Interview With Martin Harkin After Fight Cancellation
By Allen Payne
Imagine carrying out the majority of your hard tasks at work, only to find out you wouldn’t be getting paid to complete it. This is a harsh reality that a lot of boxers face on a regular basis. The latest being local boxer, Martin Harkin.
The stage was set, he was due to fly to Belfast this week to face off against top prospect Lewis Crocker for a chance to win the Celtic Welterweight Title. However, despite putting in weeks of training, planning and preparation for this big opportunity, he received the unwelcome news of the fight being cancelled; due to an injury to his opponent.
“I received the phone call off my manager while I was at work, he told me the bad news – that my opponent (Lewis Crocker) had injured his arm sparring. Obviously, it was sheer disappointment at the time. With it being so close to the fight, I’m all trained up and ready to go, just at the tapering off stage. My manager spoke to his team and they said they would have went ahead with the fight if it was just a journeyman but they weren’t gonna risk it against me, when they know I’m coming to win!”
Unfortunately, in these cases it isn’t just the fighters affected as Martin shared his apologies to his friends and family.
“I’m really gutted because I had quite a lot of people booked up to go over for it, family and friends coming out to support me and they won’t get the money back”
My interview with Martin was a few days on from the cancellation and he had managed to come to terms with the news. I’m sure there would have been a few conversations with his dad, Robert Harkin (also a former boxer) to help him accept it.
“Really you’ve got to just accept it, there’s nothing I can do, I know it’s all part of the sport. It actually happened to my dad, he was to fight for the British Title in Croydon. My dad travelled down and the fight ended up getting called off on the day of the fight!”
Last minute cancellations and the effects it has on boxers, has been a hot topic on social media this week as fellow Scottish Boxer Ronnie Clark, decided to put his European title belt up for sale on eBay as quick solution for Christmas present money after yet another last-minute cancellation to one of his fights. The general public don’t realise everything that goes into it, I asked Martin share his thoughts on it all.
“A lot of people just don’t realise the expenses that go into it all; training camps, getting people round to spar, travelling, taking time off work to prepare… I’m lucky, I don’t look at boxing as my main job, I’ve got a full-time job. Regardless of what you’ve spent or done, if you don’t fight, you don’t get paid. That’s I’ve never relied on it as my main income as I know how often these things can happen. You could easily end up getting caught out”
And that’s only taking into account the financial side of it, the time and dedication spent with no end reward can be so demoralising.
“I train 6 days a week, with one days rest. I do all my runs (around 4 miles) at 6.15am, home for a quick shower before heading to work. Work all day, then drive from Dumbarton to Greenock for boxing specific training. On a Tuesday night and Saturday morning I also do a strength session in Paisley. Regularly, I can also end up having to travel to other gyms in Glasgow for sparring. Most nights I’m not in until about 9pm, by time I get my dinner and pack my bag for the next day it’s time for bed! All this while having a young family, who I’m not really getting to spend time with. That’s when things like cancellations are really tough, when you’ve put all that work in and get nothing at the end!”
Martins fight that was cancelled was for the Celtic title against a top Northern Irish prospect, on a stacked card which was to be televised from the no doubt packed arena in Belfast. I was interested to hear how Martin felt about that opportunity passing by.
“I would have loved the fight to happen, he’s highly rated in Belfast and I’m confident I would have beaten him. It’s a shame, he’s a come forward fighter and think a fight between us could have made for fireworks in the ring. It was a great opportunity for me to prove myself on a big show and catapult me on to bigger things… but if that fight can’t happen now it doesn’t matter, as long as I get my shot at the title, I’ll fight whoever. It would be a big deal for me to win the Celtic Title, it automatically puts me in top ten in Britain and it could get me a shot at the Lonsdale (British) belt.”
Thankfully, it seems although that precise opportunity may have passed, the shot at the belt hasn’t.
“It’s not all doom and gloom, we plan on rescheduling it with Lewis for January, they (Lewis’ team) claim he’ll come over to Glasgow to fight if need be but I can’t see it, he had the fight there on his own show and I doubt he’ll give that up but if I need to go over there I will – if he feels he needs that home advantage he can have it! I’m not scared!… But even if that doesn’t happen the British boxing board have said either way as it’s vacant, I’m next in line to get a shot at the Celtic Title. So if he’s not ready, they’ll get me somebody else.”
So what do the next few weeks bring for Martin?
“Hopefully we’ll have more news on what’s happening with the Crocker fight but either way I’m just going to stay focused and keep training as I know a big opportunity could just be a phone call away, there’s still some big cards this year – if a good fight that was right for me came up, I would happily step in! But I’ll 100% be out in January. Hopefully it’s for the Celtic Title but if that takes a bit more time to sort out, I’ll take a 6 or 8 rounder to keep me ticking over and I will be ready when it comes!”
For all the latest information on Martin Harkin’s next fight, make sure you follow him on his social media:
Facebook – Martin Harkin
Twitter and Instagram – mharkin92