‘I’ve had to fight for my money, so I know it doesn’t come easy’ – BLM meets Olympic boxing champ Luke Campbell

Interview | Latest News | North East
Luke Campbell.
Luke Campbell.

He’s an Olympic, Commonwealth and European champion boxer – but Luke Campbell is also a commentator, motivational speaker, and owner of the Coolhand brand. He’s now a property investor, and rolling out a healthy eating chain and boutique gym. BLM learns more.

Your boxing achievements are well documented, but can you tell us about your activities outside of the ring?

I’ve got a property business, where we own a number of properties which we rent out, and have a healthy eating business called Feast, that I am growing.

I also have a couple of other things I’m working on, like my own boutique gym, where I will be able to give back and help people. That’s important to me. I like to give back, help kids that need help, and try to put them on the right path.

Can you tell us more about Feast?

Traditionally, the takeaways you get are curries, Chinese, pizza. People work all day, they’re tired, they’re hungry; they’re trying to be good, but they just want to order some food. But you eat it, and you feel guilty, you feel rubbish for eating it.

We’re offering healthy food as a takeaway. As a boxer, my whole life I’ve had to eat clean, live a strict life. So I have a passion behind eating well. It represents everything I’ve been doing for 20 years.

How big can this grow? Can it go national?

That’s our ambition. We want to be able to franchise it and put it everywhere, and we’re putting 100% into this and have a lot of passion for it.

Luke Campbell won Olympic gold in London in 2012.
Luke Campbell won Olympic gold in London in 2012.

What made you invest in this way while still fighting?

Boxing is one of those things where injuries mean your career could be over in a heartbeat, so the plan is to be smart with what we’ve got.

What I have today, I’d like it to last me a lifetime. I don’t want to give my life to boxing for 19-20 years and then come out of the sport and have to get a job. I’ve dedicated my life to boxing so I’ve got that luxury of not having to do anything if I don’t want to, and still living the life I want.

That shows a wise head. Do you come from a business family?

I’ve not come from a business background, but I’ve always been a little saver.

It started when relatives came over from Canada when I was 10 years old. They said to me, my brother and my sister, ‘why don’t you guys come over for the next summer… but, you’re going to have to save up. You’ve got the whole year, and if you save enough money, you can come and spend the summer with us’.

I was the only one who saved the money. I had to learn that if I wanted something, I couldn’t just live like the rest of them and have the sweets and go to the swimming baths. I learned I had to sacrifice.

You’ve always been very disciplined, then?

Definitely. I see some boxers who have been in one big fight, and then they’re driving round in a Rolls-Royce. But we’re trying to invest the money in a way that brings us a monthly income; that’s the key, and we’ll keep building.

But I’d be lying if I said I was the brains behind my businesses. What I have, I put down to my wife. She’s a successful woman, and was a business director with her own family business. It is her who has been investing it all. She’s the brains behind everything I’ve got.

Which of the attributes that make you a top sportsman also help you in business?

I’ve learned a lot of lessons through sport. If you want something, you’ve got to work. You have to put your hours in and sacrifice to get to the goal.

I’ve learned about being disciplined and dedicated, and that persistence pays off. Having the right mindset too – not giving up at the first hurdle. If you fall over, if you’re down a little bit, you’ve got to keep going.

Do people underestimate you because you’re known for achievements in sport rather than business?

When I’m getting prices, people might thing that ‘he’s alright, he’s well off’ or whatever, and they try to charge me over what it should be. They think they can do that because I’ve got it, but they don’t realise I’ve come from nothing.

They forget I’ve earned my money the hard way. I’ve had to fight for my money, so I know money doesn’t come easy – but I don’t let it go easy.

'What I have, I put down to my wife. She’s the brains behind everything I’ve got.' - Luke Campbell
‘What I have, I put down to my wife. She’s the brains behind everything I’ve got.’ – Luke Campbell

Which of your varied portfolio is likely to prove your main focus?

My main aim is to be the best I can be at boxing, to put on the best fights and be the most exciting fighter in this country. That’s my ultimate aim. Putting on big, exciting fights for everybody in the country, if not the world; that’s my bread and butter. Everything else just works around it.

Do you have an age when you plan to retire from fighting?

Obviously I love the sport, and I have got all the passion in the world to be the best, so once that desire goes, I’ll know it’s time for me to go.

I don’t want to be getting punched in the face for the rest of my life; I have got a family. But I’ve still got goals and ambitions in boxing, and that includes being crowned world champion. I’ve still very much got a desire to be the best, and I’ll keep going until that goes.

Ten years from now, what further ambitions would you hope to have realised?

I’d definitely be a world champion, and I’d also be one of the most exciting fighters. If you were to ask a boxing fan who they love to watch, then, within the top two names I’d love them to say my name – across the world.

Beyond boxing? More properties in the portfolio, a franchise of Feast – I think that’d be plenty.

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