Matty Mainwaring is a 25 year old ex-profesional footballer who has decided to take up his real passion in a full time capacity – boxing.
As a footballer, Mainwaring played for the likes of Stockport County, Hyde, Chester and Stalybridge Celtic, with his three spells at ‘The Hatters’ being the most successful. Injury halted his footballing career, and he decided that the only career move for him would be to step into the paid ranks of the fight game. The middleweight is currently 1-0, and titles are the only thing on his mind.
Having recently turned professional with no amateur experience, Mainwaring started his pro career with a tight points victory over Victor Edaghe, winning 39-38 on referee John Latham’s scorecard.
His second bout is set for 19th March at Victoria Warehouse in Manchester with his opponent yet to be named, but Mainwaring will be looking to put on a devastating desplay.
InstantBoxing.com’s Luke Madeira has been speaking to Matty, and here is what he had to say:
How have you found the transition from football to boxing?
I’ve kicked a ball since I could walk from the ages of two or three and I had never boxed before last Christmas, but even being a footballer I used to stray to boxing quite a bit because not many people knew, but it was my real passion. I would come home from training and I would just watch fights and clips of the best fighters, and that’s the way I’ve learnt. It hasn’t really been a chore learning but I love watching – so it comes easily to me. I love watching fights and I could watch them all day. As for the difference, anything full time takes a toll on your body but I think full time boxing is tougher than full time football, because we train twice a day a lot of the time, six days a week. If you’re injured in football or you have an off day the game goes on without you, but in boxing you can’t really afford an off day.
Do you have any amateur experience in boxing?
No the last fight I had was the first fight I have ever had in my life. That includes on the streets as well!
You’ve had one pro fight so far, how did you find both the training camp and the fight?
It’s a dream for me really. In twelve months I have gone from a pro footballer to a pro boxer and I’ve got my first win under my belt. I am now on the first step of the ladder, heading to where I want to be. I’m addicted to be honest and I want more of the same. It was a top night for me. Obviously I was up against it with the cut I sustained early on from a head clash but I put it to the back of my mind and got on with the fight.
What is it like training under Matthew Hatton?
It’s brilliant. To be perfectly honest I would probably still be a footballer now if it wasn’t for somebody like Matthew saying “you’ve got ability”. If it comes from the ‘average Joe’ it doesn’t really mean anything but coming from someone like Matthew it means a lot. I had only ever seen Matthew on TV up until I met him last Christmas through a mutual friend of ours and to hear it from someone like him, it really hits home. I knew I had something, but coming from him it really means a lot. As a trainer we have got a great relationship. We work hard day in day out and we have done all year. Matt took me as a blank slate so everything I have learnt has been down to him. He didn’t want me to go into the amateurs because he said it’s a completely different game to the pro game. He said I would learn more sparring pros than I would fighting as an amateur. I’m lucky that he’s behind me.
What made you decide to become a pro boxer instead of carrying on with football?
It wasn’t a split second decision, like I said before I love boxing. When I played for Hull I didn’t have much to do and I didn’t really know people, so after training I would go back to my place and watch Mayweather fights or Mike Tyson fights or Tommy Hearns fights. As far as I’m concerned I was into boxing as much as I was into football through watching it. When I met Matt for the first time he said that I have lots of speed, lots of co-ordination, lots of natural ability and you’re fit, and asked me if I had boxed before. When I told him no he couldn’t get his head around it, but I had some time off so he told me to go down to the gym in the day so he could see more of me. We did some pads and he organised some sparring for me, and after that he told me that he would like to take me on full-time. With him asking me to turn pro straight away it was an easy decision because I still had a wage to pay my bills, where as if he had asked me to have some amateur fights that would have made it more difficult.
It looks like you could be potentially fighting at Edgeley Park in the near future where you played a lot of your football, how special would it be for you personally to fight there?
It would be brilliant. It is so strange that it has all come about because I was saying a few weeks ago that I would love to be able to fight there in front of the Stockport fans. For me they’re the best fans in the country even when it was going badly they followed us and still got behind us. I consider Edgeley Park to be my home in football. To box there it would be awesome.
Do you think your style suits the professional ranks?
Like I said I was a blank slate when I started so it isn’t as if Matt has to pull me out of any bad habits. I’ve literally started from scratch so whatever Matt has taught me I have taken into the ring. I think it does because I’m a fit lad but I don’t rest enough and I think that has been my downfall with a few injuries. I think my midst is good, I’m not somebody that will leave anything to chance and I’ll do everything I can do to help myself. I think that will help me a lot, I was always like that in football as well. I don’t drink, I don’t go out partying, I just get my head down and that will only help me.
What is the dream for you as a fighter?
I just want to reach my full potential. At the end of the day I want to win titles. I understand where I am now, I understand that I’m learning all the time and I’m at the bottom of a big ladder. I haven’t made the transition to mess about in the sport, I want to go as far as I can.
Where do you see yourself in a years time?
Ideally, although it’s never as straight forward as this, I would like to have had four or five fights under my belt this year and be moving up to bigger, longer fights.
Favourite fighter growing up – Tommy Hearns
Favourite glove – I don’t really know. It’s tough to answer because I haven’t tried a lot of them. I’ve had one fight and I got given gloves off the promoter to use. I think looks wise the Grants ones are smart.
Best ever round – Tommy Hearns against Marvin Hagler round 1
Best ever fight – Jose Luis Castillo and Diego Corrales
First fight you went to – Mayweather Cotto in Vegas. This is what I’m saying when everyone was off on holiday to Ibiza, I was in Vegas watching Mayweather. I’ve been to see him fight three times now.
First memory of boxing – Probably watching Tyson a lot in the 90s.
Craziest thing you’ve seen in boxing – It’s a cross between Tyson biting Holyfield’s ear off and Tyson Fury singing after winning the world title!
Funniest personal moment in boxing – There’s nothing funny about getting hit in the face! I remember I had damaged my nose back in March during sparring and normally I would wear an open face head guard, but I had to wear a borrowed head guard with a bar over the nose so I didn’t damage it again. It didn’t fit me too well and I was sparring a Light-Heavyweight who was two divisions above me. Everyone was laughing at me, Matthew included, because it was a big white things and it looked like a bicycle helmet. Rob Hough who I was sparring with hit me with an uppercut on the bar, and it knocked the head guard about fifteen yards across the room off my head. I don’t know if I looked better with it on or off though!
Best fight you’ve seen live – It’s got to be Mayweather-Cotto, the skill level on show there was unreal. It’s a tough one though because I’ve seen some great fights at the M.E.N, like Anthony Crolla against John Murray.