FORMER professional Phill Day will realise a dream on Saturday night when he headlines a boxing show in his home town.
Boxing in Swindon eluded Day during his 19-fight professional career but, over a decade after retiring from the pro circuit, he is relishing his return to the ring when he headlines Neilson Promotions’ latest whitecollar show.
Fighting at Swindon’s Oasis Leisure Centre is a dream come true for Day, who fought world champions David Haye and Carl Thompson during his professional career.
Day’s return to the ring and debut as a whitecollar boxer sees him take on unbeaten Swindon boxer ‘Sugar’ Shawn Grant for the vacant Neilson Promotions cruiserweight title.
“I cannot wait,” said Day. “The show has sold a lot of tickets and it is going to be great. My professional career took me Bristol and Reading but never Swindon.
“I’ve never been out of the gym to be honest in the 10 years since I quit professional boxing.
“My professional career ended when I lost to David Haye and Carl Thompson who both went on to become world champions.
“Losing to them made me think about whether I should carry on for another five years during the time when I was still employable outside the ring.
“I don’t regret my decision at all because I have gone on to have a very sucessful career as in IT in architecture.”
Day is wary of his undefeated opponent but remains confident of victory on Saturday night, adding: “I have a lot of respect for Shawn. I have trained and sparred with him and he is very ambitious. He is unbeaten so it is going to be tough but I genuinely believe I am up to it.”
Promoter Mark Neilson is expecting a record crowd to fill the Oasis Leisure Centre on Saturday night, saying: “This has to be one of biggest fights Swindon has seen for years, social media has been going mad and the phones haven’t stopped for ticket enquiries.
“Our shows have been getting busier and busier but this seems to have topped the lot, it’s going to be a great night that’s for sure.”
On the undercard to Day-Grant is 13 other fights with Neilson Promotions’ super-middleweight title also on the line as champion Paul Payne takes on Newton Abott’s whitecollar veteran Jase James.
James previously lost on points to Shawn Grant and is a tough fighter who loves to come forward.
Defeat is not an option for Payne as he looks to carry momentum into his next fight against Craig Leadbeater in July.
Phil Williams is also in action, defending his Neilson Promotions heavyweight title against Niall Howard, who trains at the renowned Dragonslair Gym in Melksham and defeated Stewart Johnson in an eliminator for this bout.
Luke Hambidge is sure to have a big Swindon following behind him when he takes on Bristol’s Roydell Thomas while Gav Towler-Wilson meets Shabbz Margai Rich Loveday resumes hostilities with James Anderson after the pair lost their tempers during the arranged face-off and another eagerly-anticipated fight is Troy Paul’s bout against Kane Sherwood.
Other fights on the night are: Luke Boswell v Jonnie Stokes, Carl Woodhams v Luke Robinson, Gary Venton v Kieron Jennings, Antony Cadder v Gareth Dimino, Jamie Ashby v Dave Sanders, Alex Jordan v Faz Farrell, Faz Farrell v Alex Jordan, Ant Green v George Easdon.
For ticket information call 01793 833 468 or visit ww.neilsonpromotions.co.uk/tickets.