It’s funny the life we lead, I started work in construction, I’ve started 3 apprenticeships and completed 2, 1 as a welder and 1 as a carpenter.
I’ve always trained and played sport and It wasn’t till the end of my 20’s that I changed career. I moved from construction into the fitness industry and took one of my life passions to a professional level.
I have always loved boxing. It has been my release and go to since I first hit the bag at 13, 26 years ago. I stopped amateur boxing at 27 and never thought I would compete competitively again.
I moved to Brighton met Jay Morris an amazing character who is also a good friend now. He also believed in me and turned me pro. I’m writing this sat in an airport in Belfast after competing in my 46 professional contest. Heavy with a cold and nursing an injured arm both of which I had before the fight last night – 46 fights, 38 years old & two days off my 39th birthday.
This journey has been crazy, amazing, scary, exciting, wonderfully bonkers and brilliant all rolled into one. For those who know nothing of boxing or those who know a little, I am one of the many unsung heroes. Which if it wasn’t for us guys on the road each week, taking fights at the drop of a hat with a day or hours notice, you wouldn’t have boxing or boxing as we know it.
Us journeymen are a very rare special breed of human and some of the most colourful characters I’ve ever met. I won’t go on too much but I would like to give a brief insight into what I and lots of guys do risking life and limb & trying to avoid injury for those few minutes in the spot light and a good excuse to throw a few punches.
You generally get two lots of boxers, Prospects and Journeymen. Prospects are the new hopefuls, ticket sellers for promoters and maybe the new world champions. Journeymen are the guys who fight these.
Boxing doesn’t have ability class like divisions in football, we all sit in one class of a weight division. I am currently in the middle/ super middle weight division 11st 7lbs – 12st and I am ranked 71 out of 98 in the UK.
What makes the difference between the two sets of fighters is that journeymen just do it for the love of boxing, knowing that the journey will be what is is without really achieving great success as in getting big titles or belts, just a bit of pocket money.
Whereas every prospect thinks they are gonna be the next world champion, and often reality hits them somewhere down the line and they retire or become a journeyman and start enjoying boxing again.
I have boxed some great fighters over the years, Calum Smith & Adam Etches to name a couple. I have boxed on Sky TV 7 times, and I taken a fight with an hours notice. We are the yes men who are always ready to turn up and put on a show, without a care for the outcome but for the love of the sport. We are the guys who save boxing shows, we get promoters out of trouble, we help to test and nurse up and coming fighters into great boxers. We also have the most interesting dressing rooms with the most relaxed atmosphere.
I know most prospects or even people couldn’t do what we do. In a tough sport we are at the tough end, keeping it going because without us there would be no them. As a professional sport at my end it’s not glamorous, no one really cares about you, we are the canon fodder who makes money for the show. I’ve heard promoters refer to us as a commodity that will make their show great, not a human being who’s risking his life for someone else’s gain.
If I played football at my boxing level. I’d be on maybe £1000/2000 a week. We only get paid for matches £500-£2000 depending on the show and the rounds. We still train 3 times a day, 6 days a week, for 4 plus fights a year depending on injuries and whether you win, because if you win to often you won’t get any fights.
All of us are addicted, it’s like a drug that you know has a finite point and will finish one day, till then we’ll soak it in till our times up.
To every single road warrior I salute you, keep up the good work, stay strong, stay safe and above all keep the sport going, and I’ll see you on the road!