• Dexter Hastings

From Roadman to Journeyman to Inspiration

Bbcolumn Magazine Special Feature

Ben Fields has only been a professional boxer for just over a year but he has already amassed 18 fights and counting as he has been on the road fighting some very talented prospects along the way. You may just think that this is just another journeyman story, ‘has gloves will travel’ but you would be wrong. When this welterweight travels, losing is the last thing on his mind as he always comes with the intent to win.

Fields record stands at 18 fights with 9 wins, 2 draws and 7 defeats, which for someone who fights all over the country is not bad. Ben never fought as an amateur as his youth, which has already been well documented was one of drug abuse and violence. He was on a downward spiral with crack cocaine being his drug of choice and a life of crime his only option. Fields who was an addict from the age of 15 with his addiction costing him in excess of £100 a day, entered a boxing gym for the first time at the age of 23; however, the start of his boxing journey was stopped short as he served a 3 and half year prison sentence for violence.

Ben was released early on probation and was quickly back in the boxing gym learning the noble art. Fields had 10 unlicensed / white collars fights and honed his skills at Fightden gym in the squared circle with a Tyson like approach to his craft. Fields, who won the majority of his unlicensed bouts, was urged on by numerous people (including myself), to turn over to the professional ranks which he eventually did. He was taken on by Fightden’s sister professional gym Smoking Joe’s. It is here that former professional boxer and now trainer Shaun Cogan put Fields on a rigorous training schedule to get him to the paid ranks standard and shed some of the 13 stone he was carrying.

Fields had now turned his crack addiction into a boxing addiction, pushing his body to the limits to achieve, what to many when he started his pugilist journey thought was an impossible mission of becoming a professional boxer.

On the 24th of July 2018 Ben Fields stepped into a professional ring on the MTK show at the Alan Higgs Centre in Coventry against the very talented MJ Hall. He won this 4-rounder on points before going on to beat Youssef Al-Hamidi at Villa park on the Tommy Owens Promotions show in October of 2018. Fields then made it 3 in a row as he travelled to Liverpool in November and beat their hot prospect Jamie Collins on points, this fight was in the super lightweight division.

Fields then suffered 2 defeats in a row whilst at super welterweight. The first to Muhammad Ali Zahid in Bolton in December, then to Ramon Perez at The York Hall Bethnal Green London. However, Fields was back to winning ways when he moved back down to welterweight, beating the very talented Lee Gunter on points in a 4-rounder at Villa Park on the Tommy Owens Promotions show in February 2019. He was back in Liverpool in the March getting a draw against unbeaten fighter Matthew Rennie, again at welterweight.

Ben then really took on the journeyman tag as he fought 2 more times on the road in March, losing both on points against unbeaten fighters. Fields then lost again to a 7-0 fighter in JJ Evans in April and started May off losing to another unbeaten fighter in Aqib Fiaz. Fields never seemed deterred by this run of defeats as more than one of them were a bit dubious. Just a week after this fight and with only a few days notice, Ben was offered his first 6-rounder against 8 and 0 Kane Gardener. Fields put on a great performance and really put Gardener through the mill especially in the final two rounds. Fields lost this fight on points but was building a very positive reputation as a fighter who came to fight. Two weeks later Ben’s manager Jon Pegg called him to ask if he wanted to fight Kane Gardener again, this time in a 4-rounder, as they could not find him an opponent. Fields accepted and with just 4 hours notice, took on Gardener in Manchester on the undercard of the Hughie-Fury show. Ben started where he had finished their last fight and scored a very significant win against a fighter who was being groomed for big things.

Following this fight, it was announced that Ben would be taking on the unbeaten and very talented fighter Sean Daly at Villa park on the Tommy Owens Promotions show in what was being called a 50/50 fight. With both fighters coming from Birmingham and both being managed by Jon Pegg, many people were looking forward to this fight. As Fields prepared for this fight, he was offered yet another opportunity to fight which he took with both hands. This time he went down to York Hall Bethnal Green London and took on yet another unbeaten fighter in Denis Denikajev scoring a very good draw over 4 rounds.

The fight between Fields and Daly lived up to all the hype for being an all out war, the two fighters went toe too toe for six rounds with Fields showing he is much more than just a journeyman. The Holte suit villa park erupted as these two warriors went to war, the unbeaten Daly was drawn into an all out battle which suited Fields well and made this fight a contender for fight or the year. At the end of the six rounds the ref gave it to Fields 59-56, myself I had it 60-56 with both fighters showing bumps and bruises form a cracking fight. Fields then went on and took another 0 beating 7-0 Andrew Fleming 58-56 (28.9.19) in Bolton. Fields is now getting ready for an English super Lightweight eliminator against Lee Appleyard in Barnsley on the 23rd November, but before that the "0-taker" had a four rounder at the Holte suite (26.10.19) Villa park winning on points against journey man Chris Adaway.

Dexter’s Thoughts

Ben has only been a professional boxer for just over a year and has done so much in that short time. He is a true road warrior and has no fear of going up and down the country taking on all the hot prospects and beating some of them. I have known Ben for about 4 years and have watch him turn over from the unlicensed scene to the professional ranks. He has always been a very polite and well spoken person and if I did not know his story I would never believe he had been a drug addict. Fields is a inspirational individual who has proven that there is a way back from the most darkest times as long as you believe in yourself. His fights against the then unbeaten Kane Gardener then Sean Daly and Andrew Fleming highlights what Fields can do when he is given a challenge. His fight with ) Daly was only a six rounder but is an early contender for fight of the year, it showcased his skill and determination to win against a very talented opponent. Fields has now been given a English eliminator against the highly skilled Lee Appleyard and I can definitely see him winning that.

The Birmingham boxing column will continue to report on the Smoking Joe’s boxers journey.

The article is the speical feature in issue 3 of the bbcolumn magazine, if you picked up a copy yet it is at selected gyms and shows or you can contact Birminghamboxingcolumn@gmail.com to post you a copy P&P £2. you can also download a PDF of the magazine to your phone or tablet by clicking on the picture.