Commonwealth Games: Edinburgh tiling instructor Matthew McHale is boxing for Scotland at the Games in Birmingham

An Edinburgh man who works as a tiling instructor is leaving behind his day-job to box for Scotland at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

Matthew McHale, 26, spends his days helping people start new careers in tiling with Edinburgh-based Trades Training School. However, most of his spare time is taken up with another sort of training: boxing at Lochend Gym.

Now, the bantamweight boxer has left the tiles behind as he takes his place with Team Scotland at this year’s Commonwealth Games.

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A member of Boxing Scotland’s team, the 26-year-old’s boxing career has recently taken off, under the close watch of head coach Terry McCormack. He recently competed at the World Championships in October last year, and at the European Championships in May.

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He will box his first rounds at the Commonwealth Games on Tuesday, August 2, after months of preparation.

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Trades Training School owner Antony O’Neil also has a passion for boxing. The pair first met in 2016 at Lochend Gym, before Mr O’Neil went on to become one of Mr McHale’s local business sponsors.

In 2018, the boxer joined Trades Training School as a training assistant. Since then, he has become a qualified tiling instructor whilst continuing his boxing training with the full support of his work colleagues.

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Matthew at work with Trades Training School owner, Antony O’Neil.

Mr O’Neil said: “Recruiting Matty has been one of the best decisions I’ve made. Matty has managed to balance his boxing training with his teaching career and has excelled in both.

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"He's a respected instructor at the school, however, we'll all be delighted to see his boxing career take over.”

The team at Trades Training School, including the students, have been rooting for Matty over the last year as his boxing career has taken off.

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Staff and students stop everything to watch his matches live, and four members of staff are travelling to Birmingham to support him at the games.

Trades Training School staff watching Matty fight.
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Mr McHale said: “I'd like to give a massive thanks to Antony for everything he's done for me. I work with supportive people who want to see each other do well, and I take great pleasure in teaching and passing on the skills Antony taught me. It's really hard juggling my boxing with work, but this is made a hundred times easier with the supportive team around me.”