Sunday, 26 October 2014

Boxiana Vol. 1 preview: This Boxer's Life

Chris Hobbs turns from fighting to writing in Boxiana Volume 1

Over the past couple of months, this blog has been featuring a series of exclusive previews of content from Boxiana: Volume 1, which will hopefully whet your appetite and persuade you to buy the full volume, which will be available as a paperback book (RRP £9.99) or ebook (RRP £3.99) from 28 November.

Today I'm presenting an extract from the eighth chapter of Boxiana Volume 1, written by boxer Chris Hobbs in which he describes his life and background. A rising light-heavyweight from Southampton, who is undefeated in 6 pro fights, the 27-year-old Chris has had a fascinating life, including a spell in the army.

I was absolutely delighted when Chris offered to write a piece for Boxiana as I was keen to have the views of boxers themselves featured in the volume. In dealing with Chris I came to discover that he is a total gent as well as extremely gracious and down to earth. In a lovely gesture, Chris asked that I didn't pay him for his work - but instead made a donation to a forces charity, which I duly did.

Boxiana: Volume 1 preview

Round 8

Rising Hampshire Light-Heavyweight Chris Hobbs reflects on his life and career inside and outside of the ring ...

I was born in Southampton on 22 July 1987. My mum is from Yorkshire and I do not know my real dad; all I know of him is that he was Jamaican. I was raised by my mum and a stepfather who, to be honest, was like a real dad to me. I grew up with my two sisters and a brother. We never had a lot growing up in terms of material possessions, but that is no different to a lot of people out there. My parents tried as hard as they possibly could to put food on the table and they always made sure we had happy and fun Christmases.

There was a lot of tough love from my dad. Yes, we were like best mates but he was also very big on discipline. As he saw it, I was a black kid in a white family so I would potentially endure a lot of problems growing up – therefore I needed to be tough. To be fair I was quite naughty as a youngster. If it wasn’t for the discipline of my family, I would have probably ended up in jail.

From a boxing point of view, I was inspired from about the age of seven. Typically, like many other youngsters, I watched the Rocky movies, and they fired my passion and imagination. Everyone in my family who had talent to do with sport was football related, but I had two left feet, as they say, and never really liked football until about the age of 15. I was finally allowed to box for the first time at the age of 11 when I turned up at the Eastpoint Centre where Southampton ABC trained. Terry Tew was the guy who was training the kids at the club. Strangely enough, he had actually seen me growing up; his mother-in-law lived behind my house so he had seen me around. The training was a real shock to me; it was so hard I couldn’t believe it, but I was determined. Very determined. I had no natural ability at all – bad footwork, poor timing – the lot! All I had been used to was scrapping in the playground and at that age I wasn’t even good at that!

In my second week at Eastpoint I sparred for the first time. Even though I didn’t do brilliantly I loved it. I managed to survive against kids with much more experience than me and realised I was naturally tough. However, during my first year at the club I wasn’t totally dedicated; I was there some weeks but then I wouldn’t be there again the next week. It took me two-and-a-half years before I knuckled down enough to actually be ready for a fight. The week before my first fight I was taken to Waterlooville boxing club for a sparring session to see if I was ready. Being in a new environment was daunting, but I did very well against a boy who later became a pro, who is now my gym-mate (Ryan Moore) although he doesn’t remember it! We were actually meant to fight each other as our first fight but I was too heavy when the fight came around!

My first amateur fight was in Leigh Park Leisure Centre. The nerves were unbelievably bad. In fact, the nerves before any fight for me are horrible. When the bell rings the nerves leave me, but the actual waiting is horrendous. My first fight was against a guy called Billy Calcot who sadly I heard died in a motorcycle accident a few years later. I don’t remember a lot about my first fight other than being so tired in round two that I couldn’t keep my hands up and my chest was on fire, due to the smoking that was allowed in venues back then! I remember I made him take a count in the third round but I was so tired I slumped into the corner. The ref stopped the count to make me get off the ropes! After that fight I knew I needed to train harder and be fitter; every fight is all about learning. 

Anyway I lost that fight and also lost a rematch a week later (a fight most people thought I won). I got my first win in my third fight, that was followed by a few more wins and a few more losses. But I was always learning and all my opponents always said I was tough and they didn’t enjoy fighting me. I lost one fight to a guy in Swindon and I went to his changing room after only to see him being taken to hospital with concussion, in contrast I felt fine!



CHRIS HOBBS is an undefeated professional light- heavyweight boxer from Southampton. You can follow Chris on Twitter: @chrishobbsboxer

Boxiana: Volume 1 will be available through Troubador PublishingAmazon in the UKAmazon in the USA and all good traditional and online booksellers.

Further exclusive previews of Volume 1 content, as well as further information about Boxiana's contributors will feature on the Boxiana blog in the coming weeks.


An anthology of new boxing writing Boxiana: Volume 1 will be published on 28 November 2014 through Matador Publishing, in both paperback book and eBook formats. Boxiana editor Luke G. Williams said: “In a world dominated by 140 character limits and the 24-hour news cycle, brevity and superficiality have become de rigueur. Boxiana takes a different approach; by using long-form journalism to take an in-depth look at boxing’s past, present and future, we are hoping that Boxiana will become a vital new voice in sports writing.”

In Volume 1:
Trevor Von Eeden, author of graphic novel The Original Johnson, analyses the significance of Jack Johnson; Mario Mungia tries his hand at amateur boxing; Ben Williams uncovers his grandfather’s bare-knuckle career; James Hernandez catches up with Jon Thaxton; Matthew Ogborn ponders boxers and retirement; rising light heavyweight Chris Hobbs recounts his life in the military and the ring; Rowland Stone recalls a heady night in 1992; Corey Quincy attempts to solve the Wladimir Klitschko conundrum and Luke G. Williams examines the meteoric rise of Deontay Wilder and the under-rated career of Chris Byrd.

Enquiries / review copies: +44 7958 319765 /
Previews of Volume 1 content and photos for media use are available through the Boxiana blog:

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