Matthew Chanda

The super bantamweight division in the UK is bubbling.  There is a high profile around it at present, with the top end being dominated by headlines around the strung out will they/won’t they saga of Scott Quigg and Carl Frampton.  Then there is Kid Galahad who was seen as the avoided third wheel domestically before being issued a ban from the sport for drug usage in controversial circumstances.  Underneath the headline grabbers though there is a rich supply of 122 lbs fighters ready to advance on the top level.  One of those plotting his route is London resident Matthew Chanda.
Chanda is four fights in to his professional career and remains unbeaten.  At 29 year old is ready to start accelerating his progress to make the most of the peak physical years.  He is a good mix of amateur schooling along with age and experience, and he talks me through his years in the amateur game:
“I won the novice ABAs in both the A and B in the nationals.  I competed in the senior ABAs and fought people like Martin Ward and done well against them so I’ve had quality opponents.  I’ve got a gold from the Multi-Nations and the Haringey Box Cup too so I’ve done quite a bit in the amateurs.”
It forms an impressive foundation for Chanda who has found similar success so far in the professional setup.  “I’ve won all my fights quite comfortably, apart from one round where I got dropped” says Chanda, who ate an overhand right in his fourth fight but recovered well to get up and win the contest.  “Most of my opponents have had losing records but they’re decent journeymen.  I fought Dmitrijs Gutmans (2-2-0 at the time) from Latvia and he had represented his country at the Europeans and had a couple of stoppages on his record.  I’ve got one stoppage so far and the rest have been points.”
The fighter believes that as both the competition and number of rounds in his fights increase, we will see more evidence of his ability to halt opponents before the final bell.  “I think with my style and fitness I will get more stoppages, I have my first six rounder in November so hopefully I can show that.”
The next outing for Chanda comes on the November 21st show at York Hall from his promotional team, Goodwin Promotions.  The card is dubbed “The Cartel” and is headlined by Sonny Upton taking on Ryan Toms in an English light middleweight title eliminator along with a packed undercard.  No opponent is set for Chanda as yet but as he explains, his research of future competitors is relatively limited.  “A name has been mentioned for November but it’s not confirmed.  My coach does a lot of the research and I like to see how they box, but I try not to over analyse.  I listen to my coach though, if he has his own ideas I can implement them.  I like a rough idea of how they box but my coach does the planning of it and I trust his judgement.”
The link up with Goodwin Promotions came via a mutual acquaintance who introduced Chanda to head man Steve Goodwin.  “Steve knew Jason Matthews, who is a former world champion.  My coach used to train Jason and he introduced me to Steve.  My coach liked him and I got a good feeling from him, he was honest and can take me to where I want to get to so it was an easy choice.” 
The link up is paying dividends, as Chanda and Steve Goodwin have started to plot routes to titles for the likeable Londoner.  At present both the Southern Area and English titles are vacant in his weight division, meaning that Chanda is looking to accelerate his position to get close to the belts as soon as possible.  “After I have a six rounder in November I’m looking at either getting on to the Southern Area or English title.  There’s Frampton and Quigg at the top end, Gamal Yafai, Lewis Pettitt and Josh Kennedy underneath that so there’s plenty of routes to look at” he states. 
Matthew Chanda
Part of what is helping Chanda reach his goals so swiftly is that he is a consummate professional outside of the ring and ensures that he is never too far away from his fighting weight between bouts.  He tells me that he is a former cross country runner, so finds the sometimes arduous miles out on the road an enjoyment rather than a chore.  Weight is also monitored closely as he explains.  “I walk around after fights at nine stone on, I don’t think I’ve ever seen nine stone three” he laughs.  It means that when training camp does start there are never more than a couple of pounds for Chanda to remove before he is fighting weight.  “I could not train for three months and still be able to get in and spar 12 rounds, I’m naturally fit” he says.

Training for Chanda happens at the Team Sparta 300 Gym in Chingford under the guidance of coach Steve Kipps.  The gym is also the home of upcoming super featherweight Boy Jones Jr (read our piece with him here ), the 18 year old who is making a name for himself with his exciting fighting style and entertaining personality out of the ring.  Does Chanda take the opportunity to get in the ring with the heavier fighter from Essex?  “I spar a lot with Boy Jones, you don’t have to go looking for him!  He likes to have a tear up and he’s awkward as he’s so tall and he likes to switch from inside to out.  He’s a good kid” Chanda tells me. 

Chanda also isn’t a man who is afraid of standing toe-to-toe with opponents, but admits that it always suit how he would naturally like to fight.  “My style is a pressure fighter, coming forwards on the front foot but to be honest I’m actually more comfortable on the back foot, it’s strange!  Nobody ever comes at me though so I have to go on the attack.  Gutmans tried to come at me for a bit but I think he faded – when he came at me I found it easy to counter him with a bit of upper body movement and picking my shots which is what I find it easy to do.”  He also confesses that fighting on the ropes is his most comfortable place in the ring, but something that his coach isn’t always pleased to see:  “I guess overall I’m a come forward boxer as I do like to get on the inside and stay there so I just need to stop myself fighting at range as much!” he jokes.

At 29 years old Chanda now has an opportunity to move his career forwards at a steady pace.  With the rounds increasing in his November 21st fight there is the opportunity to show his fans how the longer format will suit his abilities.  With both the English and Southern area titles up for grabs at present it is a good time for Chanda to put his name into the championship mix over the next 12 months.