When Ahlan! Met Luke Campbell
We were super excited when we heard Luke Campbell was heading to Dubai on his vacay and, lucky for us, he was happy to take some time out for a chat. Meeting Luke at Jebel Ali Beach Hotel was more nerve-racking than meeting Gerard Butler! A Team GB success of the 2012 London Olympics, this young boxer who hails from the UK city of Hull [my home town - Lyn] has had an exceptional year. He won the gold in boxing's bantamweight division at the 2012 London Olympic after beating Ireland’s John Joe Nevin 14:11, he made the final of TV's Dancing on Ice (Yes, he really can ice-skate like a pro) and he was awarded the Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) by the Queen in the 2013 New Year Honours List for services to boxing (he's met her twice already!). Even with all this success, he still manages to keep his feet firmly on the ground and totally charms us!
Welcome to Dubai, Luke. Very pleased to have you here, what have you been up to in the city so far?
Just relaxing really. It's been non-stop since the Olympics and finally after Dancing on Ice was over, it was like whoa, I have got my life back, things are calming down and I am going to get back to training.
You had a crazy year, bringing home the Gold for Team GB. Plus, you received an MBE from the Queen and made the Dancing on Ice final? How have you coped with all the attention?
Obviously for me, I have been doing the same thing for the last 13 or 14 years and one tournament just changed everything. For me, it's no different because I have been doing it all my life. It's not as if it's the first time I went into a tournament and won it. From an attention point of view, it was difficult for the first six months after the Olympics and people knowing who I was, what I was doing, where I was going but now I just get on with it. I think being in Hull with a massive fan base has helped. I like been treated like one of lads, nothing will change me.
Do you believe nothing will change you?
I mean with all the names I meet now... I do meet highly popular people and if they're not nice, I won't give them the time of day. I don't care who they are. It's like in Dancing on Ice, Pamela Anderson blanked me twice (We would never do that to you, Luke). I said "Hello" and I got nothing, then I saw her again the next day and I said "Hello, how are you?" And got nothing again. Why should fame change you? Manners cost nothing in my eyes. It doesn't hurt to use your manners, no matter how famous you are.
After winning the gold medal at the Olympics, will you now become a professional boxer or defend your title in the 2016 Rio Olympics?
In the next two weeks I will probably have made the decision whether I stay on for Rio or turn professional. I am just looking at options now to see which route to go down.
Are there any other boxers you talk to who have given you advice?
I talk to Carl Froch a lot; he is three times World-Champion and a really good guy. I speak to him a lot. I speak to David Haye, he's a great guy.
David Haye just left Dubai on Friday, he came to watch Bob Geldof and he is apparently opening a gym out here. He's a character!
He is! You can take him a couple of different ways [smiles] He is a character, I think he has got to where he was in boxing half through being that character.
We saw some pictures of you on your Twitter account of you with different celebs at the UK's National TV Awards. How does it feel now that you are actually a celebrity yourself?
It is, but I don't really think about it. It’s strange but it's really good! I love been involved in TV, so fingered crossed I can keep going in and out of TV, but for me now my future is being the best sportsman I can be in the boxing ring.
Who is the most famous celebrity you have met?
My two favourites are Paddy McGuinness who I met at the National TV Awards [Luke proudly shows us his picture of them together] and Keith Lemon. I'd love to do Celebrity Juice (Keith Lemons’ UK TV show). They are my two faves by far. I get excited when I see them both, there both ace.
To hear more from Luke, check out next weeks' Ahlan! Where he gives us his top ten boxing tips and tells how we can get the body of an Olympian (we all want one of them) and Keith if your reading, we would love to see Luke on Celebrity Juice, make it happen!