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GUEST ARTICLE: FIGHTER TO FIREFIGHTER

By Kieran Breen

For a fighter, life after boxing can take many twists and turns. Some will often open their own gym and train the next generation of boxers, looking for that top prospect or future world champion. Others may try their hand at promoting their own shows. (Although it is very rare that a high calibre fighter becomes a contender for hall of fame promotor). However, some fighters find themselves earning a living in a totally different field after boxing.

Tony Dodson, the former British super-middleweight champion has now embarked on a new challenge with Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service after recently passing all stages of the recruitment process.

The pugilist turned firefighter enjoyed a very respectable career, notching up 32 professional wins with 15 of those wins finishing early.

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(Above: Trading leather with fellow Scouser, Paul Smith Jr)

Dodson explained that unless you’re a pay-per-view star such as Mayweather or Canelo, you will more than likely have to find another source of income after boxing.

“The money I earned from boxing I invested in various places and I will be able to enjoy that later on in life. But in terms of having loads of money in the bank, no, I have to go to work.

“I’ve seen what Merseyside Fire Service does for local communities and I just fell in love with it. I just knew that I would love the routine.”

“The Warrior” admits that he got nervous before fighting and he expects similar nerves to arise should he have to enter a dangerous situation in his new role.

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“Luckily, I haven’t yet been involved in anything too dangerous but I know for a fact it will be nerve-racking. But I know that I’ve been trained extremely well for it and the pressures that I dealt with in boxing will definitely help.”

The 38-year-old reminded us of how he (like every other fighter) used to put his body through its paces with vigorous training regimes and extreme weight cutting – having to shed excessive amounts of weight in the build-up to a weigh-in.

However, the former IBO International champion explained that the fitness tests that he had to pass with the fire service were no walk in the park.

“The fitness tests were definitely gruelling. As a boxer, I used to easily run for miles but I can’t sprint. We had to do the bleep test and it was a killer!”

Many fighters are inspired by the Rocky franchise and Dodson was no different. This led to him boxing from a very early age and he has now come to terms with the fact that boxing is a sport for the younger man.

“I remember going to see Rocky 4 in the Woolton Picture House. I was just fascinated by it and then I started to box at the age of 6. Boxing is a very short career and I was lucky enough to box for two decades.

“My lad, Anthony, fights for Gemini boxing club now and it does my head in! I tell him every day that he doesn’t have to fight.

“But at the same time, he’s a good kid. He doesn’t drink or smoke and he’s disciplined. That’s all down to boxing.”

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