5 Minutes With... Martin Bisp

WHO ARE YOU AND WHAT DO YOU DO?

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I’m Martin Bisp, CEO and Co-founder of Empire Fighting Chance, a charity that helps to inspire young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to realise their potential through a combination of non-contact boxing and intensive personal support.

WHAT MAKES YOU DIFFERENT?

I am not sure anything makes me different. I am simply someone who saw something I didn’t like and realised that we could, if we wanted, do something about it. This then drove me to create Empire Fighting Chance with Jamie Sanigar. I am determined and resilient which everyone who succeeds needs to be. We have had some really difficult times in launching a charity, especially coming from the private sector, working full time and challenging people’s beliefs about how things should be tackled. This resilience, which I am sure sport taught me, has meant setbacks are only ever viewed as temporary issues.

IF YOU COULD VISIT ANY TIME/PLACE IN HISTORY, WHEN/WHERE WOULD YOU VISIT?

That is difficult. There are a number of huge sporting occasions I would like to have seen, like Muhammad Ali winning the world title (as Cassius Clay), England winning the World cup and Shergar winning the Derby. But I recently visited Memphis during the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s assassination, when I was here I spent some time visiting the civil rights museum at the Lorraine Motel. After seeing this, combined with all I have read, I would like to go back and spend time with Martin Luther King.

WHAT’S YOUR SUPERPOWER?

I think I’d have to say eternal optimism. I am a huge Bristol Rovers fan and every season, despite all the heartbreak of previous years, I turn up hoping for miracles. That takes a certain mind set!

WHAT’S THE BEST PIECE OF BUSINESS ADVICE YOU’VE BEEN GIVEN?

To ensure you keep on track and keep a clear mind when things are going very badly or very well and learn from how you got there, That and if you want money ask for advice, if you want advice ask for money!

WHAT BOOK WOULD YOU RECOMMEND AND WHY?

There are a few, The Dark Trade by Donald McCrae is a great book about professional boxing or Country of the Blind by Christopher Brookmyre.