I'm friends with Tyson Fury and was trained by Joe Frazier but I swapped boxing for a different kind of canvas | The Sun
ARTIST Richard Slone has painted some of the best boxers in the world – but he wasn't a bad fighter himself.
Slone has worked on legendary fighters like Floyd Mayweather, Ricky Hatton and Tyson Fury over the years.
But at one point in his life, he thought his career was destined for the ring.
At just 16 he left England and accepted an offer from the great Joe Frazier to live at his gym in Philadelphia.
He also helped Hall of Fame coach Emanuel Steward at the famous Kronk gym in Detroit.
Frazier's son Marvis phoned Slone to suggest training with the legendary heavyweight.
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Slone told talkSPORT: "As a gift to Joe, I showed up with an ink drawing.
"It got smashed along the way – and the frame – but Joe loved the drawing.
“I was Joe’s protege. I idolised him and would have done anything he said. I mimicked his style very, very well, but unfortunately I couldn’t mimic his heart.
"There’s only one Joe Frazier. I knew at one point, internally, so I was the first guy to give up on myself – and also immigration was an issue, so I couldn’t go pro or fight amateur fights.
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"We did exhibitions all the time. Joe took care of me [financially], and I had some jobs, cash in hand, and sometimes bartering.
"I was here 90 days the first time; I went home once, and I’ve never been back since."
Slone would later spend more time with Steward at the Kronk, where Lennox Lewis was being coached into the world's best heavyweight.
But after Lewis retired in 2004, Slone relocated to Las Vegas and began spending more time focussing on his art.
Nelson Mandela, Pamela Anderson and Denzel Washington are among those to have paintings from him.
But British pair Hatton and Fury are among self-taught Slone's favourite customers as well as Mayweather.
He said: “[Ricky Hatton’s] probably the one I painted the most and had the most conversations with.
“Ricky is just so down to earth and approachable, and he likes a laugh and isn’t ashamed of his actions. Fury’s the exact same thing.
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“It’s a great relationship [with Floyd Mayweather]. I’ve a lot of respect for him – I know people have mixed views – in my eyes he’s a champion human being, and has always treated me correctly."
Slone is still busy to this day and his artwork of Canelo Alvarez and Jermell Charlo was used for the fight program and on-site poster.
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