“Against Roy Rowland when I won the Southern Area title. That was make or break.
“He knocked me down, I had to get up and really dig in to win that fight. If I don’t win that I don’t even fight for a British title. That’s it. It would’ve been very hard for me to come back from that.”
Gary Logan a two-time Southern area champion. Described as the highlight of his career, getting off the canvas to grit your teeth and become a champion, to lift your first professional title. A defining moment in his career.
“Roy was an ex-England international, multiple national title-winning [amateur], he was talented. Ironically when I first joined Repton I sparred with him, he was my first sparring partner and he bashed me up.
“He was the first guy I’ve ever seen spar so to actually have to fight him for a Southern Area title, at Wembley, at three weeks notice I would say that was my highlight.”
Logan, a Londoner born and raised, was mesmerised by some sugar and stone. From the age of ten, he knew he wanted to be a boxer. However, it was deemed a tricky task to begin the sport that has now occupied his life.
“I grew up in Clapham, we moved to Croydon when I was around ten [years of age], a year before I started junior school. I wanted to start boxing, I was eleven and a half, I saw Ray Leonard vs Roberto Duran. That was it. I was hooked, absolutely hooked. I watched the whole fight, I ran downstairs and said to my mum and dad I want to be a boxer. My mum said it wasn’t allowed. ‘No son of mine is ever going to be a boxer!’”
A mere speed bump in the long road ahead. It was another fight which played a key role in, the now twelve-year-old, Gary’s life. Another of the four kings but this time a breakthrough for the young Logan.
“I, unfortunately had to wait another two years before I was allowed to even enter the gym. Ironically I was only allowed to start because I was thrown out of the football team for fighting.
“Mum and dad finally let me [box] by early ’83. I remember me and dad were sitting watching Tommy Hearns vs Wilfred Benitez for the world light-middleweight title, I remember saying to my dad ‘oh my god this fight is so boring’ and my dad looked at me and said ‘what, you think you can do better?’ I said ‘of course’
“I wanted to go for so long, I was really excited. It was on top of a pub so it had that pub smell, I remember that it was a real, gritty boxing gym. It was a poor man’s, Thomas A Becket.
“When I turned pro I trained at Thomas A Becket, Croydon was on top of a pub, also, and to compare the two, Croydon was a poor man’s version of ‘A Becket, it was great!”
It was soon evident that boxing was something Logan was good at as his mantelpiece was soon filled with trophies and medals. Although the vests changed colours the hanging medals didn’t, draped in gold Gary was just a child doing what he loved.
“I started boxing and in probably a season and a half I got to a couple of junior finals and an ABA final with Croydon [boxing club], where I first started. I then went to Fitzroy Lodge and ended at Repton [boxing club] where I won the London title in ’88.”
The professional ranks beckoned. Logan made his debut the same year he collected his final amateur trophy. Looking back on his career it wasn’t filled with fond memories. Instead, it was a case of wasted potential, what-ifs and could’ve, would’ve, should’ve.
“I feel very unfulfilled because I fought for major titles but I didn’t win them, I just fell short of them. I boxed some great pro’s on the way up.
“I was with Mickey Duff and I boxed on some great shows like at the Royal Albert Hall, Wembley Arena with Lloyd Honeyghan, my debut was when Duke McKenzie won the first of his three world titles. [McKenzie beat Rolando Bohol for the IBF world flyweight title that night when Logan forced Gary Muir into retiring on his stool.]
“When I got stopped by Del Bryan for the British title because every person thought I was going to win that fight, I was the fight favourite going in. Del had a lot of experience but we had a really good game plan going into it, I was with Dean Powell by then, I would say that was my low point.
“I should’ve stayed with him for a few rounds, not go crazy trying to knock him out and then get rid of him later in the fight. I didn’t stick to the game plan, I tried to bang him out, I dropped him in the fourth round I had him hurt, I thought it was a matter of time before I get him and I just kept swinging and not really boxing.
“I lost sight of the game plan. I would say that’s the biggest disappointment, at the time I was ready to win a major title. It didn’t happen but it was an experience because now with the fighters that I coach I can coach them in temperament.
“Anyone has got ability, the chances are I am always going to work with fighters who’ve decent ability but can I give them the temperament required to win titles, that’s a whole different ball game.”
Retiring in 1996 after losing in his second British title fight, against Ensley Bingham, Logan turned his back on professional boxing. The temptation to comeback is there for every boxer but the lure from a childhood friend put Gary back through the ropes in 2001. But, it was the lure of coaching that brought ‘Shogun’ back into the sport.
“The transition was quite smooth actually, because, I finished my boxing career with Adam Booth as my coach. We had known each other for years, we boxed each other in the schoolboys, I made my comeback from 2001-2003 with Adam.
“A part of the reason he lured me out of retirement was the fact I knew what it took to be a pro, you had to train like a full-time athlete but you still had to work. [Booth] said he can solve that problem by getting me to work as a boxing coach. It was just as he was starting to train a young, exciting, amateur Cruiserweight called David Haye.
“I got on board with David and we were training [together]. When I finished my career I was training Cathy Brown. Adam [Booth] didn’t really have the time as by that time he had started training George Groves and David Haye.
“I took over Cathy’s training for when she became the first-ever recognised female boxing champion because you have to remember the board of control didn’t recognise Jane Couch [as champion] at the time.
“Cathy was the actual first British boxing board of control female champion, she beat a woman called Juliette Winter [for the English bantamweight title]. I remember the transition was easy, it was in my own gym whilst I was training out of Third Space.”
Adam Booth and Gary Logan had an extremely special bond, a bond that only boxing can give you. Booth, you could say, is the reason Logan is still in boxing today.
“We were very close. After I beat him [in the schoolboys] I think I met him about three years later I was a senior at Fitzroy Lodge, he was a senior, he joined Croydon ABC my former club so we would meet up and have sparring sessions.
“We had like a sibling rivalry but we were always mates, in the summer we would play football, I would go to his mum’s house, we were quite close.
“He was very much how he is now very attentive to detail. He believes in the fundamentals of boxing, you’ve got to have a good jab and a good backhand.
“So detailed, with David [Haye] and George [Groves], who I think are his two premier fighters, a lot of their highlight reel knockouts were shots I saw land in sparring and on the pads. That shows you his attention to detail made sure they carried it through to fight night.
“It wasn’t just any old knockout it was normally shots that they worked on in detail and knowing they could take advantage of their opponents.
“Especially the Chisora knockout which I think is one of David’s best ever knockouts, you know, where he spins off the ropes southpaw and just nails Chisora coming in.
“I thought that was amazing. Indeed, the Mormeck knockout, too. It was things that I had seen in the weeks before in sparring. That is definitely Adam’s strength, attention to detail.”
Without Adam Booth’s influence, it’s highly unlikely we would see Logan training his charge for a British title eliminator. Cruiserweight prospect, Deion Jumah was a talent discovered by Logan as he stood side by side with Booth almost eight years ago.
“Me and Deion go way back to the London finals at Fairfield Halls [in Croydon], I’m sure it would’ve been about 2012. Adam was there and George was there to support Deion.
“He was supposed to fight in the cruiserweight final but his opponent pulled out. There was him and two other young guys who caught my eye that night.
“One of them was named Joshua Buatsi and the other one was Georgie Kean. I liked Georgie because he didn’t have the best ability but he boxed one of the McDonagh brothers and McDonagh totally stood Georgie on his head by boxing.
“You could see [Kean] grit his teeth and say right you can’t outbox him so let’s have a fight and he just systematically wore down this fella and beat him on a majority, I was really impressed by that and he went on to win the London title.
“Within a year and a half I was training both Georgie and Deion because Deion came on board with Adam after signing with Sauerland so we were together for about two years then me and Adam split and me and Deion fell out of touch.
“He went off the radar for a while but when he came back I had just started at BXR, this was three years ago, he said ‘Gary, I want to come back and id like you to train with me.’ That was it we’ve been together ever since.
“Five or six fights down the road and we are getting ready for a very capable opponent and a tough challenge in Sam Hyde in his home town on his home show.
“We know why we have to go there because I don’t think anything is going to new given to Deion Jumah, he has to go out there and earn it. I expect a really tough night but I expect a win. With much respect to Sam and Joe [Gallagher] who has put in a lot of work with Sam, I think Deion is a better all-round fighter than Sam.”
The coaching influence of Booth wasn’t left on just Gary. Formerly his coach, Logan knows all about Andy Lee. The Irishman is now building his own pack of charges with highly touted Paddy Donovan and Jason Quigley already working with Lee it is his second cousin who will now benefit from his boxing brain. Lee will join ‘Sugar’ Hill Steward in coaching the lineal heavyweight champion, Tyson Fury.
“Massive fan of Andy. Very, very knowledgeable guy. He knows boxing. That’s because he went straight from the Irish boxing programme to one of boxing’s best ever trainers, Emmanuel Steward.
“He is steeped in knowledge because he got it from other people, which is what helped me because when I was boxing after my first coach Carlie Carew, who had a lot of contacts in America, I was around the likes of Mike McCullum and the late Eddie Futch. It gave so much knowledge from being around those people.
“With Andy, he was easy to coach because he was always willing to try. He’s got so much humility.
“You’re talking about Andy Lee, he boxed all over America with Emmanuel Steward then come to England and at the time Adam was busy with George and David so sometimes Andy couldn’t go to the gym to get sparring so he would often go to Shane McGuigan’s gym to spar with Conrad Cummings or he’d go to TKO to spar Frank Buglioni.
“You’re talking about someone within less than two years boxed in Madison Square, winning the Ring magazine knockout of the year and a few months after boxed for a world title and winning it. That was a serious education to work with Andy and I think we learnt a lot off of each other.
“If Tyson listens to him it’ll be immeasurable as he’s been there and done it. I hope he doesn’t think I’m disrespecting him because I’m not, he won the world title and represented his country in the Olympics but, I think his coaching achievements will surpass that because he is so knowledgeable.
“I just know when he’s in the corner it won’t be all raa raa, I think he will be a calming influence. It sounds like Tyson has a really good team around him.”
These days Gary can be found coaching at the BXR gym in London. Logan has as aforementioned Jumah in a British title eliminator but he also has Dean Richardson who will be defending his southern area title in the early part of the year.