“Once I had the money, I couldn’t give a fuck” – Big Sexy opens up on downward spiral


After spending the money, Sean Turner [12(8)-3(1)] is now spending time making sure he cashes out fully on his talent.

The big spending ‘Big Sexy’ admits he lost focus on his career after two big 2018 pay-days but is now determined to make amends.

With more money than he had ever seen in his pocket, fun had become more important than fighting.

A bulging bank bank balance led to a party lifestyle and a bulging waist line for a fighter who has often spoken about commitment issues.

However, after having his fun and enjoying some time away from boxing – admittedly enjoying it too much – the Shankill man found himself approaching a period of depression.

It got to the point where the big talking, big punching, big personality had to address some demons.

In an honest and frank interview with Irish-Boxing.com, the 27-year-old claims since seeking help he has returned to the gym and is now fitter than ever.

Indeed, inspired by the fear of being seen as a journeyman along with a reality-checking stint on a building site, Turner claims not only is he fitter, but more motivated than ever.

“Look I had too much money,” he reflects. “Way too much money in my pocket. I was partying, treating myself, enjoying myself.”

“I am not going to lie, it was a great experience. It’s brilliant spending money and having money to spend. It’s not life-changing money, but it was more money than I knew what to do with it.”

The money from those losses to Filip Hrgovic and Nathan Gorman became something of a curse for Turner who explained how “I fell off the bandwagon and, if I am honest, I lost interest.”

“Once I had the money, I couldn’t give a fuck.”

“I had no financial advice. Look, I am a lad from a councol estate in Shankill, I never saw any money, nevermind good money.”

“I just had no knowledge of what to do when you get money like that. It might seem mad to some, but that’s the truth.”

However when the money and the good times dried up Turner hit a bit of a dark place.

“I was depressed after a while. I wasn’t bothered at all. I said fuck it, fuck boxing, but I sorted some things out, like from my past, and I got back into things.”

“Then I went and got a job on the building site and I really said ‘fuck that’. I am back in gym ever since.”

It may appear that pay-days derailed Turner’s career, but it seems a desire to be paid was the real issue.

After scoring a legitimately impressive stoppage win over EBU-EE champion Arnold Gjergjaj in Switzerland in late 2017, 2018 looked like it had break-out potential for the National Elite title winner.

If moved right, ‘Big Sexy’ could have worked his way into big fights on his own terms.

However a late notice offer to fight ‘red hot’ prospect Hrgovic was too good to turn down once the Dubliner heard the positive influence it would have on his bank balance.

Turner ignored all advice including that of his trainer Pete Taylor, who was so against the fight that he wouldn’t man his charge’s corner, traveled to Germany and lost for the first time in his career.

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Even at short notice, the Shankill man showed real heart and went the distance with the giant Croat, earning the respect of the crowd and watching promoters Nisse Saureland and Eddie Hearn.

Indeed, the Dublin character remains the only man to have taken a round of the now 7-0 prospect

After that clash Frank Warren offered Turner the chance to fight the Ricky Hatton-trained Nathan Gorman. Again the money was good, again he was advised against fighting at three weeks’ notice, but again he chose to go ahead with the fight.

He was stopped in the third round and hasn’t fought since.

Turner described how “I took two big risks, two big chances. The money was too good to turn down at the time.”

“That’s all I was thinking. Fuck it I thought I’ll get paid well and with my power you never know I could knock either of them out.”

“Pete was against both fights, really. He wouldn’t do my corner for my first one he was that against it and in the second one he wasn’t happy, but he was meant to do the corner – then that incident happened,” he adds, referring to the shooting at Bray Boxing Club which left Taylor injured and took the life of Bobby Messett

“Seriously, my head was not in right place,” he continues. “Pete told me not take the fights, but I wasn’t turning down a salary a scaffolder gets in one year for few weeks work and a few rounds.”

Like the prodigal son, Turner now returns home to boxing looking to do and put things right.

He claims he is fit, training daily, focused, and hungry for titles.

He outlined how “I am hungry for belts and titles now.”

“I am back training with Pete and he warned me, this is my last hurah, no more missing days, no more messing about and that.”

“I am 100 percent dedicated, I have gone to see people about shit that went on in life over the years and I am ready to show people how good I am fit when I am fit and focused.”

There may be some who still question the heavyweight’s ability after the two defeats, regardless of focus or drive, but Turner is adamant no one has seen his true capabilities just yet.

The former Drimnagh amateur notes how “against Gorman, that wasn’t me. It wasn’t me at all. I just wanted to get in and get out.”

“I didn’t take a dive, I tried, I went out on my feet. The other fight I made the distance, but my head wasn’t in it and I wasn’t fit either.”

gorman turner

“There are prospects out there getting 10-12 weeks’ notice. I got three weeks’ notice for these lads and had people saying I was mental accepting the offers.”

“I never had a proper camp for either fight I wasn’t even in the gym when I got the calls. I had done no training. I said fuck I’ll train my ass off for two weeks and see how it goes.

“In Germany I did better than I thought I was going to do. Gorman I couldn’t turn it down because I talked a bit about that fight. He got me at the right time for him and wrong time for me.”

“I’m not saying coulda, shoulda, woulda, but how are you meant to perform on three weeks notice and after the incident with Pete?”

There is no doubt with a decent enough profile,  a record that looks relatively easy on the eye, an away win against a fight who had lost once in 31 fights and a mouth capable of biggng up a fight, Turner will get good offers to travel.

It seems with notice he may take up those offers but this time back himself to win.

Either way he will have money in his pocket again, which if recent history is anything to go by is dangerous.

However, the Dublin big man has the solution.

“I’ll give my mother all my money after the next fight. She’ll give me a wage every week out of it if I am lucky!”

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Jonny Stapleton

Irish-boxing.com contributor for 15 years and editor for the past decade. Have been covering boxing for over 16 years and writing about sport for a living for 19 years. Former Assistant Sports editor for the Gazette News Paper Group and former Tallaght Voice Sports Editor. Have had work published in publications around the world when working as a freelance journalist. Also co-founder of Junior Sports Media and Leinster Rugby PRO of the Year winner. email: [email protected]