When boxing meets poetry! Introduced to boxing by his father and older brother he soon realizes how much of a challenge boxing is. But before he starts really getting into boxing he found another passion: poetry! From London, United Kingdom, we had a talk with Daniel who impressed us with his multiple talents. Dive in!
Jabtojab: How did boxing enter in your life?
Servant Mendes: My Dad was a professional boxer so he was the first person to take me and my older brother into a boxing gym. He made it clear from the beginning that the gym was not a social club, it was a place for hard work. He would jokingly say ‘in the gym, I’m not your Dad’ just to reinforce that we wasn’t there to talk.
Discipline along with resilience and consistency are key in becoming a boxer
How do you think boxing could impact the young men and women life’s in UK? It all depends on how seriously they take it, after a few months I stopped going boxing and focused more on smoking weed, drinking and living recklessly. When I approached boxing again as a man with a different mentality, to better myself, it helped steer me away from things that would put my end goal in jeopardy therefore giving me discipline. Discipline along with resilience and consistency are key in becoming a boxer those characteristics are also essential in finding success in life so it isn’t hard to link the two. If young men/women were to find that (discipline, resilience and consistency) in their teens at the gym, I’m confident it would present itself in their adulthood also, influencing their life in all aspects.
Boxing fights in UK are very attended. Like football matches, where family’s gather together to go see a competition on a Saturday night. Do you think boxing culture could one day surpass football in UK and why? I don’t, having a huge family myself I’m aware some people are deterred by the bloodshed and brutality of the sport therefore not making it as universal or ‘family friendly’ as football. Boxing has definitely grown in popularity and will continue to do so, box office numbers prove that, however to overtake football is a tall order in my opinion.
Sports at close doors arrived. It is a completely different challenge. We were in quarantine for several months. No competition rhythm. Less training. How do you think it will be the physical and mental impact in an athlete like yourself? Physically I haven’t been able to replicate the same quality of training as a my usual thorough training camps. I have been running, doing circuits and my brother was kind enough to give me his punch bag but with less equipment, limited gym access, less pad work and much less sparring, mentally I know I’m not in the supreme fighting shape I normally step through the ropes in. However I’m still in a good place mentally as I know I haven’t been idol and that supreme shape I speak of is only weeks away.
Boxing is not my main income, I fight around 3/4 times a year so I don’t depend on boxing to get by. I have a full time and a couple part time jobs also.
How can professional athletes and coaches that depend of the events revenue, survive and overcome these difficult times? Did the British government give any kind of support? Boxing is not my main income, I fight around 3/4 times a year so I don’t depend on boxing to get by. I have a full time and a couple part time jobs also. My coach also has a full time job so again, I have to count my blessings. I don’t know of any government schemes to help though as I count myself lucky during these times I haven’t sought any financial aid.
Over the years I have written over 100 poems
Take us through this poetry book that you’re working on? What is it about? I began writing when I was 16, way before I began competing as a amateur boxer. Over the years I have written over 100 poems. Written through various stages of my life, they tell my story. We all have a story and a gift, whether it’s boxing or poetry I guess that’s down to the reader to decide. The layout is unique and the content includes various topics that feature in all of our lives.
My full-time is at a school, working with teenagers aged 13-16, they have either been excluded or faced exclusion from their previous school.
What are your projects once you stop competing? My full-time is at a school, working with teenagers aged 13-16, they have either been excluded or faced exclusion from their previous school. I’ll continue to work with them and encourage them to turn things around as I did after being excluded from my school. The more people I can help the more productive my life can be and of course I will continue writing and performing my poetry.
What are your professional goals for the rest of the year? It’s a tough one, especially this year. I would like to compete before the year is through but I don’t intend to jump blindly at the 1st opportunity that comes my way with a minutes notice. My aim is to stay reasonably fit, with the right amount of notice I could be out this year, other than that early 2021 is more of a certainty.