Jimmy McClean

Sense of responsibility, alertness, work independently, maintenance skills, physical stamina, stress management.  Google the key skills of a lorry driver and each of those six attributes come up in the results.  Unarguably each of those overlaps with the skillset of a quality boxer.  The responsibility to make weight and train hard.  Alertness in the ring, ensuring that your attention is peaked for the three minute rounds.  Work independently, because as much as a trainer or coach is there in the gym there are many hours spent alone on the roads.  Physical stamina, which is a given for any prize fighter who wants to reach the top.  Stress management, because when it comes down to it there are hundreds if not thousands of people watching you in that ring on fight night and you need to be able to keep yourself calm.
 
For Jimmy McClean it’s a good job that the two professions overlap so well as he is trucker by day, professional boxer by night.  One fight into his professional career and the young man who now resides in Essex is balancing his time between the demands of life on the road and a career in the ring.  In time he will be hoping that the fighting pays off and he can focus his time fully on the boxing, but for now his focus is on fight number two against Liam Griffiths (3-58-1).  “I started training camp in October, I’ve given myself 6 weeks to get down to the weight” says McClean.  “I walk around 11 and a half stone so I don’t go mad between fights.  Whoever they put in front of me I’ll fight, that’s the way I always have been and always will be.”
 
That debut came back in October of 2014 and in his time out of the ring the light middleweight has changed promoter to Goodwin Promotions based out of Leighton Buzzard, who run their shows out of York Hall in London.  “I thought working with Steve (Goodwin) would be a better way to move my career on.  Steve is really up and coming on the promoter scene so it’s a good time” McClean says with an enthusiasm for what the future holds.  Having only this month shown off their new setup at York Hall, his first fight under the new promotional banner will see McClean given an exciting platform to perform on.  Hs fight with Griffiths will come on the November 7th Out and A Bout card which features some of his stablemates such as AJ Carter and David Abraham.
 
This fight will give McClean a chance to build on the experience he gained in his first fight a year ago, which he reflects on with me.  “That fight was against Edgar Sniedze” says McClean.  “He was a tough Latvian and was very tall and long.  I struggled a bit with him but I did put him down in the fourth round.  He got up and then the round was over but it was a tough debut.”  That fight took place at The Ring venue in Southwark.  It wasn’t the first experience in boxing for McClean though who talked me through how he became involved in boxing from a young age:
 
“I started when I was 12 because I was an overweight kid.  I didn’t have a fight until I was 15 and the gyms I was in had a lot of professionals.  This was down in Walthamstow where I was born and bred, I moved to Essex in my late teens.  I had a about 7 or 8 amateurs and then five or six unlicensed fights and now I’ve moved into the pro’s which I feel my style has always been set for.”
The 23 year old is hoping that his all action style in the ring will be beneficial to him now that he has turned over professional.  As he says himself, his attritional come forward style never worked in his favour in the non paid ranks.  “The amateurs were always a bit ‘tip-tap’ whereas I wanted to rough people up and use the angles!  I’ve always been a big body puncher.  The amateurs was a bit too much like fencing, it wasn’t really my game.  My defence is pretty good too, I have decent head movement and my reflexes are alright but like anyone I try not to take too many!” laughs McClean, pointing out that his trainer Terry Steward utilised his martial arts background to employ elements of finesse to his technique.
 
Jimmy McClean
When asked about who his idols in the fight game have been, he is quick to pick out Tommy Morrison and Ricky Hatton as two that have inspired him.  Hatton was fames for his work rate, front foot fighting style and array of body attacks that could fluster opponents.  Morrison was more heavy handed, demolishing large numbers of the 1990’s heavyweight scene and amassing 42 knockout victories on his way to winning the WBO title.  “I idolise fighters that are heavy punchers at all weights, not just heavyweights.  I’m a front foot fighter, that’s down to my size and stature and love getting in to the body” says McClean, invoking memories of his idol Hatton ripping in hooks to his opponents torso.

McClean is clear that he wants to take his time in learning his trade in the sport before considering too far ahead.  “I want to fight for titles.  I have said to Steve though that as I haven’t had that much experience beforehand and I’m young I don’t want to be someone who has ten fights and goes for a British title.  I really want to learn the craft and learn the game getting as many fights as I can progressing steadily.  I’m not in a rush.”  It is refreshing to hear a fighter that wants to ensure that the foundations of their career are in place before the ceiling is set. 
Although there may not be a rush, it is clear that McClean’s enthusiasm to step between the ropes is huge.  “My motivation is just the love of the sport” he tells me.  “I’d fight every week if I could, but it will hopefully be about every six to eight weeks.  I appreciate those people that come and but tickets but you can’t expect them to do it every month.”

Many boxers refer to their ‘road work’ as the hours spent pounding the streets to get in shape for fights, for McClean it has dual meaning for his two professions.  His enthusiasm and passion though are clearly for the fight game.  In a weight division that lacks established star names in the UK McClean is keen to ensure that he takes a sensible route through professional boxing.  Under his new promotional setup and the youthful enthusiasm the man now based in Essex will hope that his dreams of progressing through the ranks end up in a smooth journey.
Jimmy wanted to thank his sponsors UK Packaging who he drives for.