A flipping success? Bobby Jenkinson interview
Bobby Jenkinson tells Shaun Brown he is planning another exuberant celebration should he beat Josh Wale this Friday night...
The 25-year-old (11-3-1, 2 KOs) challenges the 29-year-old (25-9-2, 12 KOs) for the British bantamweight title at Sheffield's Ponds Forge Arena. The fight, which will be shown live on Freesports, will be Jenkinson's fourth domestic title fight in three and a half years.
That quartet of contests shows Jenkinson, a painter and decorator by day, having won two and lost two. His biggest victory came against Lewis Pettitt for the vacant Commonwealth super bantamweight title at Wembley Arena. A night where Jenkinson was a heavy underdog but absorbed all the favourite could muster before a big left hook put Pettitt down, thus sending the title back to Lincoln with Jenkinson but not before he did a back flip off the turn buckle in celebration.
"I love doing back flips and stuff like that," Jenkinson told Boxing Monthly shortly after replying "definitely" when asked whether or not he would do another with a victory on Friday.
"I'm not amazing at it or even really good but I can do them on the trampoline and in one of my fights, which I was losing in Doncaster, I stopped the lad [Adrian Fuzesi] in the last round. He came in about four-five pounds heavier than me. He could hit. He put me down in the first round and broke my nose. I come back and stopped him, and I just jumped on the ropes to all my fans and I just did a back flip, and ever since then everyone's like 'do the back flip again'."
A skill taught to him by his mother, her son would also use it when he would go out in town and would end up showing off, for example, by doing a flip off a table The party trick, however, hasn't always ended happily as he explained.
"I can run up a wall and do a back flip. One time I ran up a wall and did a back flip but as I come down I landed on my knee and broke my knee. It was a little bit after I turned pro. I was out for 12 weeks."
His father, Gary, hasn't taught him about flips but has played a pivotal part in his son's boxing career. After winning 44 amateur fights from 77 Bobby had grown somewhat disillusioned with the sport having been left annoyed at some of the decisions that went against him.
Enter dad who encouraged his boy to continue, and thanks to their bond he now works his corner too. It is a relationship that remains the same whether they are speaking to one another as father and son or trainer and fighter.
"He's been a big influence," said Jenkinson the fighter. "If he weren't there to help me and get me opportunities, helping me out with money and stuff and telling me to do the right thing I probably wouldn't be doing it but I'm so glad that I am. Obviously, with the bad decisions in the amateurs it were hard but my dad made me get in the ring.
"He's been there a lot. It's been good. We get on really well. We never fall out and it is easy to get back to being the way we are after boxing. We're just the same throughout."
Friday's fight represents an new challenge for Jenkinson. One that meant he had to lose four pounds to move down from super bantam (8st 10lbs) to bantam (8st 6lbs). With a nutritionist on board the drop has been easier having had more time to prepare for this particular bout.
"I'm not that big at super bantamweight. I think bantamweight suits me anyway. I think I'm the right size for it and I'll be nice and strong at the weight.
"I'll win the British title at bantamweight and keep getting stronger and stronger, and work at this weight because hopefully it's going to be good on the night. Can't wait for it," he said.
His bubbling enthusiasm for the Wale fight led him to tell BM that fans will be in for a fight of the year contender on Friday. A sentiment that will likely be shared by many a boxing aficionado such is the aggressive style of both men.
Jenkinson believes he is getting better and betters thanks to more time to hone his craft along with his father in his corner, the expertise of Jay Shinfield and having worked extensively with the former Shinfield trained world super bantamweight title challenger Rendall Munroe.
For Jenkinson the disappointment of losing his Commonwealth title to Gamal Yafai (KO 7) in 2016 is still acute.
"All the commotion and everything got to me a bit too much, and I tried too hard going forward. It's hard when you think in your head what you want to do, but then when you're in there it's so hard to keep cool and box and move. I kept going forward and he caught me. He's really strong and he hits hard."
And his defeat to Robbie Turley (TKO 9) for the then vacant title one year later?
"I didn't put 100% into that one and I feel like I can beat Turley. I didn't have a proper training camp and I had a lot going on. I didn't train properly and I didn't make the weight properly. I believe I can beat Turley if I boxed him again."
Having since added a few more sponsors Jenkjnson is now able to concentrate on his boxing more than ever. Every other fight he has had to manage his training with his day job, a balancing act carried out by so many of his peers throughout the sport.
And while he won't be able to retire on the back of a win against Wale, Jenkinson with bundles of hope and desire in his voice added: "I just need to win this British title and I'll be so happy then."