Shropshire Star

Matt Maher: Where there’s muck... there’s Olympic gold, hopes Delicious Orie

As preparations for Paris 2024 ramp up, you can’t accuse Delicious Orie of not doing the dirty work.


Having entered a year which could define the rest of his life, the Bilston boxing star’s surprise solution to getting away from it all is shovelling horse manure.

“People think it is one of the worst jobs. But I love being out in a field, clearing up horse muck,” he laughs. “You are out there on your own, no-one is asking you for anything. It’s a good way of taking my mind off things.”

Doing the latter will be increasingly important as the Olympics draw closer. So while Orie’s weeks are spent in the fiercely-regimented structure of the GB boxing team, at weekends the super heavyweight is frequently found near Worcester, at the stables where girlfriend Sophie keeps her horses.

“Sophie takes part in eventing and there are a couple of horses she looks after,” he explains. “I get involved in that, making sure things are running smoothly, doing a lot of the mucking out.

“I’ve been learning a lot about horses, to be honest. They are athletes themselves. They have to eat and train at certain times. I feel like I can relate to them a little bit!”

When not cleaning up after them, Orie has even had a go at riding but at 6ft6in, it is safe to say an alternative career in equestrianism does not await.

Delicious Orie

“It was quite a painful experience,” he smiles. “The horses are quite big but I make them look like donkeys. My legs are almost on the ground! Maybe I will just have to get an even bigger horse, but I think I might be a bit too big for the old eventing. I’ll probably stick to boxing.”

The latter sport has served Orie well since, at the age of 18 and having never previously set foot in a ring, he told his parents of his plan to become Olympic and world champion.

His passport to Paris already stamped, courtesy of last summer’s gold medal at the European Games, the now 26-year-old does not need telling the magnitude of the next few months. A giant clock on the wall of the gym at the Sheffield Institute of Sport where he trains, counting down to the Olympics by the second, provides a constant reminder of how close the opportunity to make dreams a reality is coming.

“I remember when it was more than 500 days. Now it is under 200,” he says. “It will all be here in a heartbeat. I can’t wait.”

He continues: “The Olympics is where it really matters. At the end of the day, people will remember you as the Olympian, the Olympic champion or the Olympic medallist.

“Everything is for that. The Olympics is the final statement. I am well aware of that.”

Delicious Orie during a media day at The English Institute of Sport,

No question, there is pressure, yet there is something in the calm way Orie delivers those lines which convinces you he won’t succumb to it, his tone matching the calculating manner in which he has steadily built his boxing career.

Fiercely intelligent, you always have the sense Orie has approached the sport in a similar way to his economics degree at Aston University, placing full faith in the teaching of his GB coaches and a pathway so many have previously trodden on route to success, not least his inspiration, Anthony Joshua.

“Incremental steps,” is how Orie describes the method, last year’s victory at the European Games, which came 12 months after he claimed gold at the Commonwealth Games, being so far the biggest of those.

“If I can win the European Games, then I can win the Olympics, as long as I follow tactics, stay grounded and don’t let it all go to my head,” he says. “I know I can go all the way.

“Since I started boxing, there has been an expectation. First it was to win the regionals, then win the nationals, then try and take it another level by competing for Great Britain. Then it was the Commonwealth Games.

“It is always about taking it another level, step by step. Naturally, the next step is the Olympics. This is the pinnacle, the last little bit.”

It helps too that Orie has already experienced a bit of the limelight. Born in Moscow to a Nigerian father and Russian mother and having moved to the UK at the age of seven, he was a poster boy of Birmingham 2022 and delivered in front of 4,000 fans at the NEC.

Delicious Orie during a media day at The English Institute of Sport,

There have been occasional TV stints since, including a recent Christmas morning appearance on the BBC Breakfast show. More will follow in the build-up to Paris, even though a missing front tooth might have slightly tarnished his looks.

“I first had it knocked out in 2022 and then again in sparring last week. It means I’ll be going toothless to the Olympics!” he says, before adding with a chuckle: “It’s in the one place everyone is going to notice it too. There will be no hiding that away!”

Jokes aside, the missing tooth is a reminder of the brutality of the business Orie has chosen. Neither will there be much time for the horses, as he enters a series of competitions and overseas training camps to make sure he arrives in France this summer in the best possible shape.

This week’s inaugural World Boxing Cup GB Open in Sheffield marks the first time he has been in action since the European Games.

“It’s a new tournament. The amount of boxers from England, Scotland and Wales who will be there means there will be a lot of local support,” he says.

“I’ve had a few niggles with injuries since the Europeans but it has given me a chance to work on a few things. I am going to show that off when I box.

“I will be very, very busy now right up to the Olympics. The coaches have it all mapped out and it is definitely a tried and tested programme. I am comfortable they will put me in a great position.

“I am really looking to replicate the amazing support I had in Birmingham in 2022 and have it in the Olympics.

“It is only France, an hour away by plane. You can catch a train too. I know the support and the coverage will be there. It is time for me to perform.”

n Tickets for the GB Open are on sale, starting at £10 (plus booking fee) for a day ticket, at Competition starts today at 11am and there are two sessions a day starting at 11am and 5pm. For finals day on Saturday, sessions start at 10.30am and 1.30pm.