“Boxing has helped me think before I take actions. You see a lot of youth these days regretting the decisions they make, but in boxing, you never stop thinking.”
MOVE OVER HAYE – BERMONDSEY HAS A NEW PROSPECT
Fight Scene talks to South London Welterweight, Chris Kongo
Chris Kongo was just eleven years old when David Haye put Bermondsey on the British map of boxing, stopping Tony Dowling to claim the English cruiserweight title on his way to world domination.
And with Haye’s retirement confirmed this week, it will be up to Kongo, now aged 25 with a perfect eight professional wins under his belt, to keep it there.
Having enjoyed a glittering amateur career where he boasted 70 wins against top level competition, Kongo became so frustrated when he missed his chance to go to the Rio Olympics (due to injuries), that he decided to turn pro immediately, rather than waste another four years in the amateur ranks.
And so in 2016, following a long chat with his brothers – and his future mentor, Ted Bami – that’s exactly what he did.
Sometimes, bad things happen for a reason.
The injuries that saw Chris Kongo sidelined for the Olympics gave him the boost he needed to make a bold, bright move into the paid-ranks… and may have also given the UK boxing scene their next superstar.
After just two professional fights, Kongo was called upon by Team Eubank to spar the much heavier Chris Eubank Jnr in preparation for his ITV PPV debut, but, proving that his business brain is just as strong as his boxing brain, Kongo asked for more than just a sparring-partner’s pay-cheque. He requested a slot on the undercard. A brave and clever move that speaks to Chris Kongo’s intelligence – an attribute that he credits the boxing world for giving him:
“Boxing has helped me become very disciplined, it teaches you manners and respect. But it has also helped me to think before I take actions. You see a lot of youth these days regretting the decisions they make, but in boxing, you’re always thinking.”
Promoter Barry McGuigan saw the potential and agreed to the deal, so Kongo took the chance to deliver the sort of performance expected from a far more seasoned pro and made a statement on a the huge PPV stage – an opportunity not usually afforded to a boxer in just his third bout.
Facing Lithuanian brawler Edvinas Puplauskas, Kongo was expected to use the experience as a long lesson in the paid-game, but instead he shocked the crowd and the viewers with a devastating body shot that dropped Puplauskas in the style of an elite-level fighter.
Kongo told Fight Scene:
“My fighting style is mixed. I can box smart but I can also fight inside, considering I’m a tall welterweight.“
Kongo, who started boxing aged eight and was a constant for Team GB, sites films, fighters and family when reminiscing about his early career choice and his adopted technique:
“I first got into boxing through my two brothers who started before me – Obed & Elvis… then growing up I loved watching guys like Sugar Ray Leonard, Muhammad Ali, Prince Naseem Hamed and Mike Tyson. And I love the film Creed. There’s just something about the bond of the coach and the fighter which is great.”
So who does the young boxer-puncher wish to emulate?
“I watch all the top fighters that I can relate to in terms of style – Vernon Forrest RIP, Mike McCallum, James Toney, Floyd Mayweather, Andre Ward, Paul Williams the list goes on.”
Although he clearly moves well, it’s interesting that Kongo lists fighters more well known for speed than power – since his record reflects the opposite. He’s already knocked-out five of his eight victims, including Bulgaria’s unbeaten prospect, Evgeny Borisov, in fight number seven.
But it was in his eighth fight (his last outing), when Kongo battled the tough, awkward and heavily avoided Serge Ambomo, that the boxing world really started to talk about the Brixton-based prospect.
Ambomo came to win and assaulted Kongo with bombs for the fight’s duration, but Kongo – proving that even at six-feet tall, he can move fast, fight on the inside and drop down low for the body shots – systematically picked Ambomo apart.
This win, perhaps more than any others, cemented Kongo as one-to-watch on the British boxing scene.
His decisions have proved to be wise, his nerve has proved to be unshakable and his ring-craft has proved to be absolutely catastrophic to his opponents.
Finally, the boxing world have sat up and listened.
Bermondsey, take a bow… you’ve done it again.
Chris has the following message for his loyal fans and sponsors…
“Thanks to the supporters for the continuous love that I get – it really means a lot and I appreciate every single ticket that’s bought. And thanks also to Bagel King, Ariston Development, New Body Official, Eat Of Eden, HDC cars and of course… British Warrior Promotions.”
Watch Chris Kongo spar Chris Eubank Jnr here.
Contact Chris via his website.
Contact British Warrior Promotions for management & event details.