Boxing

From Inside to Outside

Bareknuckle boxing promoter Seamus Devlin is the Padiham phoenix that rose up from the ashes.

The 30-year-old’s back story is the kind of ‘rags to riches’ narrative that people just can’t help but read.
The two-time English UBBF champion had a completely different kind of fight on his hands having lost his way in the world during his 20s. It was a fight for survival.
Addicted to drugs, homeless and unemployed, there appeared to be little hope of salvation. At the end of his tether, struggling mentally and physically, Seamus planned a return to Portadown, Northern Ireland, where he had briefly lived during his teenage years.
“I won’t stop until I’ve achieved everything that I want to achieve,” he said. “I had no experience at all. I had a drug addiction in my 20s.
“I lost my house and my job and I was living in a shed. I was going to jump on a ferry back to Ireland, but things changed.”
Thankfully, fate intervened. After seeing an advert from Shaun Smith, renowned to be the nation’s scariest debt collector, Seamus had an epiphany.
It was that moment of striking realisation that saw Seamus clench his fists, shrug off the solitude and despair, and come to the decision to join the Muscle House Gym in Warrington to train.


Sleeping on floors and travelling around the country under the UBKB (Ultimate Bare Knuckle Boxing) umbrella, Seamus began his reawakening.
Speaking of his resurrection, which gathered pace with the help of close friend and one-time owner of Lacey’s Gym in Farnworth, Baz Neil, he said: “I only got in to boxing two years ago but I’m a very driven person.
“I was a massive fan of boxing, but I’d never stepped in to a ring or laced up any gloves. I couldn’t even throw a jab.
“I had no experience at all but Baz saw a lot of heart and ability. I fought current British champion Joseph Clarke in my first ever contest. I’ve come a long way since.
“I’ve fought with lions and swam with piranhas to get here. The guys at Muscle House and UBKB gave me my first shot. They got me started in this sport. I’ve got a lot of respect for them.”
All the blood, sweat and tears that he’s invested in to the fight game, and in turning his life around, has been more than worth it.
He’s found his purpose, he has a renewed appreciation of life, he’s found his home and now he’s the man at the forefront of Knuckles BKB. 
Stepping away from the blood and thunder inside the ring, Seamus has now jumped head first in to the promotional side of the sport and he’s looking to drive his project forward.
After running his first show at Colne Municipal Hall in the summer, he said: “It was sudden. It wasn’t a conscious effort to make the transition. Lacey’s Gym in Farnworth was sold on by Baz Neil, who ended up taking a backwards step.
“I had the bit between my teeth and he knew that I needed the sport. I found my feet. I learned the fabric and the structure of it from Baz, he was my mentor. 
“I’m looking to carry on his legacy and I gave him my word that I’d go forward with the ‘Knuckles’ name.
“It’s running smoothly and I’ve learned a lot from the first show. It’s stressful and you spend most of your time on the phone. 
“Doing this has always been in the back of my mind. I’m always looking for expansion and growth. I’d always envisaged it. 
“I always felt as though I could do it differently from other promoters. I felt I could eradicate everything I didn’t like about the sport.”
Seamus added: “I want to be a big team, travelling around the country and competing. I want fingers in a few pies. 
“I want my promotion to stretch all over and I want to collaborate with other promoters. I want to take this to the top and I want a team of lads travelling around the country every single week fighting.
“We want all fights to be 50/50, we’ll have all the proper medical precautions in place. We want a clean, drug-free sport. We want to be strict and stringent where the weight of competitors is concerned and make sure everything is above board. Safety is paramount.”

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