Exclusive: Anthony Ogogo on Transitioning from Boxing To Wrestling, Signing For AEW, Training With QT Marshall At Nightmare Factory, His Match With Cody and Competing For PROGRESS

This past weekend AEW star Anthony Ogogo made a surprise appearance on the final day of the PROGRESS Super Strong Style 16 Weekend, where he would end up facing and defeating NXT UK performer Tate Mayfairs.

Following the show Anthony Ogogo spoke with myself about why he made this appearance, transitioning from boxing to wrestling, working for AEW training at the Nightmare Factory and his match with Cody Rhodes at AEW’s Double or Nothing 2021 PPV. As well as his goals outside of AEW such as competing for PROGRESS, wanting to challenge for the PROGRESS World Championship and wanting to earn every opportunity he is given.

Speaking to me about making an appearance at the PROGRESS Super Strong Style Weekend and what it was like being back into the UK, Ogogo would talk about his love of performing and competing in the ring, as well as how much he loved being back in England;

“I just love performing, I love getting in the ring, I love fighting and when I get the chance to do that I am very happy so I did it today I am in a good mood and it’s always good to get back people think that I am on social media digging out America that it’s gimmick, I don’t like it there actually don’t like it there I lilke home I am a home bird so it’s always nice to be back.”

Continuing on he would discuss what it has been like transitioning from boxing, following a setback that would force him to retire early from boxing Ogogo would note that it was his drive to compete that lead him from one childhood dream to another

How long have you got, it’s been glorious, it’s been heartbreaking at times, it’s been everything in between it really has I have had a mad topsy turvy life let alone career, my career just mirrored that but that’s what I am, It’s what I am right. All we can do in life is play the best hand with the cards that we’re dealt and we’re all dealt different cards, sometimes different cards and at different times of our lives, I wasn’t supposed to this I wasn’t meant to be wrestler I was just a wrestling fan it was my guilty pleasure really, then I suffered a bad eye injury and I was forced to retire from boxing and I am mostly blind in my left eye and boxing is off the table for me I was dealt another set of cards and I think I am playing the best hand with what I am doing now wrestling. It’s given me very much without trying to be cheesy wrestling I am living out a second childhood dream my first one was boxing and boxing for my country in the Olympic games which I did in London and won a medal I very very proud of that I get tingles genuinely when I say it and then as I said something bad happened to me I could’ve sulked and whinged and gone down that road of being bitter for the rest of my life Or I could do what i have and I was for a little bit I was depressed I was in bad place I lost everything in my life my passion my dream, my career or I can take stock and re group and look at the cards I had and play the best hand and that’s what I am doing now living out a second childhood dream.

Asking about what it was like training at the Nightmare factory with QT Marshall and competing against Cody in such a big match so early in his career. Ogogo would talk about learning so much from them both and how he feels that because of this match he felt he could hang with the very best pro wrestling has to offer, despite being so young into his career.

Great, truly unbelievable my trainer is QT Marshall he’s been my main trainer, Cody was great and one of the best wrestlers in the world I genuinely believe that he is great it was great to share a ring with him at the training school in a competitive match there was a bit of a niggle between me and him at the end genuine but he was great I learnt a lot from him whether he taught me or not I learnt a lot from him watching Cody because he is the Prince of Pro Wrestling. QT Marshall is the best coach in the world he is unbelievable there’s not one match that he hasn’t seen a thousand times that he doesn’t know a spot for he’s great but not just with that the whole psychology of wrestling, taught me a lot wrestling wise, I didn’t really get,,, I watched wrestling being a 12 year old and I was 31 when I started so I knew wrestling like a fan I never really understood it, I was one of those fans that didn’t want to learn, I didn’t want to peak behind the curtain I like the presentation I like the product I lost myself for the two hours it was on and it would stop and I would go back my day and then next week the same thing I never wanted to learn the ins and outs and who’s dating who or how old they are or how tall they were I didnt want to know that stuff I wanted to believe what I was seeing was real so when I became a wrestler myself it was a whole new world to me I thought wow this is nuts and QT taught me a lot of that Navigating that and Cody as well to be fair navigating certain situations its held me in really good stead I’ve think I’ve got, training was difficult but I’ve been athlete my entire life so I don’t I really found it that hard, I think I took to it really really quite quickly but still I’ve had 18 matches my entire life maybe less than that maybe 16 in my entire life and I believe I can hang with anybody on that card be 10, 20, 30 other matches I really do believe that I haven’t had a chance there yet because my opportunities have been few and far between in AEW and in world wrestling however if I’m given the chance, I will show everyone how good I am.

As we were at PROGRESS we spoke about possible future opponents, it just so happened that Malik was in view and we spoke about whether he would be interested in competing against the man known as the “Heavy Hitter”. Ogogo would say that he was not in Pro Wrestling to make friends he has a lot of respect for Malik, for the way he competes but he was in wrestling to make money and would have no issue getting in the ring with him believing it would be great match that the fans would enjoy.

I will be honest there’s not many people in wrestling that I actually like, I believe in the famous quote you make friends or you make money I’ve got my friends I’ve hot a couple of friends I don’t need any more I’m here to make money, I should’ve left boxing as a multi, multi millionaire because of my talent and what I could or should’ve done unfortunately I got injured and I didn’t leave it as a Multi Millionaire so now I m in the industry this is where I am going to make my money, if I want my former glory if want my efforts and exerts, my point is I am friends with one or two people in pro wrestling he’s one of them because I respect him (Malik) because of who he is and what he does and how he wrestles and how he fights and how he lays it in and how determined he is I respect him in wrestling andwhat he does outside of wrestling but yeah with that being said I would love to wrestle him to fight him because two big dudes sticking it in on each other would be great fight for the fans to watch so would 100% want to wrestle him one day.

Following the final day of the PROGRESS Super Strong Style 16 it was Chris Ridgeway who would go onto win the tournament to claim the vacated PROGRESS World Championship, we discussed if he would be interested facing Chris Ridgeway for the World Title. Ogogo told me he was in wrestling to win championships and that the PROGRESS World Title was one of the only World Titles outside of AEW he is interested in and he would eventually be looking to challenge Chris Ridgeway. He would also note that if he has to he would also go through Ridgeway’s young charge and current Atlas Champion Luke Jacobs stating he has a lot of respect for the young champion but he would happily take the Atlas Championship on route to facing Ridgeway.

The Progress World title is I think I’m on the record I’ve said it before is one of the belts I want to win outside of AEW and I tell you what probably the only one I want above any other ones I mean that with full sincerity, if I can win belts elsewhere that would be great because belts mean money, belts mean your front of the poster, belts means you get the interviews like this get your face out there, I want to win belts, I want championships, I want things on my mantle piece. However the only one I really want that’s outside of AEW is the PROGRESS World Title and obviously Chris Ridgeway holds that at the moment so he better look over his shoulders however Luke Jacobs is also somebody I want to wrestle because like with Malik he’s big, he’s f*****g tough he hits hard and we’d have a banger we’d have an absolute banger so that’s a match I would love to have, if he dares to put the belt on the line as well I will pick that up along the way to the world title and I’ll beat the charge and then beat the master I’m not bothered.

Asking what it was like being part of his first ever PROGRESS Super Strong Style weekend, Ogogo stated he had only arrived earlier that day even joking about his plane being delayed and having to get ready in the Taxi. He would go onto say having spoken to fans and competitors following his match he had heard great things and was looking forward to catching all the action when available on Demand Progress and WWE Network/Peacock streaming services.

I flew in today, my flight was delayed I got my wrestling gear on in the taxi on the way to here I walked in I am not even joking 5 minutes later the bell went because I am a constant professional I was doing my stretches in the Taxi I was getting warmed up that’s what fighters do, they’re given an arena they’re given a platform they’ve got a job to do, to go out there and fight and that’s what I did however I’ve been talking to everybody, it’s been amazing its been fantastic I can’t wait to watch it on the PROGRESS on demand service when it comes up and like said I want to wrestle the Maliks and the Luke Jacobs’, the Chris Ridgeways there is a plethora of guys in this company that I want to go toe to toe with I ‘ll be watching on the service studying and also entertainment purposes as well.

Finally we spoke about when he would returning to AEW, Ogogo would speak looking earn his way back on to the AEW main show. That he had incredible opportunity to have such high profile matches early in his career and that he would look to prove he earned that and his next opportunity and when that time comes he will be ready

All I wan to do is wrestle I had quite a quick beginning to my career I wrestled Cody in my third match at the PPV wrestled him the week after in a tag team I knocked him out QT got the win I had 4 matches in my career in AEW I had 4 TV high profile matches I had to go away I had some Visa stuff to take care of I had to go away for 4 to 5 to 6 months, not my choosing, I’ve come back I’ve bust my ass to get back in a position where I can get on TV I’ve had 10, 12, 13 14, matches on dark honing my craft working hard in the smaller arena, I’m ready to burst back onto the scene as soon as possible, I believe in my talents and abilities as well as how tough I am I will take on anybody in the world, anybody in the world I just need the opportunities I know in this life you don’t get handed opportunities you get what you work for so I have to work for this opportunity but when it comes I’ll be ready I’ll be very ready.

You can check out the full un-edited interview below;

PROGRESS Super Strong Style 16 Recap and Results

Following the PROGRESS Super Strong Style 16 weekend Ogogo would go on to compete at TNT Extreme’s “Going Off Big Time” offering an open challenge that was met by fellow amateur boxer turned wrestler RP Davies coming away with the win once again.

Anthony Ogogo’s last match for AEW was part of an 8 man tag match on AEW Dark Elevation on the 1st of June as part of the Factory along with QT Marshall, Aron Solo and Nick Comoroto defeating Alex Reynolds, Alan Angels, John Silver and 10 of the Dark Order.

Anthony Ogogo looks to battle his way back on the main AEW show once again and is more than willing to fight for his place.

Written by Andy More (@GbOtaku82) of the Tea & Tights: A Great British Wrestling Podcast (@Teaandtightspod)

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