Former Manchester United youth footballer Matt Mainwaring is the latest to switch codes after the midfielder decided to hang up his boots in favour of lacing up the gloves.
The 24 year-old, who played for United, Preston, Hull City and Stockport County among others in a ten-year career, is currently in training for his professional debut under the guidance of ex-world title challenger and European champion Matthew Hatton.
Mainwaring has passed the British Boxing Board of Control inspection and gained his license to box, so it’s just a case of fine tuning in the gym with new mentor Hatton until the Salford man can finally look forward to a competitive contest.
“I have been full time with Matt since before Christmas and have loved every minute of it,” Mainwaring told World Boxing News.
“Matt has taught me so much about the sport and his one to one training is second to none. I trust him as a person and a trainer 100% and have every faith he will bring the best out of me. We aren’t too far away from my pro debut as I have recently been given the go ahead from the boxing board, so my debut should be in the next couple of months and I can’t tell you how excited I am.”
Asked how the partnership with Hatton came about, Mainwaring added: “I met Matt through a mutual friend last summer and he agreed to take my on the pads and have a look at me. After a session on the pads, he told me I had a lot of natural talent and invited me in to train with the pro’s. I was still a full time pro footballer at the time but took up the offer to train with Matthew when I could ( which was once or twice a week) as boxing has always been the love of my life since being little.
“After a short while, and even though I have no amateur experience, Matt said he would like to see how I am in the ring and set up a few sparring sessions. They went really well, so he put the idea of taking me on full time out there. After a chat with my family and football manager, I then decided to retire from football immediately and chase my real dream on being a professional boxer.”
Following in the footsteps of the likes of one-time British champion Curtis Woodhouse and the currently undefeated Leon McKenzie, Mainwaring will hope to hit the ground running and is ready to do whatever it takes to enjoy similar success in the sport that has always been in his heart.
“Before deciding to put everything into boxing, Curtis Woodhouse gave me some advice via Twitter,” he explained. “Curtis told me to spar with the best lads out there and not to get downhearted when it doesn’t go well. ‘It’s all part and parcel,’ he said – which I thought was really good of him because he’s been there and done it having been really successful both on the pitch and in the ring.
“I know boxing is a tough sport, probably the toughest out there, but I have every faith that my mental strength and dedication, coupled with matt’s experience, knowledge and dedication as a trainer, will see us succeed and I believe the sky is the limit for us going forward,” concluded Mainwaring.