South London scrapper Derrick Osaze launches himself into next month’s spectacular Ultimate Boxxer III: The Middleweights on Friday 10th May at the Indigo at The O2, live on BoxNation, and is bolstered by the strongest support network in the sport, no less than The Lord Almighty!
After surviving an austere early life on the maligned streets of Southwark, determined ‘Del’ now earns his crust as a youth pastor at God’s Vineyard Ministries in Nottingham whilst simultaneously forging a career as a prizefighter.
"Growing up, I had some anger issues; fighting in school, a few red cards playing sports. I wouldn’t say I was especially violent but I certainly had a short fuse" confides the 25-year-old ‘Punching Preacher', who has won six straight since first punching for pay 18 months back.
"So I started attending a boxing gym in Charlton, in an attempt to keep out of trouble. Gradually, my hobby became my passion, then my lifestyle. Boxing changed my life, helped me deal with my aggression, instilled self-discipline.
"I grew up a Catholic and weekends were always spent in Church. Once I got to uni, living on my own, I wavered a bit before rededicated my life to The Lord in my final year. Today, as a pastor I give sermons and lead prayers at a Pentecostal Church, and I mentor young people.
"My faith in God keeps me grounded and reassures me that nothing I face can break me. There’s a big misconception that just because you go to church, life is plain sailing. It’s not. Christians too face challenges and tests but The Lord guides us through. Something good comes out of each challenge which makes us stronger.
"My faith certainly helps with the mental side of the sport. Above all, it gives me peace and serenity and a happy boxer is a dangerous boxer.
"Before fights, I pray that neither my opponent or myself sustain any life-threatening injuries but there’s no conflict. Boxing’s like a martial art, hit and don’t get hit. It’s competition. God understands I’m just doing my job."
The Jimmy Gill-managed minister, who owns a BA (Hons) degree in Business Management and a Masters in Sport Psychology, has unleashed plenty of fire and brimstone inside the ring since first dipping between the ropes at the Phoenix ABC (alma mater to Carl Froch), aged 19.
"Officially I only won 13 of my 19 bouts but, in reality, I only lost two. Let’s just say, there were a few mysterious decisions,’ claims Osaze, who is now coached by ex-pros Barrington Brown and Mark Howell at the Dreams Come True (DCT) facility in Nottingham’s Hyson Green district.
"But the amateurs was great experience. I attended a few England camps without winning a vest and was approached by Nigeria to try out for the 2016 Rio Olympic qualifiers but couldn’t make it."
With God in his corner, dazzling Derrick is confident of scaling the sport’s highest peaks.
He states: "It’s my ambition to go all the way, to be World Champion. I don’t want money, I want to achieve. In addition to Ultimate Boxxer, I’d like a title this year, maybe Area or English, then British, European…
"On May 10th, fans are going to witness the very best version of me, in the best possible physical condition.
"The three round UB format will suit me because I always start fast. I’ve a counter aggressive style. I’m adaptable, can go front foot or back. I pose different challenges to every opponent, do whatever is necessary to win. Expect the unexpected!"
Osaze is one of five runners and riders who’ll be risking their unbeaten tag at the sizzling UB shootout – the other three entrants have each lost just once – but his faith is such that he is fearless of the competition.
"I love the concept of all the best young prospects in a category coming together because it forces match-ups that wouldn’t be made outside such a tournament," concludes the Middleweight minister.
"I’m not into all the razzamatazz of unbeaten records. So many are padded. If you want to get somewhere in the rankings, you have to take risks, test yourself. This is ,. It’s a perfect launch pad that can provide great exposure.
"They’ve all got two eyes, two fists, two legs so they’re all an equal threat but it’s my time to shine and God is on my side!"
Ultimate Boxxer III features Tey Lynn-Jones, Derrick Osaze, Kieron Conway, Grant Dennis, Sean Phillips, Josh Groombridge, Kaan Hawes and Joe Hurn as they battle it out to become Ultimate Boxxer on Friday 10th May at The Indigo at The O2.
An action packed undercard will see the return of the highly-rated and undefeated Light-Heavyweight talent and UB II winner Shakan Pitters and unbeaten super-middleweight prospect Idris Virgo who is out to prove to critics he is more than just a reality star.