'Absolutely booming' professional boxing scene in Northampton going from strength to strength

Kieron Conway has declared that professional boxing ‘is absolutely booming’ in Northampton.

By Jeremy Casey
Friday, 15th October 2021, 12:02 pm
Kieron Conway and the Team Shoe-Box crew celebrate Kieron Conway's win over JJ Metcalf in Liverpool on Saturday night
Kieron Conway and the Team Shoe-Box crew celebrate Kieron Conway's win over JJ Metcalf in Liverpool on Saturday night

And it is a view shared by two other of the town’s up-and-coming stars, Eithan James and Carl Fail.

The 25-year-old Conway took centre stage on Saturday night as he claimed a win over JJ Metcalf in Matchroom Boxing’s big fight night in Liverpool.

Conway won the super-welterweight bout thanks to a unanimous points decision, and got his career heading back in the right direction following his defeat in the USA to France’s Souleymane Cissokho in May.

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Carl Fail celebrates his win at The Deco on Sunday with trainer John Daly (Picture: Charlie Gerrard. Instagram: @CBG_pictures)

And after the fight, The Team Shoe-Box fighter was asked what the win means for boxing in his home town.

Northampton is absolutely booming, there are some fighters coming out of the town,” said Conway.

“At Team Shoe-Box we have Eithan James who is coming up through the ranks and about to take some big fights, then there is (world champion) Chantelle Cameron and there are a few more.

“My brother Ryan is coming up as well and there is some good, good talent in Northampton. Real talent.”

Team Shoe-Box fighter Eithan James will be aiming to make it seven wins out of seven when he returns to the ring next month

Another of the town’s up and coming young pros is Carl Fail, and he has a dream of being part of a big all-Northampton boxing show at either Sixfields or Franklin’s Gardens.

Fail made it three wins out of three when he was one of four town boxers to take part in the professional show at The Deco in Northampton last Sunday, but he has his eyes on a bigger prize that that!

“I feel like boxing is growing and growing, with the support we are all getting and the fights that are going on,” said Fail, who is 24.

“Boxing is definitely booming in Northampton, and I always say one of my dreams is that I would like to sell out Sixfields Stadium, or the Saints’ ground.

Northampton's Chantelle Cameron defends her world title at the end of October

“That is something I aim to do down the line. The Deco show is obviously on a smaller scale but we are heading in the right direction.”

And Fail also believes that the competition between the town’s various gyms and camps is good for the competitive edge of all involved.

Team Shoe-Box has emerged as a real force in the past couple of years, and is home to to a posse of professional boxers, including Conway and James.

The town can also boast a world champion in Cameron, with Carl and his twin brother Ben fighting once more out of the Far Cotton gym having returned from being based in London.

Team Shoe-Box fighers (from left) Ryan Conway, Dempsey Madden and Ben Vaughan, pictured here with Kieron Conway, all claimed debut professional wins at The Deco last weekend

“It is good for boxing in Northampton,” said Carl when asked about the rivalry between the town’s various bases of boxing.

“There is always that little bit of rivalry, and who wants to be the best, which is natural and normal. I welcome that and enjoy it, because it is a bit of fun. But the fact is the more we can work together then the bigger boxing can be in Northampton.”

Team Shoe-Box’s 20-year-old professional James agrees with Fail that the rivalry among all the town boxers and different gyms is a good thing.

But he says there is plenty of respect there as well.

“It is a friendly rivalry there, because everybody wants to be better than everybody else, but that is what you expect,” said James, who will be aiming to stretch his 100 per cent winning record to seven out of seven when he fights in front of the BT Sports cameras in Birmingham on November 6.

“Boxing is a single person sport, so you can’t expect there not to be a rivalry when it is not a team sport.

Kieron Conway was too good for JJ Metcalf as he claimed a win in their big super welterweight showdown in Liverpool last Saturdaty night. The fight was beamed across the world on DAZN

“But we do all get on, everything is left in the gym and there is nothing bad, we are just competing against each other.”

And it is a scene that James believes is only going to grow.

“Boxing is getting bigger in Northampton, especially with more lads coming through and people are starting to follow it a lot more,” he said.

“Two or three years ago there wasn’t as big a following, but the more people that are doing well, the more people are getting behind them, whether that’s companies, sporting teams, and it is definitely growing. It will keep on getting bigger I think.

“We have got Ryan Conway, we have Kieron, we have Ben Vaughan, Dempsey Madden and there are a couple of lads from Bedford coming over and turning pro as well.

“We have the amateurs here who will come through in a couple of years as well.

"Then we have the Far Cotton lads, and I think there will be more.”