On December 21st, 2013, I drove to the World Class Boxing gym in Kingston, Pennsylvania to interview professional boxer, Robert RJ Sockwell whose record is 6-2-1. I arrived early. While I waited for Sockwell to arrive at the gym for his morning training session, I took note of the gym itself. It’s clean, organized, and large. The atmosphere at the World Class Boxing gym is relaxed. That could be attributed to the fact that it is a Saturday morning, but knowing how trainers Sean & Cheryl Diggs conduct themselves, it could be that everyone here is at ease; no attitudes, no egos. Later, I asked Cheryl Diggs about the atmosphere at the gym and she explained that they turn away overly aggressive clients by recommending other gyms that they may be more comfortable training at. Cheryl noted that RJ Sockwell trains very hard & diligently, but does not display an ego or cockiness. He fits right in.
RJ Sockwell arrived on time. We agreed to do the interview while he trained. After he changed into his work-out attire, we headed over to an empty spot of the gym where RJ began to skip rope. At the opposite end of the gym, a boxing class was being taught Coach Cheryl. RJ Sockwell rope skipping was get intense then relaxed. That’s when I jumped in to ask some questions.
BOXING 4 FREE: If I’m not mistaken, your last fight was in November?
RJ: August, August 2nd.
BOXING 4 FREE: Do you have any fights coming up?
RJ: We had a few things lined up with a guy, he pulled out the fight twice, because he wasn’t ready I guess. He needed more time to prepare for a southpaw, but that is something unforseen in this game; when a guy enters a fight, doesn’t sign a contract, but promises verbally that he’s gonna get in there and at the last minute, pulls out for whatever his reasons are. In my opinion, I think he was scared. On to the next (opponent).
BOXING 4 FREE: Not that long ago, you told me that you’re always in shape, always training. Was there something that motivated you to always be in the gym? A loss perhaps?
RJ: A loss inspired me not to lose again. Inspired me to be in tip-top, 100 percent shape, everyday. My performance was lackluster in that loss so at the end of the day, I’m a crowd-pleaser, I do this for the fans as well as my family. I can’t go out there and give a half-assed performance.
BOXING 4 FREE: How far back do you, Sean & Cheryl go?
RJ: I would say 2003 or 2004 I believe.
BOXING 4 FREE: At what point did you make World Class Boxing your full-time gym?
RJ: This year (2013), I made W.C.B. my full-time gym. I’m glad, I’m excited, it’s a lot closer traveling to & from the Poconos everyday. It feels like home; that’s why I came (to World Class Boxing).
BOXING 4 FREE: Having seen you spar before, I can assure my readers that you have very good skills. Did you learn those on your own or do you credit any individual or group for those skills?
RJ: I definitely give credit to my big brother Sean Diggs. He has helped me become more powerful on the inside as well as improving my defense. “Pops” aka Jesse Harris; he increased my output, my handspeed and footwork. I worked with various trainers over the years. Everybody has had their own influence on my style. At the end of the day, you steal a lot from your favorite fighters. Shane Mosley, Zab Judah, the young Floyd Mayweather, not the Floyd Mayweather everybody knows today, Andrew “Six Heads” Lewis, a lot of the old-school guys.
BOXING 4 FREE: You had several fights out of Pennsylvania and Arizona, but where were the majority of your amateur fights held?
RJ: For the most part, New York and Pennsylvania. I never lost in New York before. I fought in California.
BOXING 4 FREE: What kind of sparring have you had lately?
RJ: Just yesterday (December 20th), I sparred with Shawn Cameron, undefeated junior-middleweight. Six and 0, four knockouts. Great guy. Everyone that I’m sparring with are upper-echelon guys, because everyone I’m fighting are below their level. I believe in boxing (sparring) up if you want to step your game up.
BOXING 4 FREE: Are you self-managed?
BOXING 4 FREE: Do you think it would be easier if you had a manager or do you think you’re doing fine on your own?
RJ: The more help the better, because at the end of the day, I don’t have the necessary connections to get myself where I need to be. A manager would definitely be a big help right now. Anybody out there looking to manage a guy that’s 6-2-1 with 4 knock outs, southpaw, we can do it. I’m at 154 now, but I can go down to 147. I’m having fun right now, but at the end of the day, it is a business and I need someone who has the correct business mind as well as the connections like I mentioned before.