THOMAS Young started boxing because he fancied trying something different.
The Middleton native, 24, only took up boxing at 17, but now – after four wins in four professional fights – he will be taking part in a new boxing format that is backed by stars like Ricky Hatton and Anthony Crolla.
Ultimate Boxxer will see eight unbeaten fighters, one of which will be Young, compete over four quarter-finals, two-semi-finals, and a final all in one night.
A possible three fights in one evening won’t be easy but, as Young says, it’s a lot better than working on the bins.
“It’s not been easy,” he says of his decision to go full-time in December 2016, leaving behind his job as a binman.
“But I prefer it to working because it’s something I want to do. With working it’s a struggle sometimes to be motivated, and it just wasn’t possible fitting training around my job.”
Young’s career path as a boxer has not been ordinary, taking up the sport relatively late and making the leap straight from being unlicensed to professional, with no amateur experience in between.
He does not even necessarily know why he took it up.
“I don’t know really,” he added. “I just thought I’d try it. I used to play football but I just wanted a different challenge.
“I stepped up to professional because I was beating good lads in unlicenced and just wanted to step things up to the next level. And, also, I thought if I can get paid for it as well it’s a bonus.”
An even bigger bonus came with the chance to fight at Leeds Arena on the undercard of Josh Warrington and Nicola Adams in May 2017.
“It was a bit nerve-wracking at first, to be honest,” Young admitted. “But when I got into it, it was fine.”
Young beat Northern Ireland boxer Alec Bazza on points, and the night confirmed for the hometown fighter that that was the level he was aiming for.
“I don’t want to be doing the little shows, I want to be doing those big events,” speaking of the Arena fight but also the Ultimate Boxxer event, which takes place in Manchester in April.
Though sponsorship is invaluable for Young – he credits Leeds-based Clipper Logistics and El Hefe with being able to afford to train full-time – the £2,000 that the fighters at Ultimate Boxxer are guaranteed is a lucrative sum compared to the usual fee of £800-£1,000.
“The rest of my pro’ career has just been learning, getting the rounds under my belt,” he explained. “The more experience you have, the better you’re going to become.”
The experience, and exposure, that Ultimate Boxxer will bring – it is a venture keenly aware of the power of social media – should open doors, but Young is just happy to have this opportunity.
After all, it is something different.