I meet Evander Holyfield…


Here’s the link for the interview on BBC Radio Northampton about 43 minutes in.


It’s not often you get to say that you’ve been to Media City, met a broadcasting legend (Eleanor Oldroyd – all with BBC Kick Off), a Nobel Peace Prize nominee and five time Heavy Weight champion Evander Holyfield.

It’s been a crazy week. Typing it, I can’t quite believe it myself.

Unbelievably BBC Kick Off is over and last Friday was the awards ceremony at Media City. Eleanor Oldridge sports broadcaster extraordinaire of 5 Live fame, came to talk to us about her experience as a sports broadcaster. She was so encouraging and moving but I’m going to save her for another time to give her justice.

Boxing champion anyone?

Fast forward to Wednesday evening. I got a call from a friend who shall remain nameless (she’s very shy and retiring).

“There’s some sort of gala dinner at Park Inn Northampton, there’s a spare table of ten, it’s all paid for and it’s to do with a famous boxier. Thought it’d be your sort of thing.”

‘Dinner’ and ‘paid for’ were enough but looking into it, what did I discover? It was only an evening with Evander Holyfield, man, boxer, legend! I summoned the troops and 90 minutes later we were there getting our photos taken with the legend that is the big EH!

Evander Holyfield, Kerry Leese

Being the cheeky swine that I am, I took a recorder on the off chance that I’d get an interview.

I asked a man, who asked a man, who asked THE MAN and yes apparently it was fine which is when I started feeling slightly light headed!

The lovely James, agent extra-ordinaire, gave me the lowdown on the charity supported by the event: Global Village Champions Foundation, the work of Nobel Peace Prize nominee Yank Barry with whom Mr Holyfield was working.

So as if I wasn’t flustered enough, I was now imposing myself upon another, wonderful human being, who’s working so hard to improve the lives of others across the globe, combating poverty and hunger. I’m attending a free dinner and trying to progress my career. Shame be on me!

I walked into the huge room where four people were just chilling on a couple of sofas. I was introduced Yank (after what felt like the longest walk) and away we went talking about the foundation.

Put it this way, it  wasn’t Frost/Nixon but I managed to move my mouth. I believe that sound came out so a relative success I feel..! Yank was lovely and genuinely inspirational. Please do read about the work they’re doing.

Evander was just sitting nodding along in agreement to what Yank was saying. So when Yank and I finished chatting, I turned to face Evander, shook his hand introduced myself and got down on my knees to start the interview, literally. Yes I was kneeling while we spoke (he was sat on the sofa. It’s all about eye level).

And there we have it. We talked for a couple of moments, the result of which you can hear on BBC Radio Northampton on Friday night sport around 6:45 GMT this evening. As there’s audio evidence of the encounter, it must have happened but I still can’t quite believe it. You can catch it on 104.2/103.6 FM, DAB and online.

Both men were very gracious, as were Yank’s wife and friend. It was a fantastic evening and the talk by Evander had me mesmerised as I heard about his fascinating life.

What a week..! Happy weekend!

A shell shocked Kerry


About Kerry Leese

20 something who loves to travel from Northampton embarking on a journey of self discovery. Ambitiously working towards a career in broadcasting. In love with her Smelly Boy and getting up to some random stuff.
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