Fight View 360 was invited to sit down with the ex-Fighter turned trainer, and Author Bobby Mayne to speak about his life and his book called the Art of Boxing. Bobby works out of Australia utilizing the “Boxrite” system of teaching to train fighters in Boxing, MMA and Muay Thai.
I would like to start the interview by finding out some of your back story, where did you grow up and how did you get into Boxing?
My Father was stationed in Singapore with the Royal Marines during the Confrontation between Malaysia and Indonesia and this is where he met my Malaysian mother. I was born in Singapore in 1966 and I spent my early childhood there until 1971 as this is when the British pulled out of the country, my family which now included two younger brothers returned to the UK.
My childhood during the 70’s was not the best, my family relocated every two years so I never really settled or made close friends at school and because I was always the new kid at school and did not have many friends, I was a shy and insecure child that struggled academically and not very sporty as I was small in stature.
Life for my mother was also difficult as my father was always away with his work NATO exercises or his stint in Northern Ireland, she had to bring up three young lads playing the roles of father and mother and working shift work either at ASDA Supermarket or factory work to supplement the family income.
England was a different place back then, we stuck out from the locals being one of the very few dark-skinned families in the area. From the age of 8 to 12 years old I would be constantly bullied badly by kids living on the same housing estate and at school I would come home from school shirt bloodied and torn, black eye, thick lipped from regular beatings from the local toughies and skinheads, this would upset my mother as she copped her own slurs from ignorant people. I would try and fight back but I did not have a clue how to fight as I was always outnumbered.
Being a mixed race child I was picked on for either my skin colour and get called ‘Paki’ or as my father is Irish I knew I would be pounced upon up if the IRA would off a bomb in England.
I was desperate to be left alone and wanted to learn to defend myself, I first got interested in boxing when I was eight years old watching ‘The Rumble in the Jungle’ with my father when we lived in Poole, Dorset. I was intrigued how two guys would hit each other and not cry. I was hooked, watching all the matches broadcast on the telly especially Harry Carpenter’s Sports Night and keeping newspaper cuttings of fights at the time.
I followed the amateur careers of Charlie Magri, Barry McGuigan, Nick Wilshire, Ray and George Gilbody and pro fighters such as Alan Minter, Jim Watt, Charlie Nash, John H. Stracey and John Conteh it was a great era in boxing. My parents did not follow my passion for boxing so they didnt allow me to participate in a boxing program at the High School I attended or at the local Amateur Boxing Club as they worried that I would get hurt.
I continually pestered them to let me learn how to box as I was fed up of with being bullied and bashed up but they remained steadfast in their decision, it did not help that around the late 1980’s Welsh bantamweight boxer Johnny Owen was on the television news and newspapers for being in a coma for many weeks before passing away after his knockout loss to Mexican world champion Lupe Pintor in Los Angeles.
My family emigrated to Perth, Western Australia December 1980, I started the new high school in March 1981, and would you believe it that I was still on the receiving end of insults and schoolyard bullying. My parents finally gave into my pleads allowing me to take up boxing. I had only been training for 8 weeks when I had my first sparring session with then Bantamweight Gold Gloves and State Champion Howard Lockwood it was a frustrating experience and tears came streaming down my face, but Howard and my coach offered encouragement and tips with time and more rounds of sparring I started to enjoy these sessions. The school bully happened to be in my class at school and he pushed me too far this time and hit me I retaliated and belted the crap out of him, and since then I have not been bullied.
My journey in boxing has been amazing having trained and boxed in Australia, Northern Ireland, London and New York after leaving the Australian Army in 1987, the knowledge and experiences gained both good and bad and the people I have met have moulded into the trainer I am now. I was fortunate to train in Belfast at Barney Eastwood’s Gym in Castle Street where I met world class boxers Crisanto Espana, Sammy Storey, Victor Cordoba and sparred then future WBC world featherweight champ Paul ‘Hoko’ Hodkinson. I also spent time in London with my childhood idol Charlie Magri. I think my fondest memories watching big fights on the telly with my Uncle Denvir especially Nigel Benn’s fights.
I returned to Australia in 1990 and gave up competitive boxing to focus on improving my education, I just trained to stay in shape. I watched my friends spar and would give advice on correcting technique or tactics. Boxing for Fitness started to take off in Australia at that time I came up with an idea to make supplement my storeman’s salary as I just got married, my idea was to be a mobile trainer driving to client’s houses to get them fit using boxing training. I had a handful of client’s that I would train after work, this was a great opportunity of teaching myself how to use the focus mitts competently because when I was a competitive boxer I only punched mitts not hold them.
I had be training people at their homes for a couple of years when I was contacted by an owner of a martial arts/Muay Thai club to personally train him in boxing, he was run it.
I studied the way that club broke down the training syllabus into easy to follow grading levels to test the proficiency of students understanding of skills. I came up with my own system to teach boxing that proved successful. I had many Muay Thai and MMA fighters participating who went on to achieve much success in their own sports. Also at that time there was very limited selection of boxing training material as many my student s were asking if I could refer them to any boxing training books, I tried to find good informative books on boxing training I decided to write my own.
What made you want to join the Australian Army and did you get a chance to continue boxing the time you were away with the army?
I have always wanted to be a soldier, if we had not emigrated to Australia I most probably followed my father and joined the Royal Marines, but I did not have the cash for the airfare and other expenses to return to the UK and try and join the Marines, so having just completed high school I decided to join the Australian Army as an 18 year old. Perth then was a small city with not much to do, and I needed to get away and grow up as I was starting to hang around with the wrong crowd and sooner or later I would have gotten into trouble. The army was great experience, it offered a structured lifestyle with many opportunities to improve and advance my skill-set as well as making awesome friends. I continued boxing as a Featherweight representing my Unit against other army units in the military district and against the Navy and Air Force in Tri Services tournaments.
After your time in the army did you go straight in training Boxers?
At 21 years old I I left the army and I returned to the UK to see how far I could progress with the sport, I did ok but I started to lose the passion for competing.
After travelling to Ireland, England and US, to compete, train and spar with awesome sparring partners and I learned a lot as I was trained by different coaches with their own styles and philosophies on the sport of boxing, after a while of doing this I decided to call it a day on competitive boxing so I could move into training.
How did you progress into training other combat sports like MMA and Muay Thai?
I set up a boxing programme at a martial arts club, where I had the opportunity to learn how to use the Muay Thai forearm pads and hold for knees, kicks, elbows as well as punches. MMA and Muay Thai fighters saw that I did not try and turn them into boxers but instead teach the relevant skills to improve their overall game plan and assist in being more complete fighters, proficient with their footwork, timing, improving striking and defensive skills.
Can you please explain what defines the Boxrite training system?
The Boxrite training system was devised to teach boxing technique and skills in a logical and easy to understand format, comprising of 5 levels, it is suitable for the beginners to the sport but elite level amateurs and season professionals as well as they will also gain benefits form the content of the course.
The first three levels cover the fundamentals of stance, footwork, basic punches and defence. The final two stages are more tactical and advanced technical skills along with how bouts are officiated, how to conduct sparring sessions and working a boxer’s corner more efficiently during a competition.
I have been fortunate to participate at various levels of this sport, as a competitor, judge and now coach. This course covers perspective from each of these areas is important for understanding why things are done in a particular manner, to enhance the knowledge of coaches and the skillset of a boxer.
What fighters do you currently train?
Currently I have a handful of elite level State and National level amateur champions and helping Irish world contender TJ Doheny whilst he is in Perth with his partner awaiting the birth of their child. I have previously trained former WBF world champion and top ten contender Daniel Dawson and assisted with numerous Filipino champions Rey Loreto and Rey Megrino as well as UFC and OneFC MMA fighters Brian Ebersole and Filipina Jujeath Nagaowa.
You appear to have made good acquaintances in Freddie Roach and Manny Pacquiao, how did you get to know them?
Yes, Freddie and Manny have been very good to me. I was invited to the Philippines by Filipino boxing manager and promoter Brico Santig from Baguio City in 2009 to check out his boxers. Brico also informed me that Team Pacquiao were also in Baguio City at that time who preparing for his fight with Miguel Cotto. Brico introduced me to Freddie and Manny who was preparing for his fight with Miguel Cotto. Freddie was the first person to see the draft copy of ‘The Art of Boxing: Your Guide to the Sweet Science’ and was impressed by what he read and gave his tick of approval so to speak.
I have frequently crossed paths with Freddie and Manny in recent times. In 2004 my boxer at the time Daniel Dawson was to fight former WBA World Super welterweight Champion Austin ‘No Doubt’ Trout at the Pechanga Resort Casino, Temecula in California. We based the final part of the training camp at Fortune Gym, West Hollywood owned by fellow- Australian Justin Fortune who is also Manny Pacquiao’s strength and conditioning coach I needed to see Daniel to spar one last time before his bout with Trout, and I needed a tall Southpaw. Justin organised a sparring session against Freddie Roach trained Mexican World Champion Antonio DeMarco at the Wildcard Gym in a closed door session. It was a great and humbling experience having Justin and Freddie in the opposite corner to me with Frankie Liles and Mike Tyson watching. Who would have thought that I would have Freddie and Marvin Somodio in the opposite corner but this time for a real fight at the Venetian Hotel and Resort in Macau when Daniel fought Glen Tapia, Daniel was stopped in the 3rd round.
Late 2016 I was contacted by boxing manager and good friend Mike Altamura and asked if I was interested in helping Australian trainer Billy Hussein and his world contender Paul Fleming as a cut man on a Top Rank Promotion in Hong Kong. I jumped to the opportunity, there were a few Filipino boxers also fighting on the undercard who I had trained before, there management who are linked to Pacquiao asked if I was going to visit Manila a two hour flight away from Hong Kong, they suggested I should go as Manny was preparing for his fight with Jesse Vargas in Manila and both Freddie Roach and Justin Roach were also in Manila. I booked my ticket and the morning after Fleming’s win I flew to Manila for a week and spent some time with Team Pacquiao.
What does the future hold for you and your gym?
I have taken a little break from training professional boxers I am currently training private sessions with clients, training my amateur boxers and helping out pro boxers at the moment I am helping Irish world class contender TJ Doheny with mitt work sharpening up for his upcoming fight in Sydney May 12, or I am hired for cut man duties by boxers or their trainers.
I have just completed reworking my boxing training book with former World Middleweight and Super middleweight Champion Nigel Benn as we are putting together a training course for teaching boxing to trainers and schools target for the UK and Ireland. I have just completed an online boxing course of my own which covers most aspects of the sport suitable for all levels of boxers and a vital training tool for coaches too. Skills and technique broken down to 5 levels similar to the grading system I devised years ago.
What made you want to become an author and write the book ‘The Art of Boxing: Your Guide to the Sweet Science?
The original concept for the book came about from when I originally set up the boxing programme at the martial art/ Muay Thai kickboxing club from 1996-2004. Many of the students were approaching me for training advice and tips. In those days the internet was new and books on the topic were limited in content and availability. So I thought of writing my own. It took me 10 years on and off to complete, there were numerous times I nearly gave up and threw the manuscript in the rubbish bin.
I drove a taxi in Perth nightshift to pay the bills while I was studying at university for the Bachelor of International Business degree during the day. In between driving fares around I would be writing the content and drawing sketches in the book on how I wanted the pictures and illustrations to look. I am happy the way the book turned out and am still pinching myself when I see pictures of Manny Pacquiao, Marco Antonio Barrera, Nigel Benn and Freddie Roach along with other top boxing participants giving their approval and having pictures holding my book. The boxing training course will be using ‘The Art of Boxing: Your Guide to the Sweet Science’ along with other titles that I have written ‘The Art of Sparring’ and ‘Your Guide to Focus Mitt Training’ as references.
Thank you for taking an interest me and my experiences over the years in this great sport.
Map Location of Boxrite Gym in Australia