We sat down with him to talk the brand, boxing highlights, and the almost career-ending attack on him back in December. We also got discussing his upcoming fight on the 18th of July. Scroll down to the bottom for your chance to win tickets to see the fight!
So what's Intense all about?
Intense represents the younger generation. Streetwear is turning smart, and it is good to see smarter wear on the streets. There is a selective style of clothing nowadays, and with Intense we are trying to bring something new to the area. Intense is suited for everyone, but it is going in the direction that we want as a brand for the lad's lad. We want Intense to be an upgrade on smart wear, and clothing that makes people feel good about themselves.
Considering where we have got to in three years, we are in touching distance of the pinnacle of the game; we want to expand as big as we can. Intense are bang in the middle of the gym mix! MMA, football, boxing... it would be silly for us not to consider gym wear.
Where do you come into it all?
For the past few years since Intense started I've been on friendly terms with the guys at the company. I first went into the shops to look at the clothing range as I liked their styles and what they are doing with the brand, and it escalated from there.
What Intense threads are you loving the most at the moment?
At the minute I really like the new tracksuits, the black one. It’s great for me when I’m going to the gym to throw on a smart tracksuit. I've got to make sure I’m looking good and I don’t want to be rocking up in a scruffy tracksuit. When I wear it I usually get a lot of people asking about the brand. If I ever wear Intense clothing for a press conference or on social media, I get quite a few comments with people asking “where did you get that from?”. It's then my job to put the people in touch with the guys at the brand.
What's your everyday style?
It’s not necessarily a specific style but I like to wear smart polo shirts with jeans or if I’m going out at night, a nice knit jumper. I mix up the sort of style that I wear, but it is convenient that as a brand Intense covers all of those aspects. I think Intense is different than most brands out there; nobody wants to be a sheep or the same as everyone else.
Who's your favourite fashion icon?
Victoria Beckham... ha only joking, of course it's David Beckham. There is never a time where he doesn’t look smart, but he can afford to look smart all the time - I try and do my own thing.
Tell us an interesting fact about Million Dollar Crolla
Other than I’ve got a world title fight in a few weeks, I’m Manchester born and bred and a massive Manchester United fan. I'm a season ticket holder, so I go to every home game and as many away games as I can.
What's been the highlight of your career so far?
It’s been a roller coaster and I’ve had some up and downs. I had a really big fight in Manchester last year, against another guy from Manchester. It was like the battle of Manchester against John Murray. That’s been a high point so far but certainly the world title shot has been a dream since I was a little boy. To get that opportunity at the title in five weeks time is a highlight of my career and to win it will be the ultimate.
December was a tough time for you after being burgled and attacked, putting you in hospital. Is everything good now?
It was a worrying time. It was four weeks before I was meant to fight for a title and I suffered some pretty bad injuries. I had a fractured skull and a broken ankle in two places. It was a really tough time for me and my family, but I am a big believer that everything happens for a reason and you have to stay positive instead of being sat around feeling sorry for yourself. I made a decision lying in the hospital bed that I’d get myself back but I wouldn't rush it. I knew that being young, in good shape and living a clean life would speed up the recovery time and that’s what happened.
How long was your recovery time?
I was on crutches for a while, but the moment I got off them I was in the gym. I worked on recovering the muscle that I'd lost and burning off all the chocolates I ate over Christmas.
Are you more focused now than you’ve ever been?
Without a doubt! The hunger was never a problem, but now I am starving as I’ve come very close to losing it all and I’ve been handed an excellent opportunity in July and I am going to take full advantage of it.
Have you been studying your opponent's style? How do you feel about the big fight?
It will have to be a world-class performance. He is a great fighter, and one of the top lightweights in the world so I will have to be at my very best to beat him. When the bell goes it's him and me in the ring and I will have a packed out Manchester arena cheering me on. It'll get an extra 10-20% per cent out of me.
What do you miss the most when training?
I’ve got a sweet tooth and I am a bit of an ice cream monster. There are times you want to ditch the diet, but there are all types of hard things to sacrifice whilst training. I try to just enjoy it as much as I can because it is a short career and before you know it it's over. I don't want to look back with any regrets.
What do you do when you finish training?
After a fight some people have after-parties and stuff. It sounds boring but I am happy with some fast food and to go home and spend time with my family. I like to wind down. I do like to have a good night out with my mates, but I am not one of the lads that are out all weekend every week.
What motivates you to keep on boxing?
When I started to make a living from it I was doing it for myself, but now I do it for my family, my little boy. I want my mortgage paid off and to give the little one a good start in life.
Would you want your little boy to follow in your footsteps?
No. I get asked this question a lot but it is a brutal sport mentally and physically. I wouldn’t stop him going to the gym but it would be my worst nightmare if he wanted to be a boxer.
What would you be doing if you never put on the gloves?
Tough question. I think I would definitely be involved in the fitness industry, a personal trainer or coach, or possibly working with troubled kids, trying to get them on to the right path.
Do you live by any mottos?
"One day your life will flash before your eyes, just make sure it was worth watching."
Who’s another boxer to watch out for in 2015?
British boxing is booming at the moment! World champions are being produced all the time, such as Olympians like Anthony Joshua! There isn't one boxer in particular but I would say British boxing is in the best place it has been in recent times.
Who are your favourite boxers of all time?
Salvador Sánchez – A great boxer who lost his life in a car crash.
Sugar Ray Leonard - I have been lucky enough to meet this guy.
Floyd Mayweather - He is not everybody’s cup of tea but you cannot deny his brilliance.
People say boxing is dead but it has never been in a healthier state. The biggest grossing event was a boxing match, and last year 80,000 people packed into Wembley stadium to watch boxing. For me there is no other sport like it that brings people out to watch.
How many rounds could you last in the ring with...?
Muhammad Ali - Until he hit me really haha, he is a lot bigger than me. Hopefully I could stay out of his way for a few rounds. I would be lucky to see the first bell!
Mike Tyson - You're throwing me in at the deep end here! I might fail to see the first round.
Floyd Mayweather - I reckon I'd last a bit longer because he'd take his time, so I'd certainly see the first round.
Amir Khan - I actually did a lot of sparring with him in the past, we went away on England training camps together. I can’t say any rounds! He’s a lad who's done amazing for himself. Seeing him from a young kid going on to achieving what he has is amazing.
Darleys Perez - We will find out on July the 18th!