Malta, Ballet & American Again

A funny last few weeks. We had Channel 4 down at Bethlehem a couple of times. They initially contacted Sam with regards to making a documentary on non-ballet people learning ballet.

The production team came and had a chat and I got roped into it and I thought… if I’m doing it so are a few of the Bethlehem boxers! I’m quite looking forward to it as it’ll be a new experience and take me out of my comfort zone although on reflection there are similarities with boxing and ballet both relying heavily on balance and poise. 

     I went over to Malta last month with a couple of the Bethlehem lads as part of an EBF team for a Malta versus UK boxing show called the ‘Hassle in the Castle’  at Monte Cristo just outside Valetta. There were 1200 spectators watching a mix of professional and semi professional boxing. Alex Ferguson was on third and I had a quick look at the first two fights. The Maltese boxers looked good and seemed to fight in the same style so it gave me a chance to fine tune our game plan.  I must admit I’d being a little worried for Alex as he’s only eighteen and I wondered if it was asking too much of him. However, he showed a maturity beyond his years and produced a mixture of brain and bottle and got the decision on points. Someone commented afterwards how good it was to see a young boxer listen to his coach and actually take notice of him.  Turning professional after a performance like he had in Malta is not beyond Alex though maybe a tad too soon for him. He’s not been with me 12 months !

Billy Wilkinson was also there, fighting for the EBF Inter Continental Belt. He lost but put up a good performance though somehow he seemed to lose his way in the third. If he hadn’t I think he might have nicked it on points, so it’s fingers crossed for a rematch. But for all of us it was a great experience, we stopped for a few days after the show and while we were wandering about Sliema people were recognising us from the fights and stopping for a chat. We’ll all go back to Malta again if only for the Maltese sausages.


Alex Ferguson at weigh in for his fight in Malta

Talking of fighting abroad, readers will know I’ve set my heart on fighting in America. It’s just something I’d like to experience before I hang up my gloves. Up to press, I have two options, both with Irish/ American promoters. One is in North Carolina and the other is in New York for around July time. Neither fight would be defending the Irish title there but the idea is they could pave the way for that in the near future.

 Saturday June 1st at six p.m,  we’re back at Bramley Villager for the first WBU fight with Sam Smith taking on Katherine Graham from Manchester for the WBU Ladies Lightweight International Title. I had to pull Sam out of the last fight as she had a chest infection but hopefully this time it will be alright on the night.

  Lastly, it’s not confirmed as we go to press, but I’m hoping to go on the pitch with my Irish belt at half time of Glasgow Celtic’s last game of the season against St.Johnstone. I’m not a big football fan but I do realise what a privilege it would be to grace the hallowed turf of Celtic Park.  I’m going up there to see Ricky Burns world title defence, where Michael Sweeny one of the Mayo lads will be on the undercard as the first Irish boxer ever to fight for the BBBC Celtic title. Work that one out if you can.




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