AFTER serving in the military and overcoming homelessness, there is no opponent who can faze Paul Bamba.
So when Tommy Fury shares the ring with him on Sunday night, he must know the American has already been in the deepest possible trenches.
Bamba, 33, told SunSport: “I haven’t run into anything that has fazed me yet. Unless I’m about to die or something, nothing can faze me.
“I’m a tough individual, if something is not going right, you always have a plan B to make plan A work, you make stuff happen.”
Bamba joined the military the day he turned 18, enrolling into the Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton in California.
He spent seven months serving in Iraq, meaning the discipline required in a boxing career was drilled into him long before lacing up the gloves.
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Bamba said: “I would say the marine corps and the structure, it helps me a lot out when it comes to boxing because it’s all about sticking to it, repetition is key.
“All those good things that we ignore sometimes, that’s what it taught me and helps me stick to it.”
Bamba has had just seven bouts since turning professional in 2021, but won battles far worse outside of the ring.
He said: “When it comes down to mental strength, courage, fortitude, that’s one of my greatest strengths, because of the military.
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“I would agree that it’s different, but helpful nonetheless because you go through a lot in the military and it teaches who you are, it amplifies it.
“It gets you ready for the absolute worst possible things.”
After coming out of the marines, Bamba moved from California to New York and worked minimum wage jobs.
But after falling on hard times, he found himself homeless and living on the streets.
To earn some cash, Bamba walked eight miles a day to spar at the Church Street boxing gym, making more money the longer he survived.
He remembered: “You could spar and get like $10 a round if you lasted. I hadn’t been eating, so I tried it, lasted one good round.
“I got my ten bucks, I was able to eat and then I went back, did way better and made like 30 bucks.
“I just kept going back and doing it and sticking to it."
Eventually, Bamba began coaching at the gym and soon got back on his feet as a personal trainer, proving nothing could keep him down.
He said: "Your outlook on life is where you end up so I could’ve been mad about it and said, ‘Damn, I’m homeless and just sat on a bench all day.’
“Instead, I applied for probably like 100 plus jobs a day and was running around trying to make sure everything was alright.
“I think that is a direct correlation to boxing because I think when times get tough, you’ve got to bite down on your gumshield and keep moving forward.”
Bamba had four amateur bouts before turning pro and in just his eighth fight faces the brother of boxing royalty in Fury.
The British star is the younger sibling to heavyweight champion Tyson, who also had a stint on the hit reality TV show Love Island.
But his time on the small screen flew under the radar for Bamba, who said: “I don’t really watch TV but I know his brother’s amazing, Tyson Fury, that’s all I really know.
“I know Tommy is a really good prospect, it’s his ninth fight but for me, I’m more concerned about the opportunity. It’s a win-win for me.”
Bamba – who has already turned his life around – has the chance to change it forever by upsetting Fury in Dubai on Floyd Mayweather's undercard.
He said: “It’s a great opportunity that presented itself, I have the underdog mentality, I’m not just somebody who lays down.
“I’ve seen a bunch of his fights and I don’t think anybody really tries to fight him, I think they’re just there.
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“I could care less for a paycheque, no one has enough money in the world for me to throw away my ego or my pride.
“I could go in there and change my life by f****** up a 23-year-old.”
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