Having formerly represented Great Britain at amateur level, Smokin’ Joe Maphosa has since stepped up the tempo and made his intentions clear to take the professional Boxing industry by storm.
From Thornaby in the north east of England, Maphosa trains with his coach Imran Naeem at Natural Progression Boxing Academy, Stockton-On-Tees. Off the back of making his professional debut in 2017 against Gary Reeve, he has since fought seven times. At present, Maphosa boasts a clean record of 8-0, including one TKO victory.
His last fight was back in March. The 25-year-old took to the ring for a fight with Louis Norman. It was a fight that went the distance, with Maphosa enduring the full six rounds. Although, the outcome was never really in doubt. The super flyweight outclassed his opponent and was thoroughly deserved of the decision, awarded via the judges’ scorecards.
Originally from Zimbabwe, Maphosa first found his passion for Boxing after coming across a video of – one of the most successful boxers in recent times – Bernard Hopkins. The American fighter won multiple world championships across his illustrious career which stemmed from 11th October 1988 all the way through until 17th December 2016.
Speaking in an interview with Danny Winterbottom, from Boxing monthly, Maphosa revealed Hopkins was a major part of his path into the physically and mentally demanding sport Boxing. He said: “I enjoyed playing cricket and running around in the playground at school, but then I saw a clip of Bernard Hopkins on TV and I liked what he was doing so I decided to get myself to a Boxercise class for general fitness to begin with but and that led onto me going to Middlesbrough ABC and from there I have never looked back.”
Maphosa dedicated himself to Middlesbrough ABC for ten years before he was eventually noticed by some of Boxing’s leading amateur coaches and rewarded with a place in the GB development squad, in Sheffield. It was at that point that Boxing would begin to open as a career pathway and not just a form of fitness. On the radar of some of the industry’s finest and pushing for a place at the Rio Olympics, hard work and determination had begun to pay dividends.
It’s fair to say that Maphosa is a real example to young fighters and people in general, as a young child things weren’t always easy for him or his family. In fact, in 2002 his life took a major turn. Born and raised in his home country Zimbabwe, Maphosa found himself separated from his father at just nine-years-old. After drastic changes in Zimbabwe left his family with little money to survive, his father made a brave decision to head to England in search of better prospects to provide for not only Joe but his two brothers and his mum too.
A lot of long tiring days for his father, eventually provided the Maphosa family the chance to be reunited. Although, having came to the UK with qualifications as a teacher, manual labor was what Maphosa’s father had to settle for, in Peterborough. He worked vigorously though and was able to save enough money for his family to be able to join him in the UK, where they were able to settle in Middlesbrough.
Far from easy for a family coming to a completely unknown country, speaking English was hard and their knowledge of language was to start with very limited. He also was subject to racism which is horrible to say and speaking on first arriving in England, (again from an interview with Boxing monthly) he said: “As a child you tend to pick things up quickly. We did experience some racism when we first arrived in England but over time it got a lot better and I made friends easily. The whole school thing was totally different from what we’d had in Zimbabwe, lots of nice hot dinners and the science labs and computer suits were amazing.”
Maphosa has evidently experienced a lot already at just 25-years-old and it might be a case for why the British boxer prides himself on being humble and dedicating himself to every task he takes on. In October 2018, Joe was awarded for his efforts with the prestige of Teesside’s future star. This coming five years on from being named runner up for the award in 2013.
Having first put on boxing gloves at just 13-years-old, 12 years down the line Maphosa is professional in the industry signed with top promoter, Frank Warren. He is a confident fighter that certainly believes in his ability and he most certainly can forge his way in to some big-name bouts in the years to come. After signing professionally with Frank Warren, he stated: “I’ve got quick hands and quick feet and pack a punch. I stopped a few in the amateurs so I think I’ll make a smooth transition into the pro game. I like to box clever but can fight on the front foot when I need to.”
If you want my opinion, Maphosa will prove himself to be a real talent within Boxing in the years to come and if you are interested in the sport, he is most definitely a figure to keep a look out for. A genuine person with a natural ability in the ring, I personally feel he is destined for the top.
By James Miller