We got the chance to sit down with Super-Welterweight boxer CJ Challenger. A successful amateur career saw CJ win 21 out of 30 bouts. Since turning professional CJ has won all nine of his contests! CJ's next out is at Morningside Arena Leicester on March 23rd and we have the chance for you to win two tickets to the bout. CJ has his very own "Knockout Bowl" availble to order in store and online, everytime you purchase a bowl you will be entered into the raffle to win two tickets to the fight!
When we sat down with CJ we discussed all things boxing, diet, music and Leicester. Read below to find out more...
Nice to finally sit down with you CJ. Let’s talk boxing. How old were you when you got into boxing and what motivated you to get into it?
CJ – “It’s nice to be here. When I got into boxing I was probably 15/16. But before that I was kickboxing, I started kickboxing when I was 3 and I literally started that because my dad used to fight and I just followed suit. As I got older, I started to love more sides of sport, I really enjoyed the active aspect of it, mental side of it and then as time went on I realised there wasn’t much of a career for me in kickboxing, so I made the change to boxing purely on that basis. I wanted to take it as far as I could”
So did you always know that you wanted to go into a career in sport or did you have other ideas when you were younger?
CJ – “It was always the thought, but I’ve never been restricted to what I can do. I always knew that I would do what I wanted to do. But as time went on and as I started to think about my future more realistically, I realised that maybe a career in sport is what I actually wanted to do and realised that I was good enough to make it happen.”
Motivation seems really important to you. Let’s talk about training then, what’s your typical training day?
CJ – “So it’s hard for me to have a typical training day, because every day is different. But I would say most days I start with a run early doors then depending on the day it might involve a strength and conditioning or gym session after the run, go home rest for a couple of hours and then go back to the gym and have another big session. I love staying active.”
Okay so when you’re training what’s your diet like? What kind of things do you eat leading up to a fight, is it a really strict diet or can you relax slightly?
CJ – “It could be quite relaxed, but me personally I follow quite a strict diet. I have a nutritionist that helps me with my diet leading up to my fight, He’s amazing and he checks in with me everyday just to make sure I’m on top of things. People don’t realise there are ways to have enjoyable food and still be healthy”
So let’s talk about Grounded Kitchen then, do you think our dishes could be part of a healthy diet and a fitness focussed diet?
CJ – “Most definitely, I think the selection you have already is clean eating at its best. You feel good when you eat Grounded Kitchen. Like usually you go to a restaurant and you get all these extra oils and grease on your plate, but it’s not like that at Grounded. You can see it’s clean, the fact you can clearly see the fresh ingredients in your dish makes you feel good about yourself.”
So what’s your favourite item on our menu at the moment? What’s your go to dish?
CJ - Has to be the Gochujang Chicken, has to be. It works so well. Leading up to a fight I’d have it with brown rice and then after a fight I’d go for white rice [Laughter]
Let’s talk about your personal bowl, if you could have your own personal bowl what would be in it and what would you call it?
CJ – “That’s a good question, it would definitely be something with Gochujang that flavour is crazy. It would have to be a protein fueled bowl, so chicken, beef and some chickpeas too. Just something that packs a punch.”
Sounds good, let’s see what we can do for you. Back to boxing then, what advice would you give to younger boxers coming onto the scene?
CJ – “Stay consistent, that has to be number one. Through anything in life there are peaks and troughs. When you are in your troughs you just have to have faith that you will rise back up. It’s a mad roller-coaster, but you’ve got to be consistent and obviously be true to yourself and stay loving what you do.”
Let’s talk about music, here at Grounded we love our playlists and love playing a variety of music, from Hip Hop to Jazz and Reggae to Soul. What kind of music are you into and are there any artists in Leicester that you’re into?
CJ – “You know what Leicester is big for music at the moment, the scene is crazy. We’ve got such a variety of artists, and for me I love a variety. Some days I’m in the mood for @Kamakazelc, some days I’m in the mood for @itsjafro sometimes I’m in the mood for @MorganMunroeOfficial. Then you’ve got artists like @TwistedPennys who are in that hip-hop scene. For me music is a crucial part of my training, my dad was a DJ so I’ve always been around music and listening to a variety definitely helps me get in the zone, whether it’s a sparring session, early morning run or yoga I need to have music on.”
Do you have a boxing nickname, we obviously know you as CJ but do you have any other nicknames that you like?
CJ - “People just call me what they want to call me [Laughter] A few people have been calling me the secret. I don’t actually have a favourite nickname, I just appreciate the support.”
What does 2019 hold for you?
CJ – “Big year, progress, straight progress. It’s going to be a big year this year, start of something special. We kick it off March 23rd and we grow from there.”
You can follow Challenger's story on: Twitter: @CJChallenger Facebook: CJ Challenger Instagram: @cjchallenger