Jamie Arlain

The term ‘home fighter’ is often used in boxing, referring to the participant who is fighting under the promotional banner of the organisation putting on the show.  Geographically it may not always add up – home fighters don’t necessarily have the location advantage over their opponent.  However for Jamie Arlain (2-0-0) it’s almost certain that his fights in the near future are going to give him both the promotional and locational upper hand.  As a part of the Goodwin Promotions stable his fights for the foreseeable future will be taking place at York Hall in Bethnal Green which is a building that he is familiar with.  Monday to Friday Arlain makes the short journey from home around the corner to don the Hasselhoff trunks and take up his daytime job as lifeguard at the Leisure Centre. 
 
Being the home fighter in any bout can bring additional pressures.  Chances are that aside from the support that you have personally mustered up to follow you there will also be others that choose on the night to cheer you on.  With the added support comes the requirement to perform and make sure that the fans go home happy.  It is something that Arlain is happy to embrace though.  “Every fight is a home fight and I get loads of support down there!” he tells me.  “From the entrance music to the final bell I want to be a crowd pleaser so people would want to come and watch me box  again.”
 
For Arlain, 27, he may feel that he is catching up for lost time.  He had a long amateur career, taking on 44 fights for Newham’s Lion Club before turning professional at the age of 21.  Winning that fight on points, life then took over for the man from Bethnal Green as he tells me:  “I had a daughter and took some time out, working out if it was for me or if it wasn’t.  I found another trainer, Rod Julian, and had five unlicensed fights which got my love back for the sport.  I spoke with Rod and asked him if he would take me back to the pro’s and he agreed.  I won all five in the unlicensed scene so thought I would give it one last shot.  I wanted to do it before I got too old and looked back with regret.”
 
The five year hiatus was ended for the light welterweight back on May 16th of this year.  Making the walking distance journey from home Arlain got the opportunity to lace up the gloves once more in a professional ring as he took on Yorkshire’s Paul O’Brien (0-13-0).  “I got the win but I know I could have done better.  I was 67 kilos and I’ve never boxed at that weight before” he says looking back at the night, realising that the weight division may not have been his natural home.  67 kilos translates as 147lbs, which left Arlain fighting at welterweight for the first time.  However since then, a change in trainer and some fine-tuning of his body mechanics means that he has got his way back down to his more familiar fighting weight of 140lbs in the light welterweight division.  He explains the changes to me:
 
“I’ve changed trainer now to work with Terry Steward who works with Jimmy McClean and he’s got me down to 64 kilos which is the best shape of my life.  I’m feeling much healthier with it, the last time I was 64 kilos was back in 2010!  I didn’t believe I would make the weight but through different training and nutritional plans, plus Terry putting me through my paces, I feel great.”
 
The change in trainer has also lead to a change in the way that Arlain expects to perform in the ring.  His next fight is on 7th November against Northern Irishman Alec Bazza (0-11-1).  Although Bazza doesn’t hold the best professional record, he is a man that is familiar to attendees at York Hall as a boxer that comes to fight and that is something that Arlain expects to be able to use to his advantage come fight night.  “I’ve seen him fight before a couple of months ago, he looks game and likes to come forwards which gets me excited because Terry is changing me to come forwards too and be a pressure fighter” says Arlain, who sounds invigorated at the thought of being able to trade with the 27 year old from Belfast.  “Hopefully it’s going to be a war!  I’ve got my mind set on going straight out there and standing toe-to-toe with him.  My last style was more moving about and throwing single or double shots and although I won, it wasn’t really the result that I wanted.  I only won by one point so this time I want to go out there and set the pace and make sure I win by a margin, hopefully even get a stoppage.”
 
 
Jamie Arlain

As he tells me, the work that has been going on behind closed doors in the gym has been focussed on coming forwards and letting his hands go more often, making sure that his shots are thrown in bunches.  “I’m developing as an inside fighter” he says, confident that November 7th he will be able to show his fans a style that they may not be familiar with.

There will be another new experience for those fans making the short trip to support those fighters, as they will get to see the new setup that Goodwin Promotions unveiled in October for York Hall.  Glitzy screens, smoke machines, entrance videos and a new ring walk are just some of the changes that have been made to produce a new feel inside the Leisure Centre that Arlain is so familiar with.  Although he was unable to make it to the debut of the new setup he tells me that he has seen some of the footage online and already has his own plans for the night.  “I saw the videos of the October show and cannot wait for the ring walk!  I like a bit of 80’s music so you might see me come out to a bit of Neil Diamond to get the crowd going!” he laughs, clearly hoping for a night more Sweet Caroline than Song Sung Blue.

Although Arlain may feel that he has five years to make up for he is also realistic enough to realise that he needs time to ease himself back in to the professional sport.  Often fighters that come from the unlicensed scene struggle with the transition, so he realises that he needs to take his time to fulfil his aspirations.  Those dreams though involve titles and he has a close eye on 5th December when his two stablemates, Ryan Taylor and Ben Day, clash for the Southern Area title in his weight division.  “I boxed Ryan in the amateurs and he beat me by one point but I’m confident now I could do a job” says Arlain.  He is happy to wait his turn though, admitting any title tilts will likely have to wait for the back end of next year.

Still only 27 and without the wear and tear of some boxers his age Arlain knows that the opponents he faces now will only get tougher as he beds himself back into professional boxing.  Having made the leap of faith back into the sport and with a settled family life behind him, it’s sink or swim time for the man who is familiar with going in at the deep end.