Paul Wheeler talks to Tom Ansell, a man who switched from the rugby pitch to the boxing ring
When and why you started boxing:
I began boxing in my first year of university, in order to get fit for the rugby pre-season. I started at Elite Fitness Academy in Hitchin.
Favourite all-time fighter:
Manny Pacquiao is my favourite. He’s a multi-weight world champion and he’s always exciting to watch.
Best fight you’ve seen:
I watched Sugar Ray Leonard vs Roberto Duran II the other day. That was definitely a decent fight.
Personal career highlight:
I’d say that getting my first stoppage is my highlight so far. I stopped Aleksandar Chukaleyski in the second round [in October 2017].
Lee Hallett [w pts 6 – October 2018] was the first southpaw I’d ever been up against, so I’d probably pick him.
Best and worst attributes as a boxer:
My best attribute is my fitness, and my worst is my punch selection.
Always be competitive, either with yourself, your coach or your teammates. By being competitive you’ll achieve better results.
I’m not too sure about my favourite meal. As for my favourite restaurant, that’s a tough one too. I’d go with either The Knife & Cleaver in Houghton Conquest or The Anchor in Aspley Guise.
Best friends in boxing:
I’ve made a lot of good mates in the sport, especially [trainer] Tony Pill and Pill’s Army.
Other sportsperson you would like to be:
I’d choose Owen Farrell or Lewis Hamilton. Farrell is the England rugby captain and he’s achieved almost everything in the game, while Hamilton is already an all-time great in Formula One.
Last film/TV show you saw:
The last programme I watched on TV was MasterChef.
Who would play you in a film of your life:
Whoever plays Mr. Chow [Ken Jeong] in The Hangover, apparently!
Have you ever been starstruck:
I haven’t yet. I’m not really the sort of person to be starstruck.
Last time you cried:
When my son was born.
Best advice received:
Believe in yourself and prove you deserve to be here.
Something not many people know about you:
I used to fight at light-heavyweight.