Boxing

Bitten by the bareknuckle boxing bug

Former UBBF Greater Manchester County champion Paddy Devlin has been well and truly bitten by the bareknuckle boxing bug.
The 29-year-old admittedly had no interest in the combative sport up until around 18 months ago when he witnessed old brother Seamus become a champion.


That moment simply planted the seed, he was almost lost in introspection, as if delivering a soliloquy, and the roots of his ambition have taken hold ever since.
“About two-and-a-half years ago my brother [Seamus Devlin] got in to it out of nowhere,” he recalled. “It’s his passion, we didn’t proclaim to be fighters. 
“He always loved boxing growing up. He had his first bareknuckle fight and the rest is history. He told me I’d want to do it, he said I’d get the bug. I couldn’t see myself doing it.
“After his third fight I told him that I wanted to give it a go, I wanted my 15 minutes of fame. I love it. It was just a hobby at first, but now it’s more like a way of life. 
“I had a misspent youth, full of bad habits, but with this I’ve never been healthier. It feels like a natural fit. 
“If I wasn’t training, I’d be sat in a pub somewhere. It makes sense to me, it gives me discipline and some structure to my life.”
The one-time St Augustine’s RC High School pupil is a prime example that brains and braun can go hand in hand.
The welterweight, who graduated from the University of Central Lancashire with a degree in Business Studies, overcame Curtis Harbord on debut and then saw off the challenge of stablemate Marley Tomlinson in his second showing at Colne Muni.
He said: “It’s unreal how many people it can save. There are lads with depression or anxiety, it means more to them. For others, if it wasn’t for boxing, they’d be in prison.
“If you apply yourself the benefits to your health and stamina is unreal. I’ve been doing it for about a year-and-a-half now.
“My first fight was in Bolton. It was a good fight. Me, Seamus and my other brother [Alex] all fought on the same card. 
“Seamus fought Ian Humphreys for a belt, I fought for a belt and Alex was defending his title. We did well, winning two out of the three. 
“I won [against Curtis Harbord] and Seamus won. Your first fight is a surreal experience, you just go through the motions. 
“Getting the win was an absolute rush. I was smiling all night. I relinquished my belt [UBBF County title] because I wasn’t going to fight again.
“My second fight was at Colne Muni against Marley [Tomlinson]. That was a bit strange because he’s a good friend of mine.”

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