, including current Southern Area champion Lawrence Bennett as well as a number of unbeaten young boxers.  When I put it to Demetriou that perhaps there is value in the future of an inter-promotional shoot out to find their position in the stable he is all ears.  “Eventually we will all have to fight each other.  Friendships can be put aside, sport’s a sport” he says clinically, not concerned by the fact that he is familiar with a number of the people he may have to fight.

Boxing is a hard career at the start for any fighter; often selling tickets and fitting training around full time work can be the downfall of a boxer on the starting rung of the ladder.  Demetriou has got some obvious advantages in this aspect, able to fit his training, ticket selling and work in one place.  He in undoubtedly a popular man with a good following – come November 7th he gets to evidence the progress of his hours in the gym.

Demetriou wanted to thank his sponsors MuscleWorks Gym, #Blinds, City London Metals and Mr Gel's Barber Shop.