Thain has battled inner demons to set up biggest career test

Edinburgh welterweight John Thain says he has the fire in his belly again after revealing he allowed his frustrations to get the better of him following back-to-back defeats in 2014.

Thursday, 29th September 2016, 5:30 am
Updated Tuesday, 4th October 2016, 1:06 pm
John Thain, above, will face Nathan Brough in a British title eliminator in Glasgow on Saturday

Having come through 11 professional bouts relatively unscathed, the 28-year-old suffered the first blemish of his career at Liverpool’s Echo Arena, losing to Ronnie Heffron. He was then defeated by Kris Carslaw in a light middleweight British title eliminator just six months later.

But despite having to overcome some inner demons, the MGM fighter has responded well having prevailed in his past four bouts.

Thain now faces arguably the biggest test of his career on Saturday night in another British title eliminator, this time against the impressive Liverpudlian Nathan Brough (13-1) at Bellahouston Sports Centre in Glasgow.

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“This is my biggest for a couple of years. I feel excited for it and I’m going to make the most of it,” Thain said of his fight that will also be broadcast live on BoxNation.

“I’ve been trying to rebuild my career and it’s time to make a comeback on the bigger stage. When I start talking about boxing I try not to sound like some sort of guru or life coach but it is a journey. I just try to enjoy the whole experience and I’m definitely enjoying the sport a lot more than I have done these last few years. I want to show on Saturday I’ve got that passion back.

“When you lost I think I allowed everyone to tell me how I should be feeling when really no one has the right to because the feelings belong to you.”

Thain continued: “I’ve been more open with my coach Terry (McCormack). To call him a great coach, it doesn’t do him justice. He does more than coach as a lot of people don’t see the other things he does for his boxers. He’s really been there for me and everything is just much better.

“You have to face good opposition if you want to get to the top. I’ve always wanted to be a champion and victory on Saturday would move me that wee bit closer. I want to have that belt around my waist.”

Crusierweight boxer Stephen Simmons tops the bill this weekend having not fought since January’s victory over Lithuanian Remigijus Ziausys.

Simmons was left distraught when his WBC Inter-Continental title showdown with Oleksandr Usyk in Kiev in March was called off due to the Ukrainian sustaining a knee injury in preparation for the fight.

“That was gutting that one being called off but we tried to get a fight in the summer which didn’t come off,” explained the 32-year-old who faces German Lars Buchholz on Saturday night. “I decided to just get some hard sparring in.

“It’s about time I’m back on TV as it’s been over a year since I was last on. I’ve trained for 12 rounds but it’s likely to be ten. There’s no vacant titles at the moment but hopefully I’ll have a shot at one in December. I just need to focus on one fight at a time.

“I’m getting older, more mature, more wiser so I’m much more focused.”

Meanwhile, Lewis Benson will contest his seventh pro-fight since switching to the paid ranks with MGM last summer.

The 24-year-old was set to face Dublin’s Dean Byrne however the Irishman has since announced his retirement from the sport with Poland’s Lukasz Janik now stepping in.

Benson, however, says he is happy to finally be afforded some much-needed TV exposure.

“I’m really looking forward to it and it’s the platform I should be fighting on,” the light welterweight said. “I’ve said before about how all the English fighters get the exposure so it’s great a televised show is coming back to Scotland. It’s not happened for a long time and doesn’t happen that often when it does.

“I think they can now see that there is a lot of talent coming out of Scotland. That’s three televised shows in a matter of weeks starting with Saturday, there’s the Ricky Burns bill (October 7) and then Josh Taylor (October 21).”