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Boxing: interview with Joe Ham

He is the only member of Team Scotland to come from Glasgow, but 22-year-old boxer Joe Ham insists he will thrive off the pressure when he steps into the ring at the SECC on July 25.

Picture by Nick Ponty
Picture by Nick Ponty

The energetic and charismatic fighter from the Gorbals will once again represent Scotland at the 56kg level, four years after making him Commonwealth Games debut in Delhi.

With the Games happening in his home, you would understand if he was feeling nervous ahead of the Commonwealth Games.

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But he says he will use the support of the crowd and the pressure to spur him onto success.

"I'm just happy to be involved, and with everyone supporting me I'm quite lucky as I'm the boxer from Glasgow, all the other boxers are from Motherwell, Edinburgh, and other areas surrounding, its only me from Glasgow.

"I thrive off it, some people when they get under the pressure, some people crumble because of the crowd, I just buzz off it, it's just part of my game."

Joe said he used to be quite fat as a child and only started boxing at the age of 12 after his dad and manager, Joe Sr, took him Dennistoun McNair Boxing Club to train with him and lose some weight, not expecting to do anything in the sport.

The following year, he won his first Scottish boxing championship at youth level.

After turning 18, he starting training at the Hayfield ABC in the Gorbals and has since gone into win five back to back Scottish Championships at senior level becoming one of the only Scottish boxers in years to do so.

Joe credits his father for being able to achieve the success he has gotten.

"He had done everything for me, no matter where I'm fighting he is always there telling him what to do and makes sure I'm in shape.

"Everything I do is through him."

At the Commonwealth Games four years ago, Joe made it to the last 16 before losing to Namibia's Sakaria Lukas in a closely fought match.

After the fight, Joe collapsed in his training room due to dehydration.

He admits he can't remember much of the fight, but says taking part in Delhi games and the whole experience was a massive learning curve for him and his boxing progression, especially since he had just turned senior at that point.

"Back then it was weird, I wouldn't have expected in my first senior year to be competing in the Commonwealth Games, I had just turned 18 so I was the youngest member of the whole team.

"And the nervous did get to me, I never had that senior experience but first senior tournament was the Commonwealth Games and it wasn't like I couldn't say no, you were on your way and had just to give it your all and came up short and got to the last 16, but back then it was just brilliant to experience the Games."

At the games in 2010, he sported a blue Mohican to the ring and says he will be doing it again to get the home crowd on his side.

"I done it for Delhi and I will do it for Glasgow.

"You standout and that's the point of boxing, it's an individual sport and you need to showcase yourself.

"It's only me in the ring and you want people to watch you.

"You've got to sell yourself so people will be wanting to watch you again."

While it may appear that the fighter is all fun and games, he stressed that he is taking the Commonwealth Games very seriously and would be very disappointed not to walk away with a gold medal in front of the passionate Scottish fans.

"I would be disappointed if I don't win Gold, That's how confident I am.

"No one trains like me.

"People tend to say they train hard, but I genuinely know I do.

I've never touched alcohol so I'm constantly on the ball.

I'm very confident I will get a medal this time round.

The boy who won the Commonwealth Games in 2010 I've already beaten him three times and with the Games taking part in my home city, it will take an army to beat me."

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