Paul Fleming: “This time next year, I want a world title”

THE word talent and Paul Fleming have been synonymous since the Indigenous ace first laced on a pair of gloves as a boy.

In an exclusive interview with Aus-Boxing, the aptly nicknamed “Showtime” touches on his future plans to fight for a world title, his renewed ties with the famed Top Rank, and how he felt after returning to the ring last November after an eighteen month hiatus from the sport.

Nobody that follows the sport of boxing can deny the rich talents of Queenslander, Paul Fleming. The 26-year-old is back in the ring after taking an eighteen month break due to family reasons.

The highly skilful former Olympian and Commonwealth Games representative says he has never been in a happier place and claims that he is ready to make a serious run at the sport he loves dearly.

“Having time out of the ring was hard man, really hard,” said Fleming in an exclusive interview with Aus-Boxing. “Having a very sick child is scary. My mind just wasn’t on boxing at the time and I felt my priorities needed to be with my family,”

“All now is settled and my family and I have made the move to Sydney from the Sunshine Coast to be closer to my trainer and my team. In the past, I was travelling down to Sydney for camps for extended periods and being away from my partner and two children was getting too hard,”

“I have them here with me now and I find myself more focused and happier than I have ever been. Just being able to go home from the gym and see their faces makes a world of difference. They have sacrificed a lot and their support means the world too me.”

“I am at the stage now where I am ready to make a serious run at it. I’m very serious about this. I am in a great place at the moment. A happy fighter is a dangerous fighter and I am aiming for a world title shot in twelve months,”

Fleming (19-0, 13 KOs) returned to the ring last November and cruised to a near shutout victory against Indonesian hard man Angky Angkotta.

Although conceding it wasn’t his best performance and admitting he needed to get back to the gym to work on some technical aspects, Fleming says he was just glad to be back in there to clean out the cobwebs.

“Realistically it wasn’t my strongest performance, but after that length of time away from the sport,” Fleming explained. “I was just happy to get in there and clean out the cobwebs. I boxed smart and moved reasonably well which was good,”

“I felt very happy to be back in the ring. Since the fight, I have been straight back in the gym and working on those areas of my game that you tend to lose touch in after periods out of the ring. I can only get better” he said.

Fleming has also explained that his manager, Mike Altamura, has been a great support and was key to maintaining the promotional relationship with boxing giant, Top Rank.

“Mike has been great in that respect. He’s a smart guy who has an unbelievable knowledge of the sport,” Fleming added. “He was instrumental in making sure Top Rank was still on board after my time out of the sport. I can’t thank him enough, Cameron Dunkin, and all at Top Rank for their continuing support,”

When Fleming was quizzed about what was coming up for him, he says that he continues to work hard every day in the gym and says sharing a ring everyday with some of the best featherweight and super featherweights in Australia and the world is key to him improving his game at the top level.

“We are looking at a regional title so hopefully that can get me a world rating. I have sat down and made clear goals for the next twelve months, and as I’ve said, I want to really push hard for a shot at a world title.”

“I’m just really lucky to be at Bodypunch (Billy Hussein’s Bodypunch Gym in Sydney’s Lakemba). The quality there is incredible. Luke Jackson, Billy Dib, Billel and Ahmed Dib and some of the amateur boys there are top notch,”

“We push each other pretty hard and having stablemates like that is a blessing man”.

One thing that was very apparent about Paul Fleming is his focus and his hunger. He is now at a place in his life where he is happy and healthy and ready to deliver on such big promise.

We wish him the best.

Words: Dan Smart (Follow Dan on Twitter @dansmart76)
Photo: Damo Photography



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