In the shoes of others

Always be a champion that young people can aspire to

- I'm a former world boxing champion, so I'm very well known in the city of Edinburgh. And I think that what I would like people to know about me is that I like everyone. I like everyone! I have no problem with anyone in the world. I like everyone. Maybe they don't like me, but I don't mind anyone.

- Even the people who've been boxing, you like them? (laughing)

- Yeah, I do! I had over 180 boxing matches in my whole life, amateur and professional. I am retired from boxing, I am not boxing anymore, and when I think about all of my opponents, I like them all. Every one of them I spoke to, every one of them I know, even now to this day, I like them all as well.

- Do you usually talk to them before and after a match?

- Sometimes, maybe I'm not so nice to them all the time, but after I'm always nice. I like everyone.

- Okay, that's good! Can I ask you a few questions, as a boxer? Because I'm so clueless about this world...

- Okay!

- So, I'm wondering, what motivated you to get into boxing?

- Well, my father was a criminal. He was quite a bad guy, but he loved to watch boxing, so this was something that I shared with my father. I was very young, and am the oldest son. So I got to watch the boxing with my father like... like it was a gift, you know? So I loved to watch boxing. And then my father went to prison for a very long time when I was small, and it gave me the motivation to go to boxing because I didn't want to live his life. I didn't want to be a criminal. I wanted to be like the guys on the TV. They were superstars, like Mike Tyson, Barry McGuigan... I wanted to be like them, champions. And I wanted people to like me, and not to dislike me for being a bad guy. You know?

- I see! What have you learned, with all these years of being a boxer?

- What I've learned is that it's not very difficult to be nice to people. It's not difficult to be a nice guy. You know, I think it's more difficult in life to be a bad guy. It's more difficult, but to be nice is easy. So I don't understand when people are not nice to each other. I don't understand why. Because even for me with the background I come from, there was lots of violence and lots of aggression and lots of nasty stuff. But I don't understand that man. Why not just be nice to people?

- Yeah, it's a choice not to be nice...

- Yeah, yeah! Ok maybe not when the when the bell rings. When the bell rings, I'm not nice anymore, I want to win, so...

- Are you "you" after the bell rings, or are you more of a character?

- Well, maybe a little bit after the bell rings, and after when I have to talk to the world, I will be still a little bit character. But I try to also be me as as much as I can, so that people understand, you know?

- Okay. How do you manage to win? I mean, I guess you must find some kind of strength within yourself... where do you seek for it?

- I wanted to be champion so badly. I wanted to be champion so much, I was willing to sacrifice even my life to be the champion. I was willing to... almost willing to die in the ring. I would say, if I got knocked down in the ring... I've seen many boxers, they just stay there. But I can't stay there, I have to get up. I owe this to everyone who's watching, that I have to get up and continue and show the world that you can't stay down! When life is not going your way you have to get to your feet and keep going, stay strong and show other people that you have to have character, you know?

- Okay! Uh, I'm so foreign to this whole world, I have a million questions!! Is there any assumptions that you've heard about being a boxer, you know, aspects that people criticized etc?

- Of course, many! Thousands! For many years I was told that boxers are stupid, that boxers are not very nice, that they can be brutal, that they are bullies... none of this is true! None of us, that's just not true. I do not know any boxers that would hit someone in a pub. A boxer would stop a fight in the pub, but would not hit anyone.

- Is it kind of an unsaid rule in boxing, or something that you learn along with the practice maybe?

- Yeah. When you're growing up as a boxer, you learn self discipline. You're taught discipline. You learn self control, and you also learn a great deal of respect. And also how to control yourself how to conduct yourself properly. So because you learn this as a boxer growing up, it never leaves you, it stays with you all your life.

- Yeah, I've seen that sometimes young delinquents and such are suggested to start boxing so they can channel their energy and emotions, and they all end up gaining a lot of respect for others in the meantime...

- Exactly! You send these kids to a boxing club, it changes their life! It changes everything! It changes the way they think, it changes the way they treat their body... it changes everything massively!

- Interesting, yes, and that's one of the benefits too, because of course you want to eat properly, not smoking, ...

- Of course, you can't, because you know, your body is going to suffer incredibly. And of course, boxing is a weight category sport. So unless you're heavy, and then you can eat anything you want. But if you're not heavyweight, you have to box in the category that is close to your best physical condition, you know? So just for instance, maybe say you're 54, so maybe the best boxing weight would be 51, so you have to lose three kilograms and then you're gonna have physical advantage, because you're tall.

- Ah okay, I see! We talked about discipline and I'm wondering, what would be the greatest advice you've got from your coaches?

- What was the best advice I ever got... hum... my coach from the amateurs who is now dead, told me when I was an amateur boxer, when I was wee boy, « Always be a champion that young people can aspire to ». He told me that when I was young and I always remembered this.

- As you shared not having much more time for today before this interview, I'd say that's a beautiful way to end the interview! (laughing)

Feel free to look up Alex Arthur and to follow him everywhere on your usual social media!
#boxer #boxing #champion #worldchampion #worldchampionboxer #worldchampionboxers #wbochampion #amazingalexarthur #alexarthur #boxingchampion #championoftheworld #boxingclub #amateurboxer #discipline #respect #criminal #rules #selfcontrol #selfdiscipline #respectforothers #bestadvice #edinburgh

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