Islington fighter feels more settled as he prepares for second professional bout

Chris Baugh with promoter Mickey Helliet (right) and coaches Roy Callaghan and Bevis Allen.Pic: Phil

Chris Baugh with promoter Mickey Helliet (right) and coaches Roy Callaghan and Bevis Allen.Pic: Philip Sharkey/TGSPHOTO - Credit: Philip Sharkey/TGSPHOTO

Islington middleweight Chris ‘The Bull’ Baugh is promising a more methodical style for his second professional contest after an “emotional” debut in November.

The 26-year-old, who takes on Hungarian opponent Laszlo Jambrik on Saturday at the Camden Centre, King’s Cross, has followed a lengthy and unconventional path to the paid ranks.

Starting out as a kickboxer, Baugh then went to university and worked overseas with youth charities before belatedly joining the amateur boxing scene in north London.

Along the way, he also sustained serious injuries in a motorcycle accident – but recovered to take his professional bow 10 weeks ago with a points victory over Harjinder Gill.

“There was a lot of emotion that night because I felt I’d arrived after a long journey,” Baugh told the Gazette. “I felt a lot of relief and, with so much support, I was totally buzzing.

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“Now I’ve experienced that, my approach to this next fight will be a lot more workmanlike. I feel much more settled and I’m going into it feeling composed.

“A number of things stopped me going where I wanted to go. I had a lot of setbacks and, after the injuries I got from my accident, I was told I might not be able to box at all.

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“People were telling me that maybe it wasn’t meant to be, but I wasn’t prepared to walk away from it and I’m glad I didn’t give up. I don’t do things half-heartedly, whatever it is.

“Boxing’s my top priority, 100 per cent. I want to learn and improve, then I want challenging fights, and it doesn’t make sense to do that unless you’re looking for honours.”

Baugh, who lives in Highbury Corner, had never really considered boxing as a career until he was inspired by a training session with Eder Kurti, the British Albanian super-middleweight who also had a kickboxing background.

He trained intermittently while travelling in Ghana and then studying at the London School of Economics before taking up a job with the Open Society Foundation, which involved a lot of overseas work.

After returning to London, Baugh spent six months training at Haringey Police ABC and then worked as a personal trainer at the Boxing Clinic, Islington Green.

And his breakthrough into the world of professional boxing eventually materialised last year after he linked up with former Islington BC trainer Bevis Allen.

“I learned to fight before I learned to box,” Baugh admitted. “I was a blood and guts warrior. I’d be going home from sparring sessions with headaches, so obviously something wasn’t working.

“Bevis knows I’m not afraid to get involved, but he’s been teaching me different stuff, working with me to develop the full set of skills I need, things like balance, footwork and a jab.

“I’d never competed on a serious level. The training session with Eder Kurti was the first time I’d seen different skills and got switched on to boxing.

“In Ghana, I ended up in the most rudimentary gym I’d ever seen, a piece of concrete at the back of a few houses. Boxing was very popular there but, because I was travelling a lot, it was hard to keep training.”

Now Baugh is fully committed to boxing and says he has also benefited from working alongside light-middleweight Aarron Morgan, the former Islington BC captain.

Morgan features alongside him on Mickey Helliet’s Class of 2015 show this weekend and Baugh added: “Aarron’s the same age as me and he’s only been pro for a year, but he’ll definitely be fighting for titles soon.

“Being in the gym with Aarron is great, he’s a hard worker and he’s got a wealth of experience in the amateurs. We’re good friends and that’s the best thing, when you get on with the people you train with.

“I’m picking up things from him all the time and it’ll be good to box on the same show.”

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