Former European welterweight champion Matthew Hatton has every faith that Matty Mainwaring can make the transition from footballer to boxer ahead of the ex-Man Utd youth player making his pro debut.
Mainwaring recently hung up his boots on the back of playing spells with Hull City, Preston and Stockport County to follow his dream of becoming a professional prizefighter, having been taken under the wing of experienced Hatton over the past few months.
The 24 year-old is training with Hatton at his Metro Fitness Gym in Stockport in a bid to be ready to participate in his first four-rounder in the summer and has already been approved by the British Boxing Board of Control following a recent assessment, as Hatton explained.
“I met Matty around twelve months ago and started personal training him at my gym. I was shocked to learn that he had no boxing experience in the amateurs because he had a real talent and a good understanding of the game,” the two-time world title challenger told World Boxing News.
“Matty was still playing and being paid for his football so was limited to what I could do with him, but we started working more and he asked me if I thought he had a future in the sport.
“I told him that I thought he had what it took to turn pro, but understood football was his livelihood so I didn’t want to push him. Soon after though, he asked me if he could have a spar with some of the lads, a mixture of pros and amateurs – which I agreed to.
“I’ve seen it all before in lads that look a million dollars on the pads and the minute someone cracks them back they fall apart, but Matty really shocked me as he was handling much more experienced lads with ease. One thing led to another before he told me he wanted to drop the football and concentrate on his boxing, which he has now been doing for the last six months. Matty is impressing me more with each day that passes and we are almost there in terms of him making his debut.
“We have yet to complete his medicals, but have recently had an assessment from the BBBofC which he passed with flying colours, so with a bit of luck, I’m hoping for him to be in action around the summer time.”
There have been some notable names that have gone before Mainwaring as the likes of Curtis Woodhouse and Leon McKenzie, both of who played in the English Premier League, have enjoyed success since swapping their boots for gloves.
McKenzie is currently undefeated and recently picked up his first title, whilst Woodhouse has claimed English and British championship honours and has been widely regarded as one of the most exciting fighters in the UK during his time in the sport.
“Curtis Woodhouse has shown it can been done and has given Matty some nice advice and support since learning of him wanting to turn to boxing,” revealed Hatton. “Curtis is a hard worker as is Matty, so for him to change career paths and come out of his comfort zone in football to take up the hardest sport of all, I think his bravery is to be applauded.
“I will do everything in my power to make Matty’s career a success and I am looking for him to follow in his the footsteps of Curtis in the future,” he added.