By Anthony Cocks
You would be hard pressed to find a boxer with more grit, determination and single-minded focus that Floyd Masson.
As a kid the cruiserweight used to stand in the blistering cold of Ta Awamuti, New Zealand throwing a rugby ball against the goal posts and chasing it down. Rinse and repeat. Back then, his dream was to play halfback for the All Blacks.
Masson’s decision to join a local boxing gym as a teenager – ostensibly to get the upper hand in his backyard scraps with his older brother – turned out to be a fortuitous one.
Undefeated after five fights with four big knockouts, the powerful southpaw caught the eye of Mike Altamura and recently signed a co-managerial deal with MJA Platinum that will see his career guided by Altamura and Anto Connolly.
With one eye on the Australian title and another looking forward to international challenges, Masson joins us to give us 15 rounds of the best.
1. What attracted you to boxing in the first place?
MASSON: Self-defence to bash my older brother! I also liked the challenge and used it to get fit for rugby. After seeing an Oscar De La Hoya fight, and of course the Arturo Gatti versus Micky Ward trilogy, it inspired me.
2. Toughest fight in the amateurs or pros?
MASSON: In the pros to date, it would be 'Smiley' [Navosa Ioata]. We had a fun fight in NZ. In the amateurs I had heaps of tough fights, all tough in their own unique way.
3. Biggest puncher you’ve faced?
MASSON: That would have to be the big man, 2012 London Olympian Johan Linde.
4. What are the best and worst thing about being a boxer?
MASSON: The best: the dedication it takes. Also winning. There is no greater feeling, it’s like no other sport; words can't explain how good it feels. I also just love fighting and you don't get in trouble afterwards.
The worst is having to wait for your next fight, it feels like forever. Also not being able to have huge steaks every night. And not getting enough time to hang out with the wife.
5. What is your most defining win of your career?
MASSON: After I got married, I had a year away from the sport. The Australian Golden Gloves came up and it was the only tournament I was allowed to enter, not being Australian citizen. I only had two weeks training back and was sick the week of the fight, but I won the Golden Gloves by beating the man who became Oz champ and a Commonwealth Games representative [Toese Vousiutu]. It felt really rewarding as it was more of a mental fight being away for that long.
6. What are your goals for the next 12 months?
MASSON: To win the Aussie title and secure a world ranking.
7. What are some of your hobbies away from the ring?
MASSON: l love surfing – and eating steak, if that's a hobby! I also love watching the All Blacks play rugby, going out to cafes and watching boxing of course.
8. Who is always ringside for you fights?
MASSON: My beautiful wife Hannah, my family and the north beach surf crew.
9. Who has been biggest influence on your career?
MASSON: Arturo Gatti, without a doubt.
10. What fight have you learnt the most from?
MASSON: To be honest it feels like I learn something from every fight, no matter the outcome. Not one fight stands out.
11. What is something our readers would be surprised to learn about you?
MASSON: I was in the army at 17 and left to pursue my boxing dream.
12. Do you have any superstitions or rituals you follow in the lead-up to fight night?
MASSON: I always read my diary before every fight. It’s where I write down why I'm doing this, what it means to me, my goals and things I say to myself in training camp, etc. Also, I always pray before every fight for good health, etc, for myself and my opponent.
13. What is your favourite post-fight feed?
MASSON: Haha, steak and ribs!
14. Where would we find you when you’re away from the gym?
MASSON: Watching boxing, surfing, drinking coffee at 96 degrees, or relaxing at the float lab…
15. If you weren’t boxing, what would you be doing?
MASSON: Probably competing in MMA. But if I couldn't fight, I would most probably join the army or navy or tryout for the fire brigade. Or I’d just go surfing!