Basildon basher Tey-Lynn Jones is fired up to secure the stardom in the Ultimate Boxxer III prize ring that narrowly eluded him on the football field.
As a junior, the 6ft 1in Essex hope was a schoolboy sensation between the goal posts, keeping clean sheets for Chelsea, Charlton and Crystal Palace and rubbing shoulders with some of the nation’s top talents.
"At Palace I played alongside (Wales international) Johnny Williams whilst at Chelsea, our youth manager was Brendan Rogers and the team included (Brentford FC’s) Josh McEachran and (European 200m sprint champion) Adam Gemili," says the 24-year-old former Southern Area Middleweight Champion, who hopes to sizzle in Ultimate Boxxer III at Indigo at The O2 on May 10th.
"I want to be well known, recognised, invited to stuff. This can help secure a deposit on a house and catapult me to a bigger platform. I know I’ve the talent to reach British Title level."
@TeyLynnJones “Come fight night, it’ll be straight from the bell. Boom, straight on it!” 🥊💥 A look behind the scenes of the #Middleweight Draw for #May10th ❗️Powered by @MansionBet ...— Ultimate Boxxer (@ultimateboxxer) April 29, 2019
Watch the full draw: https://t.co/TekAaZS9or #UBIII pic.twitter.com/neMKmcYeXp
After his footballing dreams were extinguished at 17, the one they call ‘Tey-sty’ started to shed surplus energy at the nearby Tilbury amateur boxing club. One thing led to another and he was soon a decorated amateur – scooping the Celtic Cup over in Ireland – then undefeated in a fistful of rowdy tear-ups on the Essex unlicensed circuit.
"As a kid, I was quite chilled, a social butterfly so people are very surprised when they hear that I’m doing well at the boxing," disclosed Jones, who is coached by his father Jason at the Venue Gym in Grays and managed by MTK Global.
Since debuting as a pro in March 2016, TLJ has stormed to 11 wins in 12 starts, accelerating his ring education as a spar hand to a number of world class talents in the capital’s fight factories.
"Word got around the gyms that I can handle myself and top trainers started requesting me for their guys," he explains.
"They’ve all got their own different qualities. Billy Joe Saunders has unreal speed, (James) DeGale was very unorthodox, George Groves had a great jab, Andy Lee was quality all-round. (Chris) Eubank Jr just tries to put it on ya!"
Of the eight UBIII entrants, Tey stands as the joint tallest and only fellow Area champ Grant Dennis has boxed more pro rounds. Understandably, he is optimistic of emerging victorious.
"I don’t think any of the lads are in this to make up the numbers or take a loss," says Jones, who has been drawn against ‘Punching Preacher’ Derrick Osaze in the Quarter-Final.
"Kaan (Hawes) and I have probably sparred a hundred rounds and have become good friends but we’ll both be keen to prove we’re the top one in our county. I’ve already shifted five grands’ worth of tickets.
"The bookies have Kieron Conway as favourite but I feel I’ve the style to seriously unsettle him, take him out of his comfort zone. You simply won’t have time to pick opponents off. If you want to win, you’ll not be able to run. I doubt my height will be much of an advantage in this format.
"But I like to be aggressive, sometimes overly so. I guarantee that I’ll make the fight happen. I always preferred the pace of the shorter amateur fights. My fitness allows me to go flat out, ferocious, for all three minutes of all three rounds. That’s my natural style; After fans have seen me once, they’ll be frothing to watch me again.
"I win this because I want it most, I’ve got the biggest heart. I’ll not stop throwing until I’ve got that golden robe around my shoulders."