My mums father was a wirey man who lived up in the North East of England in a place called Middlesbrough. Middlesbroughwas, along with a lot of the towns on the north east coast, a real ship building town where all the local men worked on the docks or in the ship building yards. Even though as a young man, my grand dad did not know any other life, you had to be a hard man to work those jobs. Everyone there was on the breadline and they knew what hard work was. My mums dad did a lot of different jobs in those ship yards but he also loved to be a jack the lad. His mother tried to stop him from getting into trouble by getting him to join a boxing club – a place for him to channel his mind and aggression and from that day a member of our family has always been involved in boxing in some way or another.
His son, my uncle, was a local amateur champion in Newcastle and he was always keen to get me involved as he had no boys off his own and I was my mothers oldest boy. The difference was that I was not bought up in the school of hard knocks and I had never had to work in the rough and ready factories of the north east. In fact, I was an office boy from a nice little town in the Midlands but I still wanted to box! I didn’t have much time for the gym but I did manage to get myself one bit of kit that really helped and my uncle loved to use it to when he came to visit. That bit of kit was a Wavemaster freestanding training bag and it had pride of place in my spare bedroom. Unlike a normal training bag used in a gym that was secured from an overhead beam, the Wavemaster had a chunky base that you could fill with water and it would spring back at you – perfect for smaller enclosed areas that didn’t have big heavy beams!
Looking back, my uncle and I both owe this passion of ours to his father, my grand dad. Without that young North Eastern ship building man, our love of boxing would never have got off the ground!