‘Alan Sugar said he’d want me in the trenches now I’m pushing UK’s next boxers’

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    A small part of boxing’s next generation will be promoted by a man capable of putting a smile on Lord Alan Sugar’s face.

    Do not underestimate the power of personality and persuasion in the sport. A cheesy smile, a cheeky chappy persona, and the kind of natural swagger only found in elite salespeople is a sweet skill to have in the sweet science.

    This is where former star of The Apprentice, Tom Skinner comes in. The sweet talking, bed-selling, 5am curry or pie and mash guzzling, Essex boy is guiding a new up-and-coming generation of British boxing stars as one of the captains in the exciting Box Off team format scheme. He will be competing alongside the likes of Ricky Hatton, Johnny Nelson and rapper Jaykae.

    Do not be fooled by Skinner’s charm. This is just as much an opportunity for himself to make his mark in boxing, as it is for his young stars to make themselves known in the ring.

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    “It's simple, really: I love boxing,” Skinner said exclusively to Daily Star Sport. “I want to get behind these talented fighters and give them my platform to help promote themselves. This card is full of talented fighters and The Box Off gives them opportunities without the need to sell tickets.

    “Not only that, but Ricky Hatton, Johnny Nelson, Jaykae and I will support, promote and push them forward, and that's how boxing should be. These are actual fighters who want to succeed in a unique format and that's what I love about it.”

    For those yet to be acquainted by the scheme, the Box Off competition, which was recently approved by the BBBofC (British Boxing Board of Control), will see four teams of boxers take each other on in a bid to win points for their team. The first show takes place on September 16 at the Telford International Centre.

    Skinner is the man with the plan for ‘the London Guvnors’, while Hatton spearheads ‘Manchester Revolution’ Nelson oversees ‘Leeds Armoury’ and Jaykae guides ‘Birmingham Tribe’. Boxing prodigies Sarah Worsfold, Daryl Tapfuma, Michael Likalu, Liam Wells, Robbie Chapman and Julian Wilson will all be guided by Skinner.

    Do you think Tom Skinner would be a good boxing promoter? Let us know in the comments section below

    KSI takes on Tommy Fury at the AO Arena in Manchester on Saturday, October 14th as he hopes to cause an upset. Logan Paul will also be fighting at the event in front of what is expected to be a sell-out crowd.

    From £40 to £2,000

    In essence, this is a competition to bring more eyes to some bright British boxing prospects. Skinner and co have deflected the attention away from themselves onto their fighters at every opportunity.

    However, it would be hard to decry that this is a potential opportunity for Skinner to make a name for himself in boxing. “Look, boxing is my passion and always has been for as long as I can remember,” he said. “I like being involved in the boxing world and running my Bosh! Gym in Brentwood. But the Box Off is not about me, Hatton or Nelson; it's about the fighters, and I love it.

    “We are here to help these raw talents who want to improve. We are getting behind them, and we're pushing them. I'm going to show them how to believe in themselves.”

    Skinner has a huge platform on social media. He boasts 263,500 followers on Twitter and a further 350,000 followers on Instagram. His ability to consume curry or pie and mash at 5am has also seen him endear himself to his fan base.

    “Dino's Cafe really is the best in the world,” he quickly replied when asked about the Spitalfields Market cafe he has helped turn into a national social media sensation. “I've made some of my best decisions in life while eating a sunshine curry at 5am in the morning.

    “I'm not a great sleeper, and I'll get up at 3/4am in the morning and head straight to Dino's, and that's when I want to start work. There is nothing more important than a good breakfast in the morning to fill you up for a hard day of graft.”

    One would imagine his fighters will only be allowed such a breakfast at such an eye-watering time of the day. There will be plenty to learn from the 32-year-old businessman. But there is one thing he will want to pass to his fighters before his sensational ability to start the day with a breakfast that would terrify most.

    It was learned in Lord Sugar’s boardroom and in front of the cameras. If anybody was to doubt Skinner’s chances up against the ruthless figures in the sport, then they evidently did not watch the 15th series of The Apprentice. “I love Alan Sugar, and I really respect him,” Skinner laughed.

    “I think he likes me; he kept me until week nine despite being on the losing team nearly every week of the series. We'd have laughed if we worked together. We would have got on well.

    “When he fired me, I nearly started crying when he said: ‘If I were a general in the trenches, I'd want you by my side’. I thought that was a nice touch. The biggest lesson the Apprentice taught was to keep on grafting, which I have done.

    “In my life, I have never given up, and that's the honest truth; it was only ten years ago that I used to sleep on a pull-out futon on my mum's floor and had no money in my pocket. But I went to work, I believed in myself and grafted. Now I live in a £1 million house and have worked hard for it. In boxing terms, I never had a big promoter behind me pushing me, so I understand everything my team is going through.”

    If he does continue to keep his finger in the always growing boxing pie, he will have one powerful ally in Eddie Hearn. “Eddie is a pal of mine now; he also lives in Brentwood," Skinner explained. "I met him at my mate Johnny Fisher's fight in 2021. I love Eddie and I'd be a good boxing promoter. I am sure Eddie could give me some tips, I also reckon he'd beat me in the ring.”

    To watch Tom Skinner's 'Guvnors' in action in Box Off, buy your tickets here:

    • Boxing
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    • Alan Sugar
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