Widnes Vikings forward Phil Joseph has revealed he could take part in his first ever professional boxing match as soon as next month, as he admitted he would love to turn pro alongside his Rugby League career.
Joseph is training full-time during Widnes’ off-season after getting the approval of coach Denis Betts to do so. He described the move as “win-win” for everyone involved, because not only will Widnes get a fitter player, but it will enable Joseph to indulge in one of the big passions of his life.
“I’ve always dabbled with boxing; initially I did it to lose a bit of weight, but it’s something I’ve developed and got quite good at over the years,” Joseph told today’s League Express (click to see online version).
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“Denis was happy; he sees it as an opportunity to make me stronger on the field. My fitness levels will get higher, so it’s a win-win situation for me and for Widnes.
“We’re looking at fighting before Christmas. Oliver (Harrison, trainer) thinks I’m ready and there’s a show on 15th November at Bolton Wanderers’ stadium that I’d like to be ready for.
“I’d like to explore being pro whilst I’m still playing. When the rugby season finishes, the boxing season starts, so they complement each other.”
In terms of Rugby League, Joseph believes that training with Oliver Harrison, who has previously worked with the likes of boxing stars like Amir Khan, will set up him nicely for next season. He admits that he still harbours hopes of bursting into the international scene at some point in his career.
“Towards the back end of this season I suffered with a couple of injuries, and that knocked my form back a little,” he said.
“I want to get a head start on everyone else, and fire in when pre-season starts.
“I made a statement that I want to play for my country one day, and that’s something I still stand by. I haven’t been playing full-time rugby that long, so my body needed time to adjust to it. Hopefully by doing this, I’ll be ready to go for pre-season with the Vikings.”