03/06/2012 18:53 BST

'The Apprentice' Winner Ricky Martin: 'I've Knocked The Wrestling On The Head' (INTERVIEW)

"I've knocked the wrestling on the head," says Ricky Martin - the winner of The Apprentice 2012.

"If I was to do the wrestling, I don't think I'd be giving enough to the business that I intend to set up. All the fun stuff has finished and all the hard stuff is here now I've secured the investment.

"I think I'm going to be working 12-hour days, seven days a week. If I have any time left, I'd rather spend it with my wife and family than to go and wrestle," he adds.

The recently-married recruitment team manager and wrestler from Portsmouth was on the losing team five times, lost as project manager twice, and had the most boardroom visits of any of the finalists.

However, after being dismissed by some as a bit of a showman and coming out with some of the most comically arrogant lines in the history of the show, he has proven himself as a man with a serious head for business and triumphed to win the £250,000 investment from Lord Sugar.

By the final of the show it seemed as though he'd had a personality transplant and even he cringed as his personal statement, which included claims such as "I can teach and old dog new tricks", was read back to him. Did he simply adapt to how he thought he should behave or did he really see the error of his ways?

"I did go in it like a bull in a china shop at the beginning, but I wanted to make a name for myself quite quickly so I went in with a lot of the bravado that I have in my character, which is the wrestling side of me.

"I wanted to make sure people were intimated by me or respected me, but what I realised after about week five was that I had no chance acting like that because Lord Sugar cares more about what I did than what... It definitely brought me down a peg or two for all the right reasons," he explains.

Ricky's recruitment consultancy business plan was simple and safe enough for Lord Sugar to trust the candidate who at first seemed so showy. So why does Ricky think Lord Sugar chose to go into business with him?

"Lord Sugar always says you should do what you know, not the flavour of the month… I've stayed true to his ethos," he says.

Ricky might be brave in the ring and on the tasks but there was one man who managed to scare him during the series - Claude Littner.

"The way he delivers things makes you feel really intimidated. Once Claude had delivered the lines about how ridiculous and crass my business plan was and how it was the worst application form he'd ever had the displeasure of reading, I think I realised then I've got to do a lot to let them know who I am, because when I wrote that I was a different person," he reasons.

Ricky did extremely well to go from the man everyone mocked and thought would leave the competition in week one, to winning the series, so how did he celebrate?

"When I found out it was as simple as I spoke to my loved ones and told them about the situation. I had a quiet drink with them and celebrated and I kept it quite low key.

"I want people to realise I'm serious about this business and the show element of Ricky Martin was really just part of my armoury and something I needed to stand out, now I don't need it."

Maybe the fool isn't so foolish after all.

The Apprentice finalists in action...

Photo gallery The Apprentice Final See Gallery