Aaron ‘Bam Bam’ Collins only took up boxing four years ago at the age of 22, and shed an impressive five stone off his frame in order to compete. The Frimley-born fighter, who now operates out of the Camberley Boxing Club, lists Mike Tyson and Vasyl Lomachenko as two of his boxing heroes, with the 26-year-old hoping to add to his unblemished 6-0 professional record.
Steven Donnelly began his boxing journey at age 13, and took to the sport quickly, winning his maiden Country Antrim title within six weeks of first putting on a pair of gloves. He has competed in three Commonwealth Games, winning a bronze medal in both 2014 and 2018. In between that, he represented Ireland in the Rio Olympics. After a highly-impressive amateur career, he made his professional debut in August last year, beating Kevin McCauley at Windsor Park in Belfast.
Kingsley ‘Obi’ Egbunike
One London boy entering the tournament with high hopes is Kingsley Egbunike, known to all as ‘Obi’. Trained by Greg Stallard and Allan Grey at Stallard’s Boxing in Surbiton, Obi has benefited from sparring with James DeGale and Chris Kongo, and has won all four of his professional fights, and is yet to drop a single round, with his one KO coming in his last fight against Kristaps Zulgis at York Hall.
Personal trainer Joshua Ejakpovi featured in the 2016 Legend of Tarzan movie, alongside Samuel L Jackson, and he has also starred in an exhibition at London’s Tate Gallery. But boxing is where the true passion lies for ‘The Hollywood Josh’ and he will be one to watch out for when the BT Sport cameras capture the action on September 20. He’s benefited from sparring with Billy Joe Saunders, and has also trained at the Mayweather Boxing Club in Las Vegas. His only professional defeat has come to fellow UBV contender Sean Robinson.
Lenny ‘The Main Man’ Fuller will hope to have all of the travelling community behind him when he steps into the ring. By his own admission, he had an unsuccessful stint as an amateur, but regathered focus as he entered the professional ranks and is now ready to fight his way to glory at the Indigo at the O2, aiming to make his two young sons proud.
Cricket-loving Kaan Hawes will be hoping for some Jos Buttler-style power-hitting of his own when he enters the ring to try to take home the Ultimate Boxxer V crown. He will become the first man to take part in two Ultimate Boxxer events, having previously fought at UBIII, losing to Kieron Conway. He’s backed by good friend singer-songwriter Olly Murs – they met playing Sunday League football years ago.
Lewis Syrett also enters UBV with an undefeated 6-0 record, fighting out of Sevenoaks ABC and coached by Andy Knight and Paul Lynch. This aggressive, power-punching southpaw is chomping at the bit to get in the ring on September 20. After his first professional fight – which he won against Aleksander Chukaleyski – he returned to his hotel for a well-earned sleep. The next day he ran the London Marathon in memory of a friend who had recently died. Syrett finished in 3 hours 50 minutes.
The current Southern Area Super Welterweight champion comes into the tournament with an impressive record, with one of his nine wins coming against fellow UBV contender Joshua Ejakpovi. Fighting out of the Club KO gym in Buckhurst Hill, Essex, QPR fan Sean is looking forward to fighting at the Indigo in front of his girlfriend Tiffany, brother Luke and Father David Smith. However, we may find Dad backstage – although he goes to all of Sean’s fights, he doesn’t watch due to nerves.