Strictly Come Dancing: Anthony Ogogo adapts to celebrity life

Anthony Ogogo
Anthony Ogogo dislocated his shoulder during his last fight, against Ukrainian Ruslan Schelev - but won on points
Strictly Come Dancing
Friday, 25 September, BBC One, 21:00 BST
Saturday, 26 September, BBC One, 18:15 BST

Anthony Ogogo the boxer is not at ease being Anthony Ogogo the celebrity dancer.

The day the 26-year-old met his fellow Strictly Come Dancing contestants was a flurry of pop stars, actors and TV presenters.

"I felt more like the guy who should go and get Peter Andre a cup of tea, rather than the guy who hangs out with Peter Andre while other people got us a cup of tea," says Ogogo, one of 15 celebrities primed to take to the floor for this weekend's opening of the 13th series of the dance show.

"The first day we all met I felt so awkward. Thank goodness Iwan Thomas - the former 400m runner - was there. He's similar to me, he's in this celebrity bubble, but he's a sportsperson.

"He went to the toilet at one point and I started looking for him, panicking."

A Commonwealth Games silver medallist, an Olympic bronze medallist and an unbeaten professional, Ogogo has made no secret of his desire to become one of the greatest middleweight fighters of all time.

But, with excruciating frequency, his body has had other ideas.

Strictly's best sports stars
Denise Lewis (series two) - runner-upColin Jackson (series three) - runner-up
Darren Gough (series three) - winnerMatt Dawson (series four) - runner-up
Mark Ramprakash (series four) - winnerLouis Smith (series 10) - winner

Ogogo was never supposed to compete at London 2012, but fought back from a dislocated shoulder in time to finish on the podium, and did it while his mother was suffering from a brain haemorrhage.

"My mum missed the Olympics and I don't want her to come to my pro fights because it's a lot more brutal. She's coming to the live Strictly show. It sounds cheesy but I want to do it for her," he said.

"One day I'm going to be in my 60s and it's all going to be over - nobody is going to care about me - so I want to enjoy everything as much as I possibly can until it's over."

'I dropped her on her head'

Otlile Mabuse and Anthony Ogogo
Ogogo has been partnered with professional Otlile Mabuse - a South African dancer making her debut in the competition

After turning professional, Ogogo missed a year of action after two operations on both of his Achilles. Upon his long awaited return two months ago, he dislocated his shoulder again - but still managed to beat Ukrainian Ruslan Schelev on points.

The shoulder needed surgery and "will get stronger" as the weeks go by. Ogogo's dancing will need to get stronger too, if his partner Otlile Mabuse is to survive the ordeal.

"I dropped her on her head this week," he said. "I didn't do that a week ago. I'm genuinely getting worse.

"It's very serious - we have fun - but you're going to take to the stage with millions of viewers. If you mess up, fall down the stairs or something, that will haunt you for the rest of your life on YouTube."

If Mayweather can do it...

Floyd Mayweather
Floyd Mayweather Jr, the five-weight world champion undefeated in 49 fights, was the fourth competitor eliminated on the 2007 Dancing With The Stars show

Lowestoft-born Ogogo has faced questions, particularly on Twitter, for taking up a spot on Strictly. Sure you cannot be a boxer and a dancer?

"I got a bit of stick, people questioning why I've done the show," he said.

"The best boxer of my lifetime - Floyd Mayweather - did it in America while training to fight Ricky Hatton. If people want to question my desire, all they have to do is look at my last fight when I dislocated my shoulder in the second round and won the fight.

"I was out of boxing for a year - I wasn't earning any money for 12 months. Anyone who doesn't earn money for 12 months is going to struggle.

"People have seen you at the Olympics or on Question of Sport and think 'he's on TV, he must be a millionaire'. I thought the same when I was younger - but it doesn't work like that.

"Then I get another injury and I'm out again. So this is an opportunity to have a laugh, raise my profile and earn a living. I've got a mortgage to pay for. So for the guys who want to criticise, ultimately I know where I want to be."

Brought to tears

Anthony Ogogo celebrating at London 2012
Ogogo beat Olympic favourite Evhen Khytrov on his way to a bronze medal at London 2012

A lot has changed since that bronze medal success in London three years ago. Mum Teresa is healthy. Ogogo is engaged. And he has eight professional middleweight victories to his name, including four knock-outs.

"It's bonkers. I can't quite comprehend it. I knew I should have won gold three years ago - but so much was going on. I wanted to be with my family.

"When I told my oldest sister I was doing Strictly, she turned into a 12-year-old schoolgirl: 'Oh my God, I can't believe you're doing this.' She said 'sometimes I watch Strictly and the dances are so moving, I cry'.

"I told her she won't be crying at any of my performances."

Top Stories