Joe Calzaghe, boxer

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"You have to put the miles in, and believe in yourself," says the Welsh boxing legend.

Raise Your Game: How did you get to be as good as you are?

Joe Calzaghe: It's something I've done for 25 years. It takes a lot of hard work, dedication and commitment. Things don't happen just on talent alone. I've been putting the miles in since I was nine-years-old. Thank God I've managed to get where I am today.

RYG: Who inspires you?

JC: My mum, dad, my family and my kids are great. I respect and admire people, but I wouldn't say that any one person inspires me. I've worked hard to get where I am today, and I just love winning. I love being a champion.

RYG: What do you say to yourself before you get into the ring?

JC: Before I get into the ring I'm totally focused on winning the fight. 90% of the hard work is done in the gym beforehand. If you cut corners in training, you're walking into that ring under a false sense of security. If I've prepared 100%, I'm at peace because I know all I have to do is perform at my best and I'll win the fight.

RYG: When did you first know that you wanted to be a boxer?

Profile

Name:
Joseph William Calzaghe CBE

Born:
23 March 1972

From:
Newbridge, Gwent

Sport:
Boxing

Achievements:

  • Retired undefeated in February 2009 with a record of 46 wins from 46 fights.
  • Ring Magazine Light Heavyweight Champion (2008)
  • WBC Super Middleweight Champion (2007)
  • WBA Super Middleweight Champion (2007)
  • IBF Super Middleweight Champion (2006)
  • WBO Super Middleweight Champion (1997)

JC: I remember saying to my careers teacher, when I was about 14, that I was going to be a World Champion. They looked at me and laughed, but I honestly believed it was something I could do. I've had ups and downs along the way, with injuries and everything, but I managed to get there in the end. Anything is achievable.

RYG: Where does that confidence and self belief come from?

JC: Confidence is something built from success. I'd be lying if I said I've always been very confident. I'm naturally pretty shy. I lost my first ever fight and I lost my fifth fight, so it took a while coming.

I've been winning for 18 years. If you can't be confident after that, then you never will be. It's a fine line between being confident and being overconfident. The day you become overconfident, you could become complacent, and then you get beaten.

RYG: What do you think to yourself after you've won a fight?

JC: I don't feel anything other than pure elation. It's the best feeling in the world. I can't explain it. Everything you do to get to that moment, all the training and hard work, is finally worth it. That's why I keep going back for more. I love that feeling.

RYG: What message would you give to your fans before your last fight?

JC: Don't blink or you might miss the punch. I love my fans. They're the best fans in the world. They've stuck with me through all the ups and downs in my career. Walking out in front of 50,000 home fans for the Kessler fight in 2007 was absolutely amazing.

Joe Calzaghe sparring with his father Enzo

My first choice for my last fight was to fight in Wales, but the powers that be want me to fight in America. Make sure you tune in and watch it on 8 November 2008, because it's going to be the last time you're going to see me in action. It's going to be a great fight and I'm hoping to put in a great performance.

RYG: What advice would you give to young people looking to follow in your footsteps?

JC: Work hard and believe in yourself. In life everything comes down to hard work no matter what career you choose. Talent alone isn't enough. You have to put in the miles, and believe in yourself. Don't let people tell you that you can't do something.


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