Michael Page will have a keen eye on Mayweather vs McGregor this Saturday night as he looks set to make his own professional boxing debut later this year.
Last week, Page spoke to MMAUNO.com about his difficulties this past year chasing a fight with Paul Daley, but after a turbulent start to 2017, he’s looking to end it on a high.
Lacing Them Up In A Few Months Times
In the second part of our interview with Page, the Londoner revealed that he’s getting ready for his first boxing fight later this year and it could come sooner than some people might’ve expected.
“It’s definitely something I’ve always wanted to do, but I’ve had a very low year,” Page admitted. “It’s hardly been a year at all if we’re are honest and it’s due to multiple reasons. This was always something that me and my coach have talked about and we always thought we’d be able to get a few bouts in during the slow period of MMA.
“That was always our sort of thoughts, but yeah, after the injuries and the whole Paul Daley stuff, I wasn’t really happy at all and this just kinda fell into place. The next thing I do will be boxing and I’m just waiting the confirmation for my date.
“I’m expecting my first fight to be in October and I’m really looking forward to it.”
Getting Everyone On The Right Page
Page went on to explain how his relationship with David Haye was the catalyst for his crossover. He also revealed that he was hoping to make his in-ring debut quicker than he has, but that Bellator MMA weren’t quite signed up the idea at the time.
“I’ve always wanted to do it and David Haye is a good friend of my coach,” Page said. “He often comes to the gym often and I know he does some training with him as well. He would sometimes watch the sparing and even years ago he was always saying like, ‘You’d do well in boxing, you should come across.’ So he was always saying that, but we were always just a little more focused on the MMA. It just kinda came up again and we were talking and I was like this is just a good time to do it.
“I was supposed to be boxing on the same card that David fought Tony Bellew, but Bellator weren’t 100-percent ok with me at the time to do it. So, I was still negotiating with them at the time to see if they would be happy to let me do it. We got past that though and all parties are happy with me doing this now. It’s maybe even better now given the Mayweather vs McGregor fight because crossover fights seem to be more accepted it now.”
Bellator’s Reaction To Him Boxing
While Bellator weren’t so happy about Page’s intentions earlier in the year, they became a lot more supportive after having time to think about the situation. Page explained that the process from suggesting the idea and then him requesting that they let him take a fight was very short and that it was likely the shock of the situation that made them resist the idea at first.
“I don’t think Bellator are going to be entirely happy with it in all honesty,” Page said. “At the same time, they’ve been supportive of me. When it got rough the first time, I think it was just a little bit of shock for them that I was even interested in doing it and how quickly I wanted to turn it around. At the beginning they were like, ‘Ok, no problem we will look at it and see what we can do,’ but I was being active in the back office and I knew David very well so we were getting stuff done quickly. I got my boxing license very quick, I sat in from the board very quick and I got all my medicals. It became a reality very quickly for them [Bellator] and I think that was where the shock came for them.
“I think they needed a bit more time to go over it and the more we sat around and discussed it the more they understood. I sat down with Scott Coker as well and he asked me why I was interested and he was like, ‘Yeah cool, that’s fine. We want to support you in it,’ so we just went from there. I think it was just a case of them being caught off guard at the beginning. I don’t it was ever a case that they didn’t want me to do it.
“I’m not too sure they actually expected me to go do it and I don’t think they expected it to be a reality as quickly as it was.”
Not Rushing Things
With Bellator now all signed up to the idea of Page lacing up the boxing gloves, the Londoner can focus on his first fight. Unlike McGregor, Page said he wouldn’t be looking to face big name fighters straight away, but rather that he’d be looking to get his feet under him first before taking bigger fights.
“For me, I’m not going for a big money fight,” Page said, speaking about his upcoming debut. “My aim is to actually to take a boxing fight to improve my boxing so at the moment I’m looking at a six-round fight against someone who’s looking to progress in boxing themselves. I don’t think it’s going to take me too long to build up the endurance. I already feel a hell of a lot stronger, but by the middle of next year I would like to be fighting 12-round fights with bigger names.”
Maintaining The Balance With MMA
While boxing is at the forefront of his mind right now, MMA is never far from his thinking. Page explained how he’s looking to balance up the two and how his coaches would help him transition from focusing on one sport to other.
“We have great boxing coaches at London Shootfighters, but I’m also doing four days a week at David Haye’s gym,” Page said. “They have an amazing coach down there called Ismael Salas who’s trained 19 world champions and I just work very well with him. I’ve stayed with all my coaches though because they also understand boxing very well. We get a lot of sparring in and that was even before I even said I would be crossing over. We get so many top names come to the gym to do some rounds.”
“I’m going to mix it up with MMA. I’m going to target where I want to go with the MMA when I get a name and date that I want. I’ll then adapt my training again. Next year I’m looking to start the year with an MMA fight because I’m hoping to get two boxing bouts in this year and I think because they’re going to be six round fights, it’s going to be a lot easier to do. I do that in training for fun.
“I’ll start 2018 with an MMA fight and then throughout the year select what’s best.”