Boxer Andrew Robinson may be nicknamed “The Animal” in the ring but the father-of-three insists he is a “teddy bear” when it comes to his children – his motivation every time he steps on the canvas.
The 34-year-old is preparing for a warm-up fight on the BCB promotions ‘Britain Awaits’ show in Walsall on Saturday but has his sights set firmly on a British Middleweight title fight with Welshman Liam Williams in the coming months.
The Redditch-based pugilist, now mandatory for the Lord Lonsdale strap, says he feels in his best shape ever ahead of Saturday’s tear up and says he will be leaving his secret sensitive “Dad persona” at the door.
“People think I’m a tough guy because I beat people in the ring and I am definitely focused on pummelling them when I step on that canvas,” he said.
“But they’d probably be shocked to learn outside of it I’m a family man – a real teddy bear where my kids are concerned.
“I’ve sacrificed everything to make it in this sport. I missed my babies’ first steps, their school plays and their swimming lessons but it’s all been so that I can provide for them and give them a good life and a Dad they can be proud of.”
Robinson admits at times the life of a boxer is a lonely one but he says he doesn’t regret that day at the age of 18 that he walked into Lions Gym in Dudley with friends and discovered he had a talent with his fists.
“I came late to it,” he said. “I wasn’t one of those boxers who start at the age of eight or nine. I was 18 and had previously been a power builder.
“Of the four mates that I joined the gym with in Dudley I was the only one who stuck it out even though it was two and half hours there and back every day from my home in Redditch.
“I’d watch my heroes like Larry Holmes and Mike Tyson and use their inspiration to encourage me in the ring.”
The fighter is fiercely proud of his Birmingham routes and a career which boasts 23 wins out of 28 – six by KO.
He said: “I did eight years as an amateur and didn’t turn pro until I was 27. I’m 34 now and people say the clock is ticking but not for me. I feel good and sharper than ever and I feel like I can go on and on.”
There have been struggles but Robinson insists boxing was his saviour and a sport he’d recommend to any youngsters trying to make their way out of a rut.
“It’s not been easy,” he said. “I’ve been robbed on the road and I’ve had days mentally when I have felt I can’t go on but I wouldn’t change this life.
“Boxing provides a great discipline, a great drive – ask any boxer and they’ll probably say the sport saved them from jail or even ending up dead.
“This is the path I’ve chosen and all the sacrifices I’ve made – missing out on seeing my kids growing up because I’m always in the gym – will be worth it when I walk in the door with that belt.”
Robinson, whose nickname Animal came from GB high performance coach Bob Dylan because of how ferociousness in the ring, added:” I don’t know much about who I’m facing next week other than he’s from Cameroon.
“But it doesn’t matter as I prepare the same and I go into the ring with the sole purpose of beating them.
“I only have to think of my kids, Romeo (13) Kyson (7) and (two-year old) Shyla – they are my motivation. I can promise the Animal will be back on Saturday.”
Halesowen super middleweight, Lennox Clarke, Aldridge super bantamweight, Rachel Ball, , Telford super bantamweight, Liam Davies, and Dudley super lightweight, Ruben Campbell, are joined by three debutants in the home corner with Owen Cooper, Dylan Norman and Kashif Khan making their pro bow.
Tickets, priced at £35 standard or £65 VIP ringside with a buffet and waitress service, are on sale now from the Town Hall Box Office on 0845 111 2900. It’s £40 for entry on the door.