'I won't be denied': Caleb Plant interview
Photo: Leon Bennett/Getty Images
Since his life was touched by unimaginable tragedy, Caleb Plant has been a man on a world title mission. Ahead of his contest against Jose Uzcategui this weekend the super middleweight spoke to James Lupton...
When we meet real tragedy in life, we can react in two ways - either by losing hope and falling into self-destructive habits or by using the challenge to find our inner strength.
Caleb Plant finds himself in a world title fight this Saturday, hoping to fulfil a promise made to his daughter who passed away aged just nineteen months to a rare medical condition.
“It was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to deal with," he tells Boxing Monthly. "When you lose a child as I did, it changes everything. Your perspective on life changes. You realise that life is so precious. It was a difficult time.
“I promised my daughter that I would become a world champion. After she passed, I pieced what I could of myself back together and went back to the gym a week later. Although it was a difficult time, I needed to get back into the gym, my sanctuary. I’m a man on a mission and I won’t be denied.”
After seventeen bouts and an undefeated record, the mission is almost complete. The man standing in his way is Venezuelan knockout artist Jose Uzcategui.
“Jose Uzcategui is a rough rugged fighter. He’s got some good pop in his punches but there are levels in boxing and I’m going to show him it takes more than being tough. I know what I’m up against, but I don’t think he knows what he’s up against.
“I’m feeling confident going into this fight. This training camp has been the best yet. Everything I’ve worked for is going to be on display when I step in the ring on 13 January.
“I’ve just stepped everything up I would say. The quality of sparring is better, the conditioning was stepped up, everything was taken to the next level, but for the most part, I’ve been doing the same routine as always. My formula of training has worked so far so I don’t want to change anything too much.
“I'm right where I’m supposed to be because I’m supposed to be here. I’ve worked my whole life for this moment, so I know I’m prepared.”
Growing up it was kickboxing which was Plant’s choice of sport from the age of nine. His father, who was an amateur kickboxer himself, took young Caleb to the gym, beginning the combat sports journey he is still travelling.
“My dad didn’t have much money, but he was able to scramble a little bit of money together to get a gym, not a fancy gym, but somewhere for me to go after school so I didn’t get in trouble. We didn’t have a ring in there, so we put tape on the floor to act as a rope barrier. There was only one heavy bag hanging in the gym, but we made it work.”
From training in an imaginary ring to training for a world title fight...
In an amateur career of highs and lows, Plant still looks back fondly on his experiences learning his trade.
“I would have to say the high of my amateur career was in 2011 when I won the Golden Glove National Championships. The [biggest] low was not making the Olympic team, but I able to go to London as an alternate and it was still an experience.”
After turning professional in May 2014 Plant racked up seven wins inside his first year as a pro, stopping six of his opponents. A further ten victories since have led him to the biggest fight of his career. A fight he believes he will win, prior to unifying the super-middleweight division.
“I’m going to make the proper adjustment once I get in there. It could be a blowout or it could end early. You’ll have to tune in and see.
“Right now, my focus is on Jose Uzcategui and, when I win, I’m coming for all the world champions at 168lbs.”