MIDDLEWEIGHT NEWCOMER JOEL Kodua has signed with Frank Warren and Queensberry to launch his professional career.
The 25-year-old from Beckingham captured the attention of Tunde Ajayi across multiple sparring sessions with Anthony Yarde and Ajayi will train Kodua alongside the leading light heavyweight in Ilford.
Like Yarde, Kodua has limited amateur experience spanning just 12 fights having only taken up boxing fully at the age of 20. The former railway engineer believes he has compensated for a shortage of amateur pedigree by taking on extensive sparring over recent years with the likes of Conor Benn, Dan Azeez, John Ryder, Ted Cheeseman, Craig Richards and many others.
“I’ve got the best promoter in the world, so I am excited,” said Kodua, who will fight under the stage name of ‘JFK The Gorilla’. “Since the first time I walked into a boxing gym I could just feel it, that I would end up on a TV platform with the best promoter.
“I met with Tunde at the Peacock when I was training with Tony Cesay and I ended up sparring with Anthony quite a bit. I started sparring with him properly for the Travis Reeves camp in early 2019 and then during the camp for Sergey Kovalev Tunde said to me that, other than Anthony, I would be the next and only person he trains.
“Fast forward in time to after lockdown, I started training with Tunde and Anthony again and from then things have just blossomed.
“I started quite late at 20 but I get most of my experience from sparring. Growing up, my dad, me and my brothers all used to watch WWE. When I found out it was fake I needed to find something a bit more real. I found boxing and fell in love with it.
“I used to do 12 hour nights on the railway, come home and sleep for a bit at 6am, do a run and then get to the gym for 11am. Then I would repeat the same thing each day. It built a different type of hunger for me, one I can’t really explain.
“I see me learning the trade as I go and taking my time with it, but I will leave decisions in Tunde’s hands and what he thinks is best I will agree with.”
Promoter Frank Warren added on his new signing: “I am delighted, Tunde has been banging on about him for a long, long time and I respect his judgement as he is as excited about Joel as he is about Anthony.
“Anthony also speaks very highly of him and I am expecting some really big things from him and I think the fans are going to love him.”