By Jon Briggs: After featuring the debut of Scott Saward a fortnight ago, Debutant Watch continues the Heavyweight theme as we head north to Manchester to catch up with Tom Aspinall. The 23-year-old has hooked up with the Fury camp and his career will be guided by Peter Fury starting on Saturday night at the Park Hall Hotel, Chorley, Lancashire in a four rounder.
Tom comes from a fighting background and was a three-time British MMA amateur champion and had a promising professional MMA career ahead of him before he decided to turn his hand to boxing after joining team Fury for some sparring sessions last year.
What made you want to start boxing?
“I was already a professional MMA fighter. My Dad, who was one of my MMA coaches got in contact with Peter Fury for some boxing sparring as I didn’t have any heavyweight sparring. Obviously, Peter has heavyweights so we went to the gym, I did some sparring and really enjoyed it. I started boxing just to help my MMA but I actually liked it more so decided to stick to boxing!”
Did you have a boxing idol when you were younger?
“My favorite boxer of all time is Prince Naseem. He was absolute class. He was a bit before my time but my Dad has showed me all the old videos. His movement was amazing and he did things in the boxing ring you just don’t see much.”
Did you do much amateur boxing?
“I was a three-time British Champion when I was fighting as an amateur in MMA but I didn’t have any amateur boxing contests. I did a bit of amateur boxing when I was about ten but then moved onto kick boxing and other martial arts. I couldn’t fight as an amateur boxer now anyway as I have been licensed as a professional MMA fighter.”
How do you know the time is right to turn pro?
“I was doing well as a professional MMA fighter. But there wasn’t a clear path on my MMA career and I was only getting something like one fight a year. I know I am ready to turn pro now, I have been sparring with Tyson and Hughie on a regular basis and have been doing alright against them. I am going to have some learning fights as a pro before I start breaking out into the big fights.”
Do you work full-time alongside boxing?
“I pretty much train full time. Me, my Dad and my brother run Ju-Jitsu classes which I have been doing for years so that brings a bit of money in for me. The plan is to turn my boxing into a full-time career.”
What sort of fighting style do you have?
“I am a good mover, I’m around eighteen stone but for someone my size I move really well on my feet. I will have an elusive style along with my power.”
What ambitions/expectations do you have for your pro career?
“I want to be a world champion. I am not in boxing to mess about, I am in boxing to go all the way! I didn’t go partying during my teens like most people I was busy training and fighting so I am not doing all that for nothing. I have sacrificed so much for MMA and now for Boxing.”