Born to entertain: Isaac Lowe interview
Ahead of his eagerly awaited British featherweight tussle with Ryan Walsh on Saturday night's Groves vs Eubank Jr card, a confident Isaac Lowe tells Boxing Monthly's Shaun Brown "I'm born to entertain"...
Saturday night's card at the Manchester Arena, headlined by George Groves vs Chris Eubank Jr. looks terrific value for money.
The main event is full of intrigue, personality, viciousness and speed but the undercard is the perfect aperitif to whet the appetite.
Along with the 15th outing of promising unbeaten super middleweight Zach Parker, there is also Arfan Iqbal vs Simon Vallily (for the English cruiserweight title), Tommy Langford vs Jack Arnfield (British middleweight title) and Ryan Walsh defending his British featherweight title against Isaac Lowe.
It's an evening that could provide fight of the year candidates and an occasion that will hopefully leave the paying public thirsty for more boxing in the coming weeks, months and years.
Isaac Lowe (14-0-2, 5 KOs) realises the importance of producing entertainment for the fans in the venue and at home, but isn't daft enough to go at full throttle in every fight for their benefit. His love for a tear-up began way back during his amateur days when he was just ten-years-old.
"To entertain the fans sometimes you've got to do risky things, by getting stuck into it," he told Boxing Monthly. "At the end of the day it's the fans who pay the price of a ticket, and they come to watch you. But they've got to understand too, that you've got to have tactics for whoever you fight.
"Sometimes it won't be as exciting as other fights, but as long as you please them and try and make them happy, and you put on a show and box well, then I think they'll be more than happy with it.
"For me it's doing what I have to do. I don't do it just to please the fans, it's just the way I fight and I'm blessed to have that kind of style. As long as I keep them happy, and people like me and support me, then I'm doing something right. That's the most important thing. To keep people on your side, entertain them, give them value for money because they're the ones who have to earn the money and buy the ticket. And if you were watching something like 'British Beef' [the title of the recent Lawrence Okolie vs Isaac Chamberlain match-up] you wouldn't want to go to another boxing match!"
Lowe, from Morecambe, tells it how it is, whether you like it or not. Something that he believes has riled his opponent, the champion, Cromer's Ryan Walsh (22-2-1, 11 KOs) ahead of Saturday night. There have been the usual social media verbals to and fro, but for the challenger it is built out of nothing but self-belief.
"I think I'm a better boxer than Ryan Walsh, I think I'm a better fighter than Ryan Walsh," he confidently declared. "Obviously I'm going to think that, I'm fighting him! I'm not going to say he's a better kid than me, and obviously he doesn't like it. I'm confident in myself, and I've got the ability to beat him.
"We know he doesn't like me and if that pushes him on even more, then all well and good. At the end of the day once the fight's over and done with, I'll shake his hand and buy him a beer at the end of the fight as long as I've got that British title."
Lowe has already won English and Commonwealth honours and last year contested the European featherweight title in Denmark against Dennis Ceylan which, disappointingly, ended as a technical draw after four rounds following a cut to Ceylan.
Having just had 16 fights as a pro, and not turning 25 till October, Lowe has an infectious desire to get his hands on the Lonsdale belt. It could be down to the lure of having the prestigious and historic British title, the respect that comes with it and the continual big nights that would follow should he dethrone Walsh.
"I want big fights. I don't want to win the British title and just defend it against bums. I want to fight big names. I want people to recognise me. I want to give the fans value for money. Provided I get paid well we're all happy.
"17 February, it's a fight that could be fireworks. We all know Ryan doesn't like me, I'm not keen on him and it could turn out to be a war. It could be fight of the year. I hope he's ready for a good punch-up."
The punch-ups began for Lowe when he took up the sport at eight-years-old, having his first amateur fight just two years later. It gave him a thrill, a buzz that he still gets 16 years later.
He's a fighting man who jokingly told BM that he should have chose football over boxing. There have been the ups and downs, such is life, but the graft has never stopped whether it's in training, working with his father when he's not in camp or the distraction of having to get paying sponsors for this fight and others in the past.
His family need to live and bills need paid having not been at work for 10 weeks, to prepare for the Walsh fight. It has, however, pushed him on even more in the knowledge that winning the British title will present bigger opportunities and bigger purses.
"Sponsorship is hard and sometimes it does get to you," he admitted. "It's business, and I have been struggling with sponsorship but it's been making me train harder because I know deep down I need to win this fight. It'll give me a better future for my family and that's what it's all about."
Walsh vs Lowe is part of a massive night for British boxing, headlined by the World Boxing Super Series super middleweight semi-final between George Groves and Chris Eubank. Both tournaments, the other being in the action-packed cruiserweight division, have not only captured the boxing public's imagination but have given the sport more potential moving forward.
Lowe says he has caught bits and bobs of the WBSS, but admits he sometimes has the need to switch off from boxing.
"When I'm training I try and keep away from the boxing that's on because you're in it six days a week, you're constantly around it," he told BM. "When I get the chance I like to be around my family and zone out of boxing. A bit of family time, and watch a bit of football, and get my head in different things. If you're around it too much it can knock you sideways a bit. You're constantly training and hitting things, and I just like to take my head away and zone out."
But come fight night Lowe, and Walsh, will be in that zone. A state of mind, a trance that sets them apart from most sportsmen with each giving the maximum their body can offer to hear 'and still' or 'and the new' come the end of it.
Groves against Eubank is a match-up that will have us on the edge of our seats before they make their walks to the ring. Iqbal, Vallily, Langford, Arnfield, Walsh and Lowe are a superb supporting cast that might just steal the show themselves.
"I said from a young age I always wanted to fight on big shows, on the top bills on TV, fighting in front of 20,000 people and I've got my chance," said Lowe. "I'm born to entertain. The bigger the stage, the better I perform and I think that's what I'll deliver on 17 February."