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"I Could See the Fire in His Eyes Went." Asinia Byfield Interview


Southern Area super-welterweight champion Asinia Byfield retained his belt on July 8th, brutally breaking down local favourite Sammy McNess over five rounds, and with it taking Sammy’s unbeaten record. The fight was live on BT Sport and while Asinia delivered a performance which shocked no one at Hellraiser, it will have raised his stock the world over. Hellraiser’s Adam Thorn caught up with Asinia, to see how the pulsating victory was affecting him. The Reading resident, styled “D’Ghost”, is a family man and sounded relaxed and, perhaps obviously, very happy.

Hellraiser (HR): How are you, have you stopped smiling yet?

Asinia (AB): No! Just spending time with the kiddies now.

HR: So what’s the plan, have a little break?

AB: I’ll have a couple of days off then back to work.

HR: What is it you do outside of boxing?

AB: Box! I work at the gym. I’m building my own gym too at the minute. It’s called Team D’Ghost Gym, in Reading. People can contact me via Facebook and social media about it. [Details below]

HR: On to Saturday, you said before exactly how you thought it would go and it did, so I assume you weren’t massively surprised?

AB: No I wasn’t massively surprised. As you saw I predicted every second of every round didn’t I. He it me a couple of times but I didn’t even feel it, I just carried on. I could see him, like, after he hit me, I could feel his energy go up like “Yes, I’ve done it I can go now, I've got him” sort of thing. Then he realised I was still punching, still coming forward, still punching, I could see the fire in his eyes just went. From there on I just knew I’d won. It was just a matter of time.

HR: Do you think the referee should have stopped it in the fourth?

AB: Oh yeah a hundred percent. He definitely should have stopped it in the fourth. I think in the fourth I just came together, I said in the changing room before I felt like it was going to be a special performance. A lot of people heard me say it, I just knew it was going to be a mad performance.

HR: I’d asked you a couple of days before about the occasion, the TV and the crowd and you’d said it was the only thing you weren’t massively sure about, but you looked totally comfortable, is that how you felt as well?

AB: Yeah literally, I felt very comfortable. I said to myself two weeks before the fight, "the only thing that’s going to be a problem, or could be a problem, is the venue and how I’d feel". I knew there was a danger I’d come out and go wow there’s thousands of people, I’m on TV, and get mad excited. So I knew that whole part was going to be important. So I did lots of meditating, we went to the venue after the weigh in the day before, we went to the Copperbox while they were clearing up and getting ready.

HR: So you went to the venue to get a feel for it before you came out on fight night?

AB: Yeah, we went and just stood and worked out where everything was and got used to where the lights would be. I imagined it was full, I imagined everyone was screaming, I imagined that there was a load of abuse being shouted at me.

HR: Did you get any abuse shouted at you as you walked out?

AB: I didn’t hear any. I saw some of his fans on the way in and there was banter but it was all friendly. Walking to the ring I didn’t hear anything except my music! I didn’t hear no fans, I didn’t hear no screaming, I didn’t even hear my fans. All the meditating paid off. When I done that ring walk, believe when I tell you I could not hear a thing, just my music, and me.

HR: The Steve Collins approach?

AB: (Laughs) Yeah! During the fight I still couldn’t, I could only just about hear my coaches and some of the people at ringside like Mickey. At one point I had him up against the ropes and Mickey goes, “he’s open to the right uppercut” and I like nod, I don’t look at him but you’ll see me nod half way through a combination, load up a right uppercut and then land it.

HR: You could see the change because at the end of the fourth you were throwing lots of straights but then you began throwing uppercuts and hooks and that’s when McNess visibly was gone. He stood up to an awful lot, do you think fair play, credit to him for that?

AB: Yeah, but to be fair I expected him to do that. I knew he had a big heart, I knew he would have trained ridiculously hard for that fight, I knew he’d be super fit, but I introduced him to big power and eventually it broke him down. He’s got a big following there, so he was never going to quit. He was getting hit hard so yeah credit to him, he’s a very brave man.

HR: The worry was perhaps that you might punch yourself out?

AB: Look I’m so in control when I’m in the ring, I don’t panic, I can have a conversation with you while I’m fighting. Honestly I can hear advice and respond. “Ok, I realise this, I realise that.” I had him on the ropes, my worry was that he’d throw three punches, I’d block two of them, he’d land one, and the referee will step in and stop me. That was my worry.

HR: You were the away fighter, do you think the ref was going to give the house fighter more chance than you if you got put in the same position?

AB: Absolutely, yeah.

HR: But now that you’ve won a great fight, you’ve been on TV, do you think that now you’ll be in the position to have those home fight advantages as well?

AB: I guess it depends how many people I upset beating Sammy McNess! But I've never had anything given to me and I don't expect it to start now.

HR: Do you know what you’re doing next or are you not thinking about that for a few weeks?

AB: Well, I know there’s been talk about fighting Pigford, for my title, and I understand it's a fight that a lot of people want to see. I think that's a big fight though, he's ranked number three. I'll leave it for Mickey and Frank Warren to sort out.

HR: Would you like that fight to be on TV again?

AB: I’m not really fussed to be honest. A lot of people have seen me now, so they’re asking me on Twitter and stuff, “when’s your next show, will you be out before Christmas”? But if it's on TV great.

HR: Did you see the guy on Facebook who said that you’re now the pound for pound best in England?

AB: (Laughs) I did yeah! That was cute.

HR: It was very sweet of them, yes.

AB: But that’s good, that’s what we want to hear, because had they not made the mistake of putting me in against Sam, I’d be unheard of. But now I’ve shown what I can do it’s going to be a lot harder for people to ignore me. So it’s good that is.

HR: Asinia, that’s wonderful thanks for your time.

AB: Cheers!

Asinia Byfield is on social media (below) and is setting up his own gym in Reading. If you would like to know more about Team D’Ghost Gym, please contact him on the below channels, preferably Facebook.

Facebook: Asinia D’Ghost Byfield

Twitter: @TeamDGhost

Snapchat: @TeamDGhost14

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Rob Tebbutt: Twitter @RobTebbutt

 

Posted: 13th Jul 2017

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