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From Unlicensed Boxing to Professional Fighting – Paul Hilz
Former unlicensed boxing star Paul Hilz (2-2), 35-years-old from Basildon, took time out to talk to Boxing News & Views ahead of his British Challenge super-middleweight belt fight with the experienced Lewis van Poetsch (4-45) on September 23rd at Grays Civic Hall in Essex.
The contest will take place over eight three-minute rounds on a Carl Greaves Promotions show in his home county of Essex.
Has the training camp gone well?
“Very well. Where my trainer, Kevin Lilley, and Tony Sims are working together now, I was a little dubious at first as to how much work we would get to do under another gym, but it couldn’t have been any better.
I take my hat off to Tony for opening the doors up and throwing me in the mix. I suppose it’s pushed me further and made me work harder without even thinking about it.
On a general day in the gym, we’ve got Conor Benn, Ohara Davies, Ricky Burns, John Ryder, Ted Cheeseman, Craig Richards, Anthony Ogogo, Felix Cash, and Danny Dignum, so there’s probably 10 fighters there that are all top class and are going to be something.
I look at what I’ve done over the last six or seven weeks and can’t see how anyone else could have the opportunity to train like I have, it’s been the best one yet.”
What are you like during the final week?
“Horrible mate! My missus hates me on fight week, I think I walk around in a bubble and that I’m all happy but I’m not!
It’s a funny feeling because you look forward to it all, I think most boxers have got a screw loose in some aspect, for me, it’s the end of a three month campaign, although I’ve been training for over five months, so fight week, for me, is like the finishing line.
It’s a bit daunting because I want to get across to the fans, who spend their hard-earned money, and my sponsors what I’ve been working hard on. I’ve got 8×3 minutes to show everyone, and that’s all. That’s the where the pressure comes in but I like that because I want to prove it.”
Can the crowd expect to see anything different from you in this fight?
“I’m someone who is not really good at studying myself but my trainer Kevin said I’ve outclassed myself this time.
I asked what his concerns might be, because we are going into an eight-round title fight, and he said that it’s the best I’ve ever seen ya, and I’ve got nothing to tell you to do because you’re on it!
It’s all positive and that’s the attitude I want to take into the ring. It has all happened for a reason and now it’s my time.”
(Paul in training)
You fought for the British Challenge belt last December losing out on points to Scott Douglas, does that last fight play on your mind at all?
“It does. The Scott Douglas fight, I went in there and tried sticking it on him from the first round, and that was my downfall.
It’s just all experience and can only help for me on the next fight.
It plays on my mind bad because I put myself on a massive stage in an eight-round title fight. There were people that said I was put in for it too soon, but I’m a 35-year-old man and I told Kev that I’m a big boy and I wanna’ do the title fights and the most rounds possible.
I asked too much from my body that night and I felt sick from pure exhaustion, but now you have to think, you step off, and don’t just keep walking forward and forward. I think that’s what I did in the unlicensed, but in the pro game every shot counts.
But that is in the past, I know what’s it’s like to lose on that stage and to see someone else lift that belt, and it ain’t happening again!”
Is there anyone that you would like to mention?
“I want to, first of all, say a massive thank you to my missus, she’s been a rock for me through this camp, she deals with everything else for me and that’s the backbone to my training, she deserves a medal!
Thanks to my trainer Kevin Lilley and Tony Sims and all the boxers from the Matchroom gym. To my sponsors, it’s not easy financially and they help me out massively, Lucy from Timebomb Tattoos, Mark Fountain, Ripped Gym.
And a big thank you to everyone who buys tickets, it’s not a cheap night out and they come out in support so it’s not possible without them.
It makes me believe when they believe in me, and it’s a touching thing.”
(Note: Image courtesy of article author Tim Rickson)