Many cutsman often turn up on fight-night, get paid and go home without fully understanding the man in the corner they are patching up.
Peter Sims is different.
He is different because he dedicates his whole time to the gym.
Not only does he now train 3 fighters, but he spends time around the fighters whose corner he will be in beside brother Tony.
Peter understands what each man is susceptible to for cuts and the best methods to prevent them from occurring.
He is recognised and renowned as one of the best cutsman in the business.
Alongside brother Tony, they are the only brothers in boxing who work together as trainer and cutsman.
What struck me most about Peter was that he is a real throwback of men of yesteryear.
Born and bred in listening distance of the Bow bells and the home of British boxing; Peter is one of the most genuine guys I’ve met for a long time.
A great host to me in my maiden visit to Simsy’s gym, even though he had Wadi Camacho and Benga Ilyemi beating holes in one another sparring, he constantly checked I was comfortable and catered for.
Whilst we watched Martin Ward and Romeo Romaeo spar in a session that Bruce Lee would have been proud of, we stood there rabbiting away like a pair of old women in a laundrette.
You would learn plenty listening to Peter talk about boxing, I certainly did.
I felt like a boxing boffin sat in the front of the class, all that was absent was a thick pair of glasses and a Granny Smith to give to him.
What made you get in to boxing initially?
Well I started boxing when I was 10, me and Tony (Sims, Peter’s brother) were brought up in Bethnal Green. My Junior School was right round the corner from Repton Boxing Club. I remember I walked in to Repton at 10 years of age and started going in there a couple of times a week.
When I was 11 I started boxing for Poplar as an amateur and went on to Stepington St George’s. Tony went over to Fitzroy Lodge.
That was my real introduction to boxing really.
Our family are a good boxing family; our dad won the Force’s Champion as a Middleweight, our uncle Jimmy Davis fought Randolf Turpin who later went on to fight Sugar Ray Robinson.
Boxing has always been in our family.
It sounds like it’s been handed down from generation to generation in the Sims family like a trade..
Definitely. It’s stemmed from the area that we’ve come from, working class background.
When we left school we went down to Billingsgate fish market, which had Billy Walker, Georgie Walker and loads of other fighters from years ago.
It was the environment we grew up in, you were surrounded by boxing and that’s where it all starts from really.
What has kept you in the sport since then to the present day?
I came out of the sport for a bit as I had a club out in Spain for a few years. Funnily enough I was training fighters out there for at a gym in Marbella.
I was back and forward from there doing cuts with Tony and his guys when he first started with the likes of Butch Leslie, Dave Stewart and obviously Darren Barker came along in the early years.
Then 8-10 years ago I decided to move back from Spain to England, my children were then old enough to go to Secondary School and then I came back in the gym with Tony.
I was working full-time then doing the conditioning with the fighters, I had other business interests and didn’t want to go to deep in looking after fighters, and it happened by accident that side of it really.
I was quite happy doing the cuts for Tony.
My perception of a cutsman is one of the toughest jobs on fight night as you have a matter of seconds to work between rounds. What skills have you learnt over the years?
As much as you follow old school tactics and techniques of the likes of Mick Williamson (former cutsman for Ricky Hatton), you learn from your own experiences.
I know Mick well as he was friends with my father-in-law for years and years.
He was at my father-in-laws funeral. He’s been a friend of my family outside of boxing for 30-40 years.
What has inspired me to get in to cuts being in the gym and around the fighters.
You can learn a lot about the fighter that a lot of cutsman don’t do, they just turn up on the night.
When you are in the gym with them and they get facial injuries, you learn to know about the structure of their face and I believe it’s an important thing.
Some people have got sharp cheekbones and sharp eyebrows, you have to be careful and watch them where they swell up, where their weak points are.
Have they got an injury in sparring that they could take in to a fight?
That is something people don’t know about , but I certainly do.
A lot of cuts people get wearing the headguard, they need to Vaseline the headguard as well as the face.
Many of the fighters don’t want Vaseline on the headguard as it slips.
But it’s very important to keep the headguard supple and greased.
It’s something that I enjoy doing and now I’ve gone on to training fighters in the last couple of years.
To discuss your fighters in more detail, how did you end up training Tyler Goodjohn firstly?
Well as you know, Tony used to train Tyler. At that time Tony was looking after a number of young fighters like Ryan Taylor and Tyler.
Tyler went in to a fight with Vinny Woolford, basically a journeyman who could wack a bit.
He had a condition called hypoglycemia and even now we have to check his blood sugar levels are ok.
Basically it was caused by bad diet and bad advice by a nutritionist he was using at the time and it resulted in him developing hypoglycemia.
It was brought on by fructose in fruits, but we didn’t know he had that problem at the time.
He went in to the fight with Woolford with that condition, he was gone before the fight really, and he didn’t look the right skin colour.
It was a big defeat for a young kid that turned pro at 18 and won a National Title as an amateur, they had high hopes for him.
Then he boxed Danny Connor for the British Masters and got beat on points and it was a 2nd defeat.
It’s quite common knowledge in our gym that if you get 2 defeats and you are fighting for Masters Titles, you are shown the door.
It’s different if you are competing at European or World Level as you can comeback.
Tony phoned Tyler to come spar Ryan Taylor, and was actually training himself.
After the spar Tyler told me he was really pleased with the instructions I gave him during the spar and that he had never felt that confident in a spar.
He told me he had an upcoming British Masters fight and would I train him for it.
To be honest with you, I was reluctant did I have the time?
I had my hands full with a Recruitment company in Darlington and my Jab Wear (Boxing apparel) business.
I agreed to train him for the fight and go from there.
From speaking to Tyler you can tell how much he respects you. It may sound cliché but it’s almost like a father son relationship.
He listens & believes in everything you say and you show a lot of confidence in him, providing constructive criticism where necessary.
Off the back of that how did you end up inheriting Wadi Camacho and Benga Ilyemi?
Benga is the cousin of Anthony Joshua, when Anthony turned pro with Matchroom. Ilyemi went along to the same meeting mentioned he wanted turn pro, he won 2 National Titles as an amateur.
So he came in to the gym, me and Tony spoke about it in-depth, we looked at him. Tony trained him for a session and I trained him for a session. We went away and decided between us that I’m the one that should train him.
I thought to myself at that point, what have I let myself in for, now I’ve now got two of them!
From Ilyemi came Wadi Camacho, Wadi came down to spar Ilyemi before the Conquest fight.
He went in to the Conquest fight, got beat for whatever reasons, then I got a call from Jess( Wadi’s manager) he wasn’t happy with his current stable, he felt I could offer him more.
Wadi is a Southpaw which is always an advantage.
Same thing again, me and Tony spoke about it as Camacho does come with a bit of baggage.
Not being disrespectful to Wadi, at that time I didn’t know him as a person or what his personality was like.
He is tarred with a tag that he is a bit flash and a bit arrogant; he’s actually the complete opposite and a really nice guy.
And that’s how I came about Wadi Camacho.
Wadi is half Spanish as you are probably aware, I can speak fluent Spanish after living out there for a number of years. We speak Spanish to one another in the gym and take the piss out of people who are completely clueless. We are considering doing it in the corner for his next fight, I’m sure Skysports will lap it up!
(During the interview Wadi comes in to talk to Peter in Spanish, I’m sure they were discussing numbers but I could have been the joke and was blissfully unaware!)
As you’ve stated that you and Tony talk in-depth when looking to bring a new fighter onboard like Joshua or a fighter rejoining like Kevin Mitchell, I presume you both discuss is this a feasible move for the gym?
Well you have to look after the fighters who are already in the gym; you just can’t focus on someone who comes along wanting to join asking:
“Can you train me”.
You don’t think about them or what they’ve got to offer, your main focus is the existing fighters.
Our gym is the most grounded gym for fighters you will ever go in.
There are no fighters here deluded, if they are; we take it away from them.
Ego gets left at the door before you come in this gym.
There is no ego shit in our gym; you have to be grounded to come in here.
Some fighters don’t like it, and we don’t like them, that is just how it goes.
It’s horses for courses, fighters get out what they put in here.
There is no ego from me and Tony like some gyms, I’ve seen egos being passed down from trainers to their fighters if gives them false sense of belief.
**Stay tuned for Part 2 tomorrow – where Peter discusses his Jab Wear business, what key attributes they look for in a prospect and the expectations of their fighters**