Boxing meets the X-Factor in Camp 24
Deep in London’s East End, in the infamous Peacock Gym something is bubbling that purports to be the next big thing in British boxing. And if that doesn’t happen then it’s got finding the next big thing in British boxing to fall back on.
Camp 24 is a boxing competition that aims to source and develop the best-untapped boxing talent in the country. Pitched as the sport’s version of the X-Factor, the talent contest pits 24 of the lands top amateur fighters against each other for the prize of joining the young and dynamic Stamina For Sale team and a pro contract with Frank Warren. Play the promo vid…
We caught up with its creators and Stamina For Sale bosses Tunde Ajayi and Carli Wheatley to find out more…
What is Camp 24?
Carli: Camp 24 is a boxing talent contest that aims to put a bit of excitement back into boxing as well as unearthing boxing’s next big star!
Tunde: It was basically Carli’s idea. The competition is open to any and all youngsters between the age of 17 to 24, whether you’re an amateur boxer or street kid, if you think you can fight then sign up. We even had two pro kids enter our first comp, kids that had three to five professional fights under their belt and were looking for a different platform to propel themselves.
How does it work?
T: We really only advertised it on Facebook and we got hundreds of applications from kids all over the country, from London to Sunderland, to Manchester and even Ireland! So you can see the potential interest for a show like this.
From the hundreds of applicants, Carli and myself sat down and picked the best 24 boxers, going on their stats, age, weight and strength of application. Those 24 boxers were then invited down to the Peacock Gym to do fitness tests, bag work, pads and sparring. From that, the best 12 boys are put through to the next round where they come and spend a week with us and do more fitness, bags, pads and sparring. It’s then whittled down to four boys, and those four boys are all winners as they all get a contract with the Stamina For Sale team to be developed into pro boxers. But they still have to battle it out to become the ultimate winner and walk into a pro contract with Frank Warren.
Sounds awesome, how did you get Frank Warren on-board?
T: Most of my fighters have always been with Frank Warren anyway, right from Kevin Mitchell to Grant Skehill, so I’ve got a good relationship with Frank. He’s my man so it was only right to attach his name to it. But the offer is there on the table to any promoter that’s interested, and that goes out to everyone; Hayemaker Promotions, Hatton Promotions, Frank Maloney and Mick Hennessey, this is your chance to be involved in something fresh and exciting in the boxing world.
Where can we see all the Camp 24 action?
C: The Stamina For Sale website is getting a revamp and Camp 24 will have its own channel on there but for now you can watch all the episodes on our YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/staminaforsaletv. The first episode will be on there this month so stay tuned, here’s a sneak peak of what it’ll look like…
The aim is to take the show on a road tour around the UK this year. We want to go to different gyms around the country and host a Camp 24 in their region so we’re looking now for some gyms that will have us. We’re in talks with a gym in Essex to host one there, a gym in Manchester, and we’ve even had a gym in Florida ask us to come out there and do a Camp 24. But we’re trainers in the gym, we’re on the ground level of boxing so we need people at the top of the sport to support what we’re doing and help us take it to the next level.
T: On that note, places for the next Camp 24 we have set for May are nearly all booked up so if the powers want to get involved, now is the time! What’s more Sky Sports want to come down and film the final.
Who are the Stamina For Sale team?
T: The Stamina For Sale team consists of myself, Tunde Ajayi, I’m a boxing coach and manager with 11 years experience. I’ve trained the likes of former WBO light-middleweight champ Harry Simon for his recent comeback and I was with Kevin Mitchell for his first 17 fights as a pro. We have Carli Wheatley who is a qualified personal trainer and women’s boxing coach. The head trainer is Simon Pryce, strength and conditioning is Sandor ‘Iron Man’ Kiff, and then we have a chiropractor based in Canary Wharf called Dr Gary Webber. So it’s a fully equipped team of nutritionists, doctors, strength coaches and boxing trainers, all you need to be a top professional.
We currently have pro fighters Joe Catchpole, light-middleweight, and Ahmet Patterson at welterweight, plus numerous young amateurs on the cusp of turning pro.
So how confident are you that the competition will unearth Britain’s next boxing star?
C: There are already loads of stars out there; the problem is that there is not enough excitement in the sport to propel them, hence why we’re doing it. But it’s also up to the kids as well; they have to understand what it takes to be a champion and a recognisable star. For instance, we encourage all the boys to take an active interest in earning some money while pursuing their boxing careers, just like your publication. We look for it in their applications because it shows they have the right life structure, the discipline of getting somewhere on time, and being in the workforce and dealing with people. It’s like an actor will tell you the fun part is acting in the film, the hard part is doing the premieres, the media days and all the travelling. And it’s the same for boxing, doing the boxing is the fun part, the rest is work and these kids have to be prepared to put in.
T: We said the competition is like the boxing version of the X-Factor but its more serious than that. There are no Wagners in this competition and if there are they’re going to get punched in the nose. We’re lucky because we travelled four times last year, twice we went to Freddie Roach’s gym in Los Angeles and twice we went to Floyd Mayweather’s gym in Las Vegas. So we’ve seen both sides, we know what it takes. Everybody can say I want to be a world champion but you need people around you that have experienced going to gyms in other countries to show you the kind of hunger and desire that’s needed.
And why Carli can talk so well of the entertainment and the travelling side is because she is the daughter of Hollywood actor Luke Goss, of Bros fame. And her mother is Shirley Lewis who was a backing singer for the likes of Elton John and George Michael so as well as the boxing, she can also tell you what it takes to be a star.
For more info about Camp 24 or the Stamina For Sale team, email Tunde Ajayi at firstname.lastname@example.org or Carli Wheatley at email@example.com