Neil McCubbin Vies For Commonwealth Gold On Fightzone
By Ian Aldous
This Friday night, live on Fightzone, a piece of boxing history commences when a 108-pound title, only competed for twice in the last 119 years, is on the line. Neil McCubbin (5-0) takes a step up in competition when he battles Matt Windle for the vacant Commonwealth light-flyweight championship.
The 22 year-old’s pugilistic journey began with around 45 amateur contests that included a Scottish title and the opportunity to represent his country in some international bouts. He turned pro at 18 feeling that his style is more suited to the pro game.
“Fast and powerful,” McCubbin says describing his style. “I’m more of a come-forward fighter; well I was in the amateurs anyway. I’ve just been trying to use my boxing skills and try to be that all-round fighter using different aspects of my game, using angles, boxing and counter-punching, being inside and just doing it all. I think people will be in for a treat.”
His opponent this Friday isn’t your archetypal boxer, Windle refers to himself as a ‘professional boxer by night & Poet Laureate by day’. The creative wits he possesses outside the ring won’t be able to help him against ‘Wee Cubby’ in Fightzone’s Friday night headline fight.
“I know a wee bit about him. We’ve been working on different things in the gym just to try and nail it on the night. Everything’s been good and working really well. I’m ready to go.”
“He’s not made light-fly since he turned over, so I know it’s going to be hard for him,” he added. “I definitely feel that I’ll have the advantage on the night.”
Having fought between 110-120 pounds in his five pro contests so far, this will also be McCubbin’s first fight at the 108-pound limit. However, having already seen a Commonwealth title shot at a different weight fall through, this was a chance he wasn’t willing to pass on.
“It’s the opportunity and the platform I’m getting to perform on,” the undefeated fighter from Ayrshire explained. “I know I can make the weight comfortably.”
That aforementioned cancelled title shot was due to take place just as the Covid-19 pandemic originally gripped UK shores in March 2020. McCubbin was set to face fellow unbeaten prospect, Kyle Yousaf for the Commonwealth title at flyweight.
“It was the weekend that the lockdown came into place, but the fight had actually been called off a couple of weeks prior to that,” McCubbin admitted. “I don’t know what happened; it was all on his side of things. That was a wee bit of a gutter, but from then I’ve grew as a fighter, in terms of how my style has developed and using the time to work on stuff.”
Being a young prospect in boxing is hard enough without the backing and riches of premium television networks, and the promoters working for them. Add to that a pandemic that ravaged sport across the entire planet across 2020 and 2021, and you have a recipe for disaster. Without any fight date on the horizon, McCubbin failed to lose motivation and continued learning his trade. All while working full-time away from the sport.
“I’m a spray painter, so I’m poor,” he says with a chuckle. “It’s all about being motivated and to keep pushing. With the pandemic and stuff like that, it’s been challenging. I have to keep working through it.
“I turned over at 18, so even with what’s happened in the past 15 months – I’m only 22, so I’m still so fresh.”
Guided by his manager Sam Kynoch, McCubbin is now ready to push on with his career, and it all starts with his maiden 12-round championship bout – a massive factor considering he’s only been six rounds once before.
“My fighting style is more suited to longer rounds. It’s going to be better for me in terms of how the fight goes. I’m looking forward to it.”
With a major title in reach and being the headline act on Friday’s Fightzone broadcast, it feels like the stars are aligning for Scotland’s next starlet. The open-air purpose-built setting outside Sheffield Arena should provide a cracking atmosphere and a more comfortable environment for a fighter used to fighting inside packed smaller venues.
“It’s obviously going to be better than being stuck in a hall with everybody and that body heat – at least I’ll actually be able to get a breath,” he concludes with a laugh
Dennis Hobson and Steve Crump’s Fight Academy present an evening of boxing at the Sheffield Arena Car Park, live on Fightzone on June 11.
Headlining will be Ayrshire’s Neil McCubbin and Birmingham’s Matt Windle contesting the Commonwealth Light Flyweight crown. Chief support sees Nottingham’s Derek Osaze versus Rowley Regis’ Tyler Denny in a middleweight contest.
Also appearing will be Barnsley’s James Rayworth; Harby’s Stanley Stannard; Manchester’s Sean Fennell,Wycombe King from Chester; and Dylan Norman making his debut.
For ticket information contact 0114 243 4443.