By Richard Hubbard
He may admit to being less than impressed over his British title challenge being parked for a month, but in the mind of the supremely confident Ahmet Patterson it is simply a case of delaying the inevitable.
The Dulwich dancer was nigh on ready and waiting to hotfoot it across the Severn Bridge and attempt to unseat the formidable super welterweight champion Liam Williams in front of a partisan crowd of thousands at the Cardiff Motorpoint Arena when he got the call to say his goal is on hold until November 26.
Training injuries suffered by Williams and fellow headline attraction Billy Joe Saunders forced the postponement, resulting in another month of fine tuning for the slick Patterson by trainer Martin Bowers at the Canning Town cathedral of boxing, otherwise known as the Peacock Gym.
Patterson is no stranger to injury misfortune himself, having originally been mandatory for a title charge and having to step to one side and allow fellow Peacock protege Gary Corcoran first dibs at the now Young Boxer of the Year.
He has been out of action since January when he dismantled the durable Dudley man, Ryan Aston, to win the IBF International title via a sixth round stoppage at York Hall.
So the emotions expressed by the 28-year-old over the delay were purely frustration as opposed to fury. The waiting game is becoming tiresome.
“I was on my way to the gym for my final spar and I was kind of annoyed because I was ready to go,” he reflected. “The last week is excitement week, it’s on, no more waiting. Now it is a waiting game again, I am ready to go. I’ve waited a long time and I don’t like to wait around too much.
“It’s made no difference though, my eyes are still on the ball, I’m still focused and on it.”
In a BoxNation interview ahead of the original October 22 date, Patterson explained that, to his thinking, he is already British champion, making the fight something of a foregone conclusion. Therefore the date change is simply a delay to the inevitable?
“Basically, you took the words right out of my mouth, that is exactly what it is. In my head I am already British champion – I just haven’t got my belt yet and I will make that happen.”
He is aware, however, that there is a job to do first and nobody who has tracked his recent exploits would describe Williams as easy pickings.
“Of course, but for a lot of people seeing is believing, in my head believing is seeing.
“It’s been a long wait, but it’s alright because fighting is fighting and I’ve been in the gym. It’s not like I’ve taken months out and started living life, I enjoy being here.
“Time is one thing you can’t get back so I don’t waste time on things or thinking about things that aren’t going to change. Some people worry or fear things, but the way I see it is to focus on yourself and get on with it.”
Patterson has a lot more time on his hands nowadays. His pre-January regime involved a 12-hour night shift in the field of security-concierge before embarking on road work, then a training session, home to sleep, before doing it all again.
After his last fight he set about obtaining qualifications to practice personal training and is now happily self-employed and dictating his own working week, putting punters through their paces and giving them a taste of life as a fighter.
He admits that becoming a fitness mentor to clients has broadened his social horizons by physically extending people from all walks of life and he points out that he hasn’t exactly become a part-timer by calling his own shots.
“I’ve dropped the 12 hours out! After my last fight I did a PT course, level two and three and passed that in eight weeks. Now I am self-employed and doing my own thing in the city.
“I work when I want to work now. I’m still up early, don’t get twisted, I’m still up early and home late.
“When I am training people who want to learn boxing I treat them as fighters, it’s the only way I know. Martin is a good trainer and I love the things he does so I pass that on to other people and treat them as fighters. I let them know that I will treat them just like a fighter.
“I’m interacting with a lot of people now, I’ve always been a people person, but now I have the chance to be one again. I like talking to and meeting new people because life is short and also a beautiful thing.”
It would be true to say Patterson will not not be adopting the Corcoran blueprint when it comes to forming a gameplan to quash the threat of the Welsh favourite and he clearly believes he is eminently more qualified to succeed where the Wembley man fell short.
Not that he paid all that much attention to proceedings at the Ice Arena in July.
“Obviously I had to step aside but I didn’t really tune in because I don’t follow boxing unless I’m involved in it. I saw the highlights of fight and, I don’t want to mention him too much, but I know what I used to do with him in sparring.
“The last time we ever sparred I hit him with a left hook and his legs were gone – and I stepped back as well.”
Corcoran is as game as Patterson is elusive. Patterson’s features display little evidence of him kissing leather, whereas Corcoran – and Williams to an extent – are prepared to take a shot as long as it leaves a gap to land a couple of their own.
Each to their own, but Patterson is more a disciple of the Mayweather mantra of hit and don’t be hit.
“Some fighters want to be like that and fair play to you, do what you have to do, but my place in the ring is not to get hit. I want to take as few shots as possible in my whole career.
“To me they (Corcoran and Williams) are both the same, just come forward, tough fighters. I didn’t really care who won, I just thought I would box both of them and beat both of them.”
Don’t expect a war of words either. Patterson cannot fathom how so much bad feeling was generated last time out between two fighters who hardly knew each other.
“I heard there was quite a lot of emotion involved and I don’t know why. You don’t know each other like that, so why?
“Firstly I am not really a social media person so I won’t be on that, secondly I don’t know him personally. He is a boxer, he is a champion and I respect him. I respect all fighters because I know the work that goes in and it is a boxing brotherhood, if you like.
“I’ve got nothing against him, I don’t know him, so what would you get involved like that for? It’s kind of silly, I want to be able to shake his hand afterwards and be like ‘good fight’.”
Patterson, publicly at least, is completely unfazed over the prospect of stepping into the Dragon’s den in the heart of the Welsh capital. He conveys a feeling that he will thrive in such an environment, stimulated by the prospect of silencing and earning the respect of a raucous crowd.
“I’ll fight anywhere, I don’t care. Nothing outside of the ring is going to save you and nothing outside of the ring is going to affect anything inside.
“I love it, I’ve been away twice and loved it. I love the underdog feel and having to show what I can do. I am underdog to the Cardiff people, I guess, who are going to be rooting for their man. I want them to know what I am about after the fight and applaud it, hats off.
“Williams is a good fighter, he is alright. He is not just a banger, to me he is a box fighter with hands up and moves his head a little bit. He is a good boxer, a come forward fighter, but I believe it is going to need a lot more than that to take me out.
“I am going to be me and being me will exploit a lot of deficiencies,” he predicted, adding that there has not been too much in the way of feedback from the coaches of Corcoran at the Peacock Gym aside from one positive soundbite.
“Not much, I’ve just heard them say that my movement is going to be too much for him.”
Williams is widely tipped for stardom and, should be negotiate the threat posed by Patterson, a world title shot is presumed for 2017. Beat him and the same should apply to Patterson, who has pondered the implications of pulling off a memorable away win in Cardiff.
“It will take me to the world stage. Of course I have considered it, I want to be a world champion, That is what I’m here for, I’ve said it time and time again since my debut that I am going to be a world champion one day.
“I am sticking by that, it is the main goal to be a world champion.
“My eyes are on the ball man.”
And also on the prize.Tags: ahmet patterson, Liam Williams