Half British, half Dutch, of Ugandan descent, Martin Foru will be representing the UK at the 2020 Olympic Games and we couldn’t think of a man more suitable to don some of this season most compelling sportswear. Armed with buckets of charm and a killer smile, we set him off to explore Paris’s most colourful and exotic neighbourhood, La Chapelle, and got to know him a little better along the way.
When did you start training to become a boxer and who/what pushed you?
I always wanted to do any form of martial arts because my 2 older brothers used to say I couldn’t fight. Unfortunately my mother never allowed me. But when I was 13 I bumped into my cousin as he was just coming from a boxing training. He told me to come with him and so I did, I fell in love with the sport ever since.
What would it mean for you to represent the UK at the 2020 Olympic Games?
It would mean the world to me! There used to be a rule that professional boxers were not allowed to compete in the OGs, but now that they changed the rule and pros are allowed to compete, there is nothing that holds me back from turning pro.
You grew up in Holland and moved to London recently, what is your favourite aspect of living in London?
I literally love the people! Most people I speak to seem to be so open minded and just love to enjoy and spend time with others.
Do you watch what you eat? What’s your favourite dish?
When I’m not having a fight anytime soon then I just eat whatever I like, but I’m naturally a healthy person so I wouldn’t poison myself with all sorts of bad food anyways. Then when I’m coming up to a fight I sure do watch my food. I’ve got a nutritionist who sets up a diet plan for me which adjusts as I get closer to a fight.
Who was/is your role model in becoming a man? And in becoming a boxer?
My role model, mentor and father figure has always been my first boxing coach over in the Netherlands, Thomas Mboua. He helped shaping myself into the man I am today! In becoming a boxer it has always been Roy Jones Jr, because of his knowledge, style and confidence. I’ve been watching his fights ever since I’ve started boxing.
Do you practice any other sports? What do you love the most about boxing?
At the moment it’s just boxing but I always love to play a game of basketball, shoot some pool or play golf. Besides the fitness I get from it, boxing allows me to bring out everything that’s inside of me. The part I enjoy the most is the sparring just because it’s the closest you’ll get to an actual boxing match.
You seemed very comfortable during the shoot in front of the camera. Do you get nervous before a fight?
Well, I get a little nervous when I hear when I’m fighting next, but then as soon as I hit the gym and start training for it my confidence grows with each session. Also when I’m in the dressing room and I feel a bit fatigued or something is physically bothering me I get nervous. But then as soon as I step in the ring and the bell rings it’s all gone!
Besides physical training, what sort of mental preparation do you go through before a match?
I try and clear my mind from all negative things and focus on when I’m entering the ring. I think of every possible situation I can get myself into and also naturally tell myself that I’m much faster, stronger and fitter than my opponent.
You have some very cool Valentino sneaks on today, what are your other favourite brands / designers? and who/where did you get your sense of style from?
DSquared2! Such a great brand, really comfortable and looks amazing. And no idea to be honest, I think just from seeing celebrities wearing certain things and then try it myself because I must’ve thought it looked really good.
There’s a ton of sports style infiltrating every aspect of fashion at the moment, are you enjoying that? Do you think it’s here to stay?
Yes yes yes I love it! Obviously as you know I’m an athlete and to combine fashion with sports, to me is just two of the best worlds colliding. Today we even made the boxing gloves look fashionable LOL. I’m not sure if the sporty look will stay in the fashion as fashion is always changing. But I do think that fashion will stay in sports and that sportswear will try and keep up with the fashion.
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Photographer| Byron Mollinedo
Assistant photographer| Clémentine Passet
Stylist| Nicholas Galletti
Assistant stylist| Ariane Haas
Groomer| Céline DeCruz
Model| Martin Foru @ IMG London
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