With less than four weeks to go until Ultimate Boxxer 6, BoxNation will profile each of the eight Heavyweights competing for the £50k prize fund.
Jonathan Palata puts his unbeaten record on the line in Manchester on Friday 13th December, hoping to finish top of the pile.
Here we profile the 7-0 pro and former ABA Champion, where he looks ahead to next month's knockout tournament:
Jonathan 'God Speed' Palata
From: Sydenham, London
Age: 30 (31 by the start of UB6)
Record: 7-0, three wins by KO
Height: 6ft 4ins
Nickname: GSP - God Speed Palata. Because ‘I AM RAPID, but GSP sounds better!’
Other sports played: Athletics, basketball - but not to any level
Football team: Not into it at all
What attracted you to boxing: ‘My Dad was a boxer, so I’d train with him and I seemed to be good. I was always the best fighter in my year, in my school and in my neighbourhood. My Dad always said I’d be a boxer, but I didn’t really believe it when I was younger, but here I am. I started when I was 13 or so, but only really got into it properly when I was 21.’
Amateur career: Entered the ring 30 times as an amateur, winning 26 of those fights, with half of his victories coming by way of KO. During his amateur days, he also became the ABA Novice Champion, London ABA Champion and the winner of the prestigious Haringey Box Cup.
Set-up: Trains out of the Peacock Gym in Canning Town, coached by Mickey Burke.
Career thus far: Undefeated, with three of his seven victories coming by way of knockout, one of which was against Ferenc Zsalek at the O2 Arena on the undercard of Daniel Dubois-Nathan Gorman, an experience that Palata describes as the joint - highlight of his career, as well as signing with Frank Warren. His last victory was against fellow UB6 contender Chris Healey at The Royal Albert Hall.
Describe your style: ‘Like my name suggests, I’m blessed with speed. I have good hand speed, I move well, but I’m also cat-like in my reflexes and in my thoughts.’
Thoughts on Ultimate Boxxer 6?: ‘It’s a great opportunity, live on BT Sport, and it gives me even more reasons to stay focused and hungry. The format will suit me, and where I am in my career it really is an opportunity for me to step up. It was a no brainer.’
Interesting info: Studied mathematics at the Open University, and says that logical, pragmatic approach comes through in the ring. Has sparred with Dereck Chisora and David Haye amongst others, the latter of whom taught Palata the most out of all his sparring partners. Also, has been in the ring with Dubois, and experiences like that have convinced him to stay motivated and the opportunity to be at the top table of the division is not as far away as it seems.