BN: Everton Red Triangle has assembled a strong group of fighters in the lighter weight divisions. Who do you spar with to get challenging rounds?
PM: We have tough and competitive sparring sessions at our gym. Nick [Ball] is on the brink of a world title and Brad [Strand] is also incredibly talented. One mistake and you’ll be countered. It’s important to stay focused.
Until recently, I hadn’t sparred properly with Joe [McGrail]. He has sparred with the other guys for years. He has even sparred with Kid Galahad and Sunny Edwards. The reason behind our sparring was that I needed the rounds at that time, not just for practice. It was a new experience for me.
Paul [Stevenson, Everton Red Triangle head coach] doesn’t usually have brothers spar with each other, but it was funny to tell my dad, ‘I sparred with Joe!’
BN: You always speak highly of Paul Stevenson. Do you have a natural connection or has it developed over time?
PM: Since I was 13, I have traveled around England with Paul. My parents would come too, but I would stay with Paul along with other boxers like Andrew Cain and Anthony Humphreys. Anthony is my coach now. On my first day of boxing, we joined the gym together. It’s a normal part of our relationship.
Whenever I was in Sheffield [with Team GB] or away at tournaments, I would always call Paul right after the fight to discuss it. We have known each other for 17 years. It’s been great.
BN: What do you think of Mendoza?
PM: I have watched a few rounds of his fights. He is a skilled boxer who knows his way around the ring. He is active and tidy.
But I have faced similar opponents throughout my career. I am at a higher level. My speed and ring intelligence will be the difference on fight night. I am excited to put on a show.
This is only my eighth fight, and I am facing a guy who has a record of 17-0. I am taking it one fight at a time and enjoying the journey. Paul and Anthony will always have the final say in who I fight and what path I take.
BN: Your last fight went for 10 rounds against Nicolas Nahuel Botelli. How did it feel?
PM: Everyone prefers a knockout, right? But in the bigger picture, going the full 10 rounds was a valuable experience. It showed me that I have the stamina for it.
Whether it’s a first-round knockout or a 10-round decision, I can still entertain the fans. We are focused on getting the job done. It’s all about finding balance.
My style is exciting. If I see an opportunity to finish the fight before the final bell, I will step up my game. I know I can knock people out.
BN: The Mendoza fight will be your sixth pro fight in Merseyside. Are you open to traveling for the right opportunities?
PM: Even though I have only had seven pro fights, I have already fought in Dubai and Japan. Unless I go to Australia, it can’t get much farther than that! We are willing to travel anywhere for the right opportunity. It’s all part of gaining valuable experience.
Going to Dubai and Japan early in my career, although I was used to it from my time with Team GB, those trips were always exciting. I have been to amazing places all over the world!
I have fought so many times at the Echo [Arena], I can envision having my world title shot there. It feels like a second home to me [laughs]. Out of my eight pro fights, this will be my fifth at the Echo. More than 50 percent! I can easily visualize it in my mind. I can imagine the walkouts.
Eventually, we will aim for Vegas and other places.
BN: Naoya Inoue, who is ranked #2 pound-for-pound, recently joined the super bantamweight division and won two world titles. Do you think he will still be in the division when you reach the top?
PM: It’s crazy that I ended up on a show with him [McGrail was on the undercard of Inoue’s fight against Paul Butler in December 2022]. Watching him, I thought, ‘Is this all meant to be?’
We could end up fighting in that same arena! That’s still a few fights away, but you never know! By then, he might have moved up to featherweight and given up all his belts. It’s exciting to think about, but I don’t want to get ahead of myself.
BN: What is your main motivation at this stage of your career?
PM: My main motivation is to continue making my family proud. Being a professional boxer is different; it’s my career now. It’s more serious, and there’s more money involved.
My family wouldn’t come to Poland for small tournaments like Felix Stamm; they would only attend the World Championships and European tournaments. My girlfriend came with me to the Commonwealth Games.
As a professional, my family is present at every fight. It must be an incredible feeling for them to watch their kids have their moment as I walk out to my song, ‘Dancing in the Moonlight’.
With all the effort I have put in over the years, traveling the world and being away from my family, I am finally seeing the rewards. I am just enjoying the journey and taking it step by step.
BN: Have you always had a competitive nature in everything you do?
PM: I have always loved sports, even before boxing. In school, I played various sports.
I was good at football, cross-country, and athletics on the track.
I hate losing! It doesn’t matter if it’s table tennis or anything else, even a game of chess. I see myself as a winner, so it’s devastating to me when I lose. That competitive spirit has carried over to boxing; it’s why I work so hard to win on fight night.
BN: How do you want to be remembered as a fighter?
PM: I believe I am already the best amateur boxer to come out of Liverpool. This city has produced some incredible fighters in the past and present. I have the ability and a great team around me to be one of the best, if not the best, fighter from Merseyside. That’s what I am striving for.