The bond between Celtic super lightweight champion Jason Easton and trainer Kenny McCartney appears unbreakable.
A partnership that began ten years ago, the duo have also become the best of friends even when they’re not confined to the four walls of Craigmillar Boxing Club.
Their commitment to one another was again rewarded at Meadowbank on Friday night as Easton dished out a boxing lesson to stop the very able Zoltan Szabo in the second round to register his ninth consecutive victory as a paid fighter.
But it’s not just their mutual affection for the sport that brought the pair together in 2007, as Easton recalls.
“He’s just always been there for me in general,” the 25-year-old said. “When I first started boxing I was 15 and Kenny kind of took me under his wing really. Having left school I was looking for work and Kenny ended up getting me a job and my roofing apprenticeship so he kept me on the right track. Growing up in Craigmillar, a lot of my mates loved going out at the weekend drinking, taking drugs or whatever but Kenny kept me away from it and told me to focus on my boxing. He was always there to offer me advice too which I think has really helped. I couldn’t imagine being where I am today without him to be honest and he’s the one guy who I will always have in my corner no matter what. He’s like a big brother to me as well as a best mate.
“Kenny hides his emotions well but you can see at the end of the fight how happy he is that I’ve won. He gets more nervous than I do to be honest. He’s got plenty of faith in me as he’s stuck with me from day one. I’m 100 per cent loyal to him as well as he’s brought me up from a novice to a pro.”
Easton admits he is still on cloud nine following his latest victory, a contest he says was a risk at this stage of his career. Nevertheless, the Capital boxer believes he has shown his intent in following Commonwealth super lightweight champion Josh Taylor right to the top.
“I think that win and the manner of it will have surprised a few people,” Easton said. “It has taken some of the top guys in this country a lot longer to stop him and even then he’s won 15 fights already and is still just 22. He’s a very good fighter.
“He was telling me to come in and fight but the first round was very close – he might have even nicked it. He caught me a few times but I get better as my fights go on I feel. I knew it was a risk taking on the fight but I believe in my own ability. I think my performance will have caught a few people’s eyes and that’s what I want. I want to fight for bigger titles.”