Theophane’s return to British boxing could be brief

Ashley Theophane

Ashley Theophane - Credit: Archant

Ashley ‘Treasure’ Theophane returns to British boxing for the first time in a year this weekend – but has stressed that he sees his long-term future abroad.

The Kilburn fighter, who will be appearing on Miranda Carter’s Left Jab promotion in Grays on Saturday, lost his British light-welterweight title to Darren Hamilton exactly 12 months ago.

Since then Theophane has fought in the USA and Luxembourg but, aside from an aborted appearance on Ricky Hatton’s short-lived comeback show last November, this will be his first outing in the UK.

The 32-year-old has just returned from a two-month stay in Las Vegas, where he trained with Floyd Mayweather, and says he plans to return to the States in the near future.

“I’ll be going back to the US soon,” Theophane told the Times. “That whole scene is the Mecca of boxing and it was fantastic being surrounded by great boxers.

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“I used to go running up the mountains with [WBC light-heavyweight champion] Chad Dawson and being able to watch Floyd training and sparring with some of the best boxers in the world – you don’t get that in the UK.

“Watching the big fights in America was what made me fall in love with boxing as a four-year-old kid and I want to get fights on the international scene. It’s all about moving on.

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“Other than Amir Khan, there’s no-one here that interests me in my weight division.

“Good luck to Darren Hamilton, I wish him well. But I thought I won that fight so it would be pointless trying to get a rematch.

“I was being coached by one of Floyd’s trainers, Nate Jones, and I learned so much from him.

“Sparring was five-minute rounds rather than three, with minimal rest, and you never know when the bell’s going to go.

“It’s hot anyway in the gym and there are hot lights above you, so it’s all really draining. I’m in good shape anyway, but that was a great test of my conditioning.”

Theophane’s sparring partners in Vegas included Panama’s two-weight world champion Celestino Caballero, former IBF world title challenger Vernon Paris and WBO world number six Shawn Porter.

And the Londoner says it was the calibre of his training colleagues at the Mayweather gym that persuaded him to contact Carter and arrange the Grays bout, which will be over either six or eight rounds.

“Everyone else there was working towards a goal,” he said. “They were saying to me ‘you need a fight’ and I was asked to take Mickey Bey’s spot on Mayweather’s show.

“That fell through because they wanted me to fight at 140lbs, but it was cool that they asked me anyway.

“I really wanted to fight, so I got in touch with Miranda and now I’m looking forward to Saturday.”

Theophane, who will be fighting for the 40th time since he left All Stars ABC and turned professional a decade ago, will be part of a seven-fight bill on Saturday night.

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