Steve Wood explains decision to pit two debutants against each other in Liverpool on March 10

Ringside 02/02/2018

“It’s mad to think that someone’s 0 has to go in their first fight,” explained promoter Steve Wood ahead of his forthcoming show at Liverpool’s BT Convention Centre on March 10.

The VIP Promotions chief has taken the unusual step of matching two debutants – Gary Austin and Mike Gerrard – on the card, in what should be an exciting dust-up. With both hailing from Liverpool, local pride is at stake, and with a scheduled fight between the pair aborted a while back, they will both be giving it everything not to end up in the losing corner on fight night.

“I actually think it is great that these two lads are prepared to do this but it is not something I would normally have asked,” said Steve, who manages upcoming world title challengers Terry Flanagan and Josh Warrington. “Apparently, they should have boxed before in a white-collar bout, but it didn’t happen. John Smith, the trainer of Gary, phoned and asked if the match could be made and even though I thought it was a mad idea, I asked Mike and he said ‘yes’ straight away.

“Normally I put debutants on early on during the night, but with this being a local derby it will be up the card now and I think it could be fight of the night. Whoever sells the most tickets will be in the home corner, and whoever loses will be brought back, so there’s nothing to lose, and local bragging rights to win. I really hope this shows other boxers the way forward, as everybody wants good fights. Some 10-fight prospects wouldn’t do this; as I said, I think it’s both crazy and great!”

“I’m not bothered; my motto is I’ll fight anyone, anywhere and anytime,” said Gary, 29, who has given up work as a painter and decorator to concentrate on his pro boxing career. “I was supposed to have that white-collar fight with him, but I hurt my ankle and couldn’t do it. He likes to brawl though; he likes to come on top. So, it should be a good clash because we’re similar fighters.

“Personally, I’m a natural fighter, and good at adapting to what’s in front of me. I’ve got good head movement, and I hit hard,” continued the 29-year-old, former Northwest Junior Champion. “I can’t wait for the fight, and I want to go as far as I can in the sport. I want a belt at the end of my career. In my head, I believe I can get the area and British titles down the line, but I want the world title.”

“He’s just a body, isn’t he?” answered Mike, 33, about facing another debutant in his first pro contest. “At the end of the day, if it weren’t for him, I wouldn’t be fighting, would I? I suppose I could have got a journeyman, but a body’s a body, isn’t it?

“I can switch hit. I’m unorthodox, but with a nice style,” continued the former ABA Senior Finalist, who faced the likes of Derry Matthews and Carl Frampton in the unpaid code. “I can mix it all up; I can stand and have a scrap if someone’s out boxing me, but if I’ve got someone’s number I’ll take my time and work the power punches. I’m not sure what to expect from him, it’s all on the day. It’s going to be exciting though, and I can’t wait to get in there.”

VIP Promotions present an evening of boxing at Liverpool’s BT Convention Centre on March 10. Topping the bill will be Liverpool’s Tom Farrell, with an undercard of local fighters including Luke Willis; Lloyd Campbell; Nathan Bennett; Marcel Braithwaite; Nathan Quarless; Mike Gerrard, and Gary Austin. Also appearing will be Warrington’s Mike McKay, and Lee Quinn from Wales.

Tickets £40 (ringside tickets are now sold out) and are available directly from the boxers, or call 01942 874 241.

The show will be streamed live and free on vipboxing.tv