(Martin Boyce Photography)
“He would be taking a lot of punishment, in the interim, but he’s hard. Let me just qualify “Hard.” If he’s got cauliflower ears and he’s been hit in his every day vocation with elbows and knees, then I don’t think he’s going to have a problem with guys hitting him with a glove. He is durable, he is tough, if someone’s going to beat him, he’s going to have to beat him into submission. There’s no tapping out here. And that’s going to be tough. It’s tough to beat up a hard man……..Can you take a beating? Can you absorb punishment? Can you persevere? You have to be a nutcase. You have to be a mad man. This man is hard. There’s a lot of fighters today who get hurt and they quit. He is not that.” – London born Christopher Livingstone Eubanks Senior, former WBO Middleweight & Super Middleweight Champion (paraphrased from an interview he conducted this week in Las Vegas.)
The English have always held a special place in their heart for the hardest men amongst them, whether it was a sport fighting star or a cult celebrity from the city’s seedy underbelly. Any real boxing historian remembers seeing the British Commonwealth Champion flooring Muhammad Ali with “Henry’s Hammer” to the point that he needed (Illegal) assistance getting back to his corner and (Also illegal) smelling salts to get him ready to answer the slightly delayed bell. And there’s been a number of books and films dedicated to remembering some of the toughest mugs to ever come out of London’s East End. Men like Roy “Mean Machine” Shaw and Lenny “The Guv’nor” McLean, who both made their names in unlicensed fights and as muscle for The Krays & Associates. And though Ian Fleming introduced the Western World to Judo in the 1950s, though his character “James Bond” the people of The U.K. have never waivered from their preference for the brawlers who choose to get the job done by standing toe-to-toe with their opponents while pounding them senseless with their calcified knuckles.
Whether it’s for a concert, sporting event or press conference, Jay Pateman’s the man you want at your side when you’re travelling to The Donnybrook Fair. With well over two decades of iron sport and fisticuffs on his resume, he now carries 300+ pounds of solid “Bouncer bulk” on his 5’10 frame and the hands of stone to match his iron dome skull. Like so many others of his generation, he first found inspiration in The World Wrestling Federation, He-Man cartoons, Schwarzenegger’s action films and the chains of gold that hung around the neck of The A-Team’s most powerful mercenary. He convinced his Pop to shell out the coins for a Bullworker and a set of concrete filled weights and so his twice a day routine of push-ups and lifting began. Two years later and he was a sturdy teenager and he joined his first boxing gym, much to the chagrin of his Mum.
“On the first day they put me in sparring with the lads and I was captured by the buzz of the fight.” Jay explains.“From then on I had a relationship with the fight game and with lifting and I loved the respect I gained from my teenage peers for being the “Tough guy” who wouldn’t back down from fights. As teens we’d get our hands on some liquor and we would inevitably get into punch ups with the locals and my reputation meant that I would have a long list of guys wanting to “Have a go” and I loved testing myself against groups of bigger lads. And I would always try and help others out if they were losing and although I never started a fight, I loved the ego rush of being able to knock lads down with one shot and helping others out . I realised early on that I liked having the role of being the protector, so I thought I would join the police force. But in that year I got done for three lots of fighting offences which meant the police wouldn’t have me. So I decided that the next best thing would be to work the doors of local pubs and clubs.”
By age twenty two, Pateman was tipping down more than his fair share of ale and he was making his living collecting debts and keeping law & order at the front doors of various establishments around town. As good luck would have it, he met a lovely lady who helped him to focus on his ambitions and the balance he found in his personal life carried over to benefit him in his athletic pursuits. He would eventually go on to set a string of drug tested, British weight lifting records, including a 420 pound strict, standing barbell press, a 661 pound front squat, a 555 pound raw benchpress and he used a single arm to press a 264 pound dumbbell over his head for repetitions!
“At that point, I was recognised as the strongest drug free lifter in the country.” Jay accurately states.
^^^ Jay Pateman, on the left, standing next to Lance Karabel of squat powerlifting fame. ^^^
Residing in the Roman founded, British city of Leicester, Jay is married to the fine woman he met at twenty two and together they’re raising their two children Samson and Scarlett. Pateman now works full time as a Close Protection Operative and, as his skills have grown, so too has his list of notable clients.
“Working for Blackrock Protection, I am looking after a premiership football team and for SAUK I look after fighters and ringside security.” Jay elaborates. “I also do private work for Blackrock with my business partner Tim Farnden, looking after pop stars, religious leaders, royalty and politicians. Obviously it is frowned upon to go in to details regarding the principles we work for, so I can’t say much more on the subject of clients, but I love my job as I have a huge passion for ensuring the safety of others and this is literally my dream job. I take the rough with the smooth. One week I’ll be in a grimy club in a tough part of the country and the next week I can be on a private jet, headed to a party on a super yacht in Monaco.”
While Jay’s been working his way up the security specialist ladder, so too has he been rising in the ranks of unlicensed boxing’s beefalo brigade of big boys.
“I’ve been training off and on in boxing gyms for twenty years, to keep a base line of fitness and to be a bit better or faster than your average street tough. I have never been knocked down in sparring or on the cobblestones and I have heavy hands and a cement head, so it was inevitable that as soon as I took a break from powerlifting and strongman, that I would step inside the squared circle.” Jay explains. “One of my best pals is bare knuckle fighter Jay Wann and at the time he owned Raging Bull Gym, training BKB fighters here in Leicester. We trained together on the bags, pads and sparring and my fitness was getting better. Even at a massive 24 Stone (336 pounds) I could run 7km a day and do 10 straight rounds of sparring with the other heavyweights. The unlicensed fighting scene in the UK was booming and the money was good, if you could sell tickets well. I was approached by UBL promoter, Elvis Hopkins, who offered me fights against other big superheavy lads, which always draw a big crowd and I needed that buzz to replace the buzz of competition in strength sports.” Jay continues. “Immediately I was hooked after demolishing my first opponent in just a minute. I went on to have several other fights over the next year, including a fight against a two time heavyweight belt holder in my second professional outing and winning trophies such as fight-of-the-night, which I’m very proud of. I may not be the prettiest fighter, but my heroes weren’t your usual boxing legends. My idols were Tank Abbott, Butterbean and Mark “The Super Samoan” Hunt, which kind of explains my brawling come forward style. I often tend to bite down on my gum shield and throw heavy shots until something connects. I know that as soon as I connect clean, then it’s “Good night.” These days because I have a lot to do with running security at the bare knuckle boxing events I am a big fan and the sport is huge in the UK and growing quickly and I need to get involved with that and tick it off my list, I would love to have a superheavy fight against a giant in the BKB sport. That is certainly in my future plans.”
I asked Jay which specific skills he thought someone in his field should be focused on the most, in order to be best prepared for weaponless physical confrontations as a private protection authority?
“I focus mainly on very close quarter combat as 90% of the time, if I’m required to throw my hands it’s in a packed room full of people and I’m trying to stop a drunken prick from attacking someone. After putting in over 20 years of door work, debt recovery, warrant work, evictions and personal security, my understanding and intuitive nature is first class. I pride myself on being able to pick a trouble maker out of a room full of people and I’m rarely wrong. My physical size means that I often get pigeon holed as a “Man without a gas tank” or as someone who will be slow moving, so I focus on cardio and speed. The power is always there and as soon as I’ve got you, I’m not letting go. So I train 10 boxing rounds at a very ferocious all out pace and literally at toe-to-toe distance.” Jay replies. “I practice stance, balance and positioning. I fight at close quarters using my fists, elbows, forearms and my skull. Kicks are great, but not for me and in a club situation you rarely have the room to throw them effectively. I also practice trips and I train to fall on top of my combatant and to secure the top position. I then train ground and pound, employing my bodyweight, elbows and hammer fists to break through their defences. I practice these drills relentlessly and I can perform my moves in even the darkest of rooms. I practice the same single shot as a finisher and I rehearse not giving any outward signals that I’m about to attack. I give zero body language and I aim directly for the sweet shot on the chin. I have mastered this shot now and it’s very effective at close range. I still weight train hard and heavy and on a daily basis as I like to be at the top of my game, strength wise. My nickname is “The Juggernaut” as I will often be used to get a high profile star from one end of the arena to the other and it can be a hostile environment. Sometimes I go at the front and I can clear a path though a mob of people like a snow plough, thanks to my physical power and body dimensions.”
Jay went on to tell me that he trains five or six days a week, taking a day off when he’s feeling over worked or generally run down. After a twenty minute warm up, his weighted resistance work is usually focused on combination movements, working the anterior and posterior muscle groupings. The barbell and dumbbell lifting is followed up with sledge hammering a tractor tire and then it’s into the ring for boxing and ground and pound. Though it’s his goal to remain on top on the mat, he also trains off of his back so he’s ready for when the day comes that he gets swept and reversed on the job. I asked him to further elaborate on his boxing endeavours and I inquired about the adjustments he made in his schedule, when he had a bout coming up.
“When I first made the transition from superheavy powerlifter to semi pro boxer, I knew I was up against it!” Jay admits. “I was 350 pounds with very little conditioning and I’d been eating up to 10,000 calories a day, in my preparation for bench press competitions. Over the years I had become reliant on huge amounts of food to build strength without the aide of performance enhancing drugs. I was consuming seven large meals a day and, although I felt strong as a bull, my regimen was the opposite from a boxer’s lifestyle. Reducing my caloric intake was hard, especially after being used to having zero rules when it came to what I shoveled into my face. Also for the first year of boxing competitively I knew I needed to lose the burden of size that the muscles had given me. So, for the first year in over two decades I stopped lifting weights, I replaced the iron with a circuit of bodyweight resistance drills, skipping and road work and I lost over sixty pounds! It was hard watching my body atrophying and losing a good bit of strength, but my gas tank was building and I was becoming more agile on my feet. I trained in 20oz gloves to teach myself to keep my bulky, heavy arms up as they tended to want to drop and I worked to break my habit of relying on my neck and forehead to absorb the blows. We compete in 10oz gloves on fight night so the tens feel like feathers after training in the twenties.”
Jay learned to enjoy the jogging and he found that the solitude of running alone afforded him the time to meditate on his upcoming bouts. Over time, he’s found a balance between functioning as a human shield and having the conditioning to shield himself when the fists are flying in the ring. Pateman has now added the weight set back into his weekly routine and he’s wanting to return to the competitive strength stage again and he’s talking about taking a couple of boxing matches under the traditional, bare knuckle format. I saw the friendly brute live on TV, working the London stop on the McGregor /Mayweather boxing promotional tour and so I inquired about that experience.
“I was lucky enough to be part of the London stop on the tour. The company I work for, SAUK, is the leading security firm in the UK and it has a great reputation in the fight game. But, even for us, this was pretty special. We ran the main ringside security and myself and the other lads joined the circus and it was all a lot of fun and drama but our team dealt with all issues and illuminated any issues that needed to be addressed. Sometimes it’s difficult trying to work alongside other close protection teams. McGregor’s team caused no issues but the Mayweather hype train is a nightmare and the entourage is as huge as you’d imagine. Literally fifty odd hangers on and all of them want to get backstage. SAUK is well known as having some monster lads and myself, 7 foot tall “Stretch”, 420 pound “Browno” and 330+ pound Matt Peters had to stop the entire TMT entourage from bulldozing thru us and up the ramp, as it would have been a massive security risk not checking their accreditation.” Jay elaborated. “So, instead of letting them plow through, we just formed a wall, stood firm and went “Four against them all.” Needless to say we didn’t back down and apart from a bit of pushing and shoving and “Handbag” we finally got them away from the dressing room and we had ourselves a nice, sterile area. We pride ourselves on not letting people push on thru and your reputation means nothing to us in those situations. If we say “You’re not coming through” then you’re not coming through! I’ve worked with Team Mayweather before and he has a reputation for being stupidly late, which he stuck to and it can piss the crowd off especially when it seemed like 90% of the crowd were Irish McGregor supporters! But we kept the room incident free and the event was ran well and without allowing the drama to get over heated and out of control.”
My final question for The Juggernaut was what he recommendeds for heavyweight strength athletes, who have not been training for self defence and who want to better prepare themselves for when the day comes that their sheer size doesn’t deter some hitters from coming at them.
“I have been surrounded by huge guys all my life, whether it be on the door, in the strongman world or in my current line of work. It amazes me how many of these so called “Tough guys” never train for any kind of combat sport! They all get by, by being “Too big to get hassled” and they’re just relying on their height and weight as a visual deterrent and that to me is laughable. I can tell that the way they are respected by people on the street has built up a kind of weird self confidence that, in reality, is bullshit. Just because you’re big you think you are tough? Ridiculous. These guys need to realise that sooner, rather than later and I’m happy for them when they do.” Jay explains.
(Jay Pateman continued.) “I never want to be in a situation I can’t get myself out of and that means that I need to work on being conditioned to go the distance, if needed. If you are walking around at 300+ pounds, then nine times out of ten you will be f**ked after the first minute or two of hard fighting. Then what are you gonna do?” Jay rightly inquires. “You may as well be drowning. If you have no air, you’re a dead man. So focus mainly on having a gas tank. Take a look at Mark Hunt. He probably walks around at 300 pounds, but he has fought epic, five round, main events in The UFC. That’s twenty five minutes of hard fighting, which is an outstanding feat of strength and stamina! That’s the aim, to endure, so pace yourself, stay calm and my biggest tip would be to pick your shots. There’s no point in throwing a hundred shots when you only need one. If you have a shorter range of motion you will need to learn to counter punch which means waiting until your opponent throws a shot and then timing your strike at the same time. As soon as you see him flinch, throw your shot. If his fist is in your face then you know your opponent’s face is at the other end of his arm. When you’re properly in range and set up to score, then it’s “Punches in bunches.” Learn that when you are in range make the most of it , if you are a shorter guy like me remember you will be fighting taller guys most of the time so explode on the midsection, focusing on that hook to the floating rib. Learn where to hit and then make the most of it. I favour the overhand right. As a sub six foot tall heavyweight, I just bowl it over the top. If it connects, then there’s 330 pounds on the end of that glove. Focus on accuracy too. A wasted shot is wasted energy and you suffer after experiencing a few of those. Use your body weight as an advantage and become a technical smotherer in the clinches. You need to learn how to fight clever and most of all hammer the cardio so you can employ what you learn.A big guy becomes a very dangerous guy when he has a gas tank, but you are literally rendered useless once your tank is empty.” Pateman wisely counsels. “Don’t just rely on your size to bluff people out of fighting. Remember, you can’t grow muscle on your chin.”
True enough, my British Bulldog friend. Thankfully, some of us CAN grow deluxe chin camoflauge to hide the target a bit when our tired elbows begin to drift back to Earth. I appreciate your time and I wish you safe travels on all of your business trips as a Close Protection Operative. I’ll be looking forward to the announcement of your next boxing bout and may the jousting tilt in your favour.
Sean Katterle trains Western Boxing, Kickboxing & Muay Thai At Portland’s Industrial Strength Gym.
Industrial Strength Gym Is Also An Official Sponsor Of The Hardcore Powerlifting Federation.