Jack ‘The Ripper’ McKinlay (2-0, 0KOs), trained by Paul Stevenson at the thriving Everton Red Triangle Gym, spoke exclusively with BBN’s Editor Tim Rickson during lockdown from his Liverpool home.
The 30-year-old welterweight was an Under 20’s ABA champion, and has now won both pro bouts on points.
Here’s what he had to say:
Have you been training during lockdown?
“Yeah, I’ve been training quite a bit to be honest. Been doing loads of cycling, I’ve got punch bag in the back and been doing pads with my mate. I’ve been running with a heavy rucksack on my back with my mate who is ex-army.
“I already had a bike before all this, but never really used it until now. I’ve been going on two-and-a-half-hour bike rides.
“A lot of people have been like I can’t wait to get back to the gym, but you don’t really need a gym, you can use what’s around you. During my last fight camp, I was mixing it up already because I don’t like doing one thing all the time, because it gets repetitive.”
How difficult is it to train without something to aim for?
“The first couple of weeks of lockdown, I had nothing to aim for, but I feel well better now. I had an injury with my hand so couldn’t do much punching anyway.
“When I wake up I just do whatever I feel like, to be honest. I’ve been waking up earlier than normal because when you’re in training camp, your body is sore and it is hard to get out of bed sometimes, but now the training is not as intense, I’ve been getting up early.
“I’ve been working as well, doing delivery work and security.”
Do you count yourself lucky to have been one of few to have fought already this year when you decisioned Michael Likalu on February 28?
“Yeah, I enjoyed that fight, I got off to a good start to the year but because I hurt my hand, lockdown actually came at a good time for me to give me chance to rest my hand, so it wasn’t a bad thing for me at first, in my position. I can see why the lads are all frustrated.
“I miss the gym, I like the banter with the lads and having a laugh in the gym.”
You have five fights scheduled for the year; how do you handle the disappointment that they are no longer going ahead?
“It’s not affecting me too much, because of the injury I couldn’t have fought anyway, so it would have affected the lads more than me.
“Whenever we get back in the gym, I’ll just take it as it comes. My hand is still not 100 per cent but been getting better, and I’ve been doing light pads, but not too heavy punching.”
Do you think boxing events will return differently after lockdown ends?
“Just spread the fans out so they’re not so close together, and only let a certain amount in.
“It’s going to be hard selling tickets, but it’s not about the money, even if we fight for nothing for a few fights. I think that it will be hard to sell tickets after this, people want to spend their money wisely because you never know what’s around the corner. But could go the other way, people are desperate for a night out!”
If life returns to normal within the next month, what would ideal your plans be for the rest of this year?
“I’ll be happy to just get one fight in, I’d like to end the year on a win. Two fights would be great, but realistically, just to fight once more this year would be good. It’s out of my hands, so just got to go with the flow.”
Have you been keeping in touch with your trainer Paul Stevenson and teammates?
“We’ve got a group chat on WhatsApp and keep in contact with that, just to let each know what we’re up to and that, the lads are quite close. Paul [Stevenson] text last week to say to stay around fighting weight as you never know when this could blow over, so to stay close and to be ready.”
The Everton Red Triangle Gym, where you train with six other unbeaten professionals, is celebrating its centenary this year – when do you think it’ll start to receive recognition as one of the leading gyms in the country?
“I think the boxing insiders know that anyway, the people in the know already know about our gym.
“We’re under the radar, but not out of sight, if that makes sense. Everyone knows about us, but we are just waiting for that break, need for someone to win a title. I certainly don’t think people don’t recognise us, it just takes time.
“I think it works well in our favour – no distractions, just pure training. Maybe that’s a good thing, it’s just business and keeps your eye on it, that’s all that matters.”
Everton Red Triangle Gym, in association with Black Flash Promotions, plan their entire year’s events ahead. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic and subsequent ban on all boxing events under the jurisdiction of the BBBofC, May and July’s events were cancelled. The remaining planned dates are September 5 and November 14.
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