Pro boxer Nav Mansouri on his new life on the Costa del Sol and coming back to Rotherham

Pro boxer Nav Mansouri on his new life on the Costa del Sol and coming back to Rotherham

By Bob Westerdale | 22/05/2022

Pro boxer Nav Mansouri on his new life on the Costa del Sol and coming back to Rotherham

 

YOU can take the lad out of Rotherham — but you can’t take Rotherham out of the lad.

Boxer Nav Mansouri left his home town six years ago for the millionaire’s playground of Marbella.

The towns are 1,500 miles apart...and as different as chalk and Manchego cheese.

Yet while the delights of the resort on the Costa del Sol are not lost on him, part of him yearns for his roots.

We are talking here about him returning for a championship boxing match or a visit to friends and relatives...but probably, he admits, not to return full time to settle down.

Nav’s lifestyle, living in a Benahavis apartment a few miles from the centre of Marbella with his pregnant Lithuanian partner Karolina (29) and son Leo (3) isn’t one you could easily compare with the not-so-sunny climes of East Dene and Kimberworth Park, where he grew up.

In Spain, he rubs shoulders with A-listers and the glitterati in exclusive shops, bars, and restaurants and on the beaches of the Mediterranean.

Yet Nav remains a down-to-earth South Yorkshire lad through and through.

“I see a lot of recognisable people on nights out but I just say ‘Hi’’and don’t get excited,” he says.

“Marbella is about yachts, nice cars, posh restaurants and bars, that’s the lifestyle. Everyone lives the good life. We are very happy here.”

So how does he view Rotherham after six years in the Andalusian paradise?

His first reply was: “It’s the exact opposite.”

Then Nav laughed and rephrased his answer: “Here’s your headline: ‘Marbella and Rotherham are exactly the same the only difference is Marbella has a sea and Rotherham has a canal!’”

On a serious note, the 33-year-old former Clifton School and Thomas Rotherham College pupil does occasionally pine for his roots.

“I miss Rotherham, mainly the people I know there, friends and family,” he said. “My mum is still there.

“I grew up there, so how could I not miss Rotherham? When you are brought up there, you just miss it. But I suppose when I go there, after a week or two, I say: ‘Ok I am ready to leave again’.”

As for modern-day East Dene, he says: “It’s not a nice place, I am not going to lie.

“There are a lot of kids on the streets, no-one looks after anyone, and there could be a lot of work done to upgrade the place.

“It feels like instead of getting better, parts of Rotherham and Sheffield are taking a step backward.

“There are not many opportunities for kids, other than on the streets, it is sad, to be honest.

“They (the authorities) could make a different environment for them and make it a better place.”

Millers’ fan Nav, who used to play for local club Rotherham Rangers Junior FC, also believes the sunnier weather in Spain has an influence on community life — with people more “smiley” in Marbella.

“The weather is amazing and I am settled over here and have family and responsibilities,” he said.

“It is expensive but you learn where to go and when.

“The first year I came out I was a party lover, (he was injured and out of the ring) but now I keep on the straight and narrow — I am a family man and have a kid and another one on the way.

 “It is good and peaceful, I have a lot of friends out here now. I have started a new life out here.

“Some people there people think I am ‘living the life’ or have become posh, but I am the same kid, it doesn’t matter where I go.”

The former English Super Welterweight champion has not fought for almost two years but has a Spanish boxing licence and is heading for a return.

His dream is to campaign for a British title — preferably staged in Rotherham.

“To fight for the British title at the Magna Centre would be wicked.

“After that I could close the book,” he said.

“Eventually, I will go into coaching, I am training clients at the moment and enjoying it.

“But right now I have still got the itch to achieve something in the ring, when that flame has gone and I call it a day I’ll coach, hopefully in my own gym.

“I’m not sure where that would be, but somewhere I’d want to bring kids up.

“I’d like them to be brought up here or in the UK but in a better place than Rotherham to be honest, with more opportunities.”

Then he was off to training — with the final message: “I love all the Rotherham people and miss them all...”