Willie Limond expects to have his forty seventh and remaining battle this Friday on the identical invoice that his son, Jake, has his second, writes Elliot Worsell
OFTEN a baby will embark on a lot of their biggest adventures behind a dad or mum’s again, but hardly ever do they find yourself in a boxing health club pursuing the very factor their father hoped would ceaselessly stay off limits. Definitely, when former British and Commonwealth champion Willie Limond left for work at some point, he wouldn’t have anticipated to later return to find his sons, Jake and Drew, had discovered what he had for thus lengthy tried to cover from them.
“This isn’t what I needed for my boys,” stated Limond, that means, after all, boxing. “I by no means took them to the health club or put them on this path. That was their mum. I used to be away working in Fort William on the time and after I got here again I discovered the boys had been to the boxing for 2 weeks. I used to be like, ‘What the f**okay is occurring? This wasn’t the plan.’”
Regardless, as soon as each had been bitten by the boxing bug, that was it for the Limond boys. Now, with Jake 18 and Drew 16, and with each plotting what they hope will likely be profitable careers (Drew as an newbie, Jake as a professional), their father has needed to come to phrases with, and respects, their choice to comply with in his footsteps. “They’re fairly good at it, they reside the life, they usually’re devoted,” he stated, “so we’ll see how far they go.”
Given he was solely 5 or 6 on the time, Jake, Willie’s eldest, remembers little or no of the day he first went to the boxing health club. In contrast to his father, for whom this second was considerably seminal, Jake merely noticed the day as a day like every other. “The one factor I keep in mind,” he stated, “is sitting on a staircase and my dad getting back from work and my mum telling him, ‘I took the boys to the boxing.’ However that’s genuinely all I can keep in mind.”
He then added: “After I was actually younger, like 5 or 6, I didn’t know something about boxing, however I simply preferred watching folks battle. Then after I grew up a wee bit I turned a wierd wee boy. I ended liking sports activities and bought pure off form.
“Now I’ve bought an curiosity in it, and watch the odd battle, however I nonetheless attempt to not revolve my life round boxing. I don’t need all my persona traits to come back from the very fact I field. I really like Star Wars, Marvel, Pokémon, and Lego. I’m a pure nerd, man. My room’s coated in posters and me and my buddies accumulate comedian books and stuff like that.”
The world of make-believe and fantasy is after all a world much less daunting and harmful than that of boxing, which is little doubt one thing Jake’s father will likely be fast to remind him ought to a reminder ever be wanted. For now, although, Jake, at the moment 1-0 as a professional, seems to be within the sport for all the proper causes, having initially taken it critically for causes actually fairly admirable. “After I was a wee man, I used to be morbidly overweight,” he defined. “I used to be pure fats, I’m not going to lie, and I simply needed to shed some pounds and have an newbie battle. I had a number of exhibition bouts earlier than I turned fats, however needed a battle the place it mattered if I gained or misplaced to get me again in form. That was my plan. However I fairly preferred it and ended up carrying on from there.”
Having carried on and by no means stopped, Jake this 12 months kickstarted a professional profession along with his father’s personal profession as each the inspiration and template. The concept, in principle, is to presumably study from his father’s errors, whereas his father, the one to clarify these errors, should study when to each transfer shut and step again, a troublesome problem for any dad or mum, no matter their baby’s chosen career. “It’s horrible watching them,” Willie stated. “I can’t wait till it’s performed. I wish to see each boxers protected – my boy and his opponent. However it’s f**king horrible till that time. I’d fairly not watch it, even when it’s an gratifying battle. I’m simply ready for it to be performed. My coronary heart is racing. That’s simply the daddy in me.
“I’m an upfront particular person and communicate my thoughts. If for one second I assumed they didn’t have it in them to do that, I might say, ‘Look this isn’t for you.’ They’re sufficiently old to make their very own selections, however I might haven’t any concern telling them this isn’t for them. Because it goes, and I do know it’s early days, however they give the impression of being to be doing okay proper now.”
In distinction, every time Jake sees his father in a boxing ring, both competing or sparring, he describes the feeling as being no totally different than “watching a traditional man field”. Such is the disparate nature of their roles, that of father and son, Jake, the son, is ready to calm down in methods Willie, the daddy, can’t when watching a cherished one in a boxing ring. Furthermore, it’s possible the consolation Jake experiences when watching his father field stems from the data that his father, even at 43, can greater than deal with himself.
“I used to be by no means allowed to observe his fights rising up,” Jake stated. “He was combating near midnight numerous the time and my bedtime was seven o’clock. I’ve since been on YouTube, although, and watched a few of them, and I additionally went to observe a pair reside in direction of the tip of his profession, just like the Curtis Woodhouse one.”
Likely Willie has crammed within the essential gaps the place his boxing profession is anxious. Nevertheless, if too humble for that, let me be the one to remind all who want reminding that Willie Limond was a trendy, textbook boxer who gained Commonwealth titles as a light-weight and super-lightweight, in addition to a British title, at super-lightweight, on the third try. In a profession that began all the best way again in 1999, he boxed 46 occasions professionally and shared the ring with the likes of Érik Morales, Anthony Crolla, Alex Arthur and, maybe most famously, Amir Khan, whom he got here ever so near stopping in 2007.
“All people remembers me for that battle and typically it’s higher to be remembered for one thing than not remembered in any respect,” stated Willie. “It didn’t go my approach however these items occur. I don’t agree with the way it went, however, hey, it’s 15 years in the past now. He had his moments and I had mine. He took his and I by no means took mine. The man was getting lengthy counts and all kinds however Amir bought up and did what I didn’t do. He completed the battle [Limond retired on his stool after eight rounds]. I couldn’t try this. Honest play.”
As for his time with Morales, Limond could have once more come up brief versus world-class opposition however virtually nearly as good as victory was the expertise and bond he fashioned with the Mexican because of this. “It was sensible,” he recalled. “There have been 56,000 folks on the Plaza de Toros, the bullring. It was f**king unbelievable. The environment was surreal. I want I took my time to take it in. “I did properly within the battle. I used to be forward after 4 rounds however got here again after the fourth and my legs felt so heavy. It was the altitude. I couldn’t transfer or breathe. One of the best ways to explain it’s like being in a sauna with a sweatsuit on attempting to breathe by a straw. Érik then began approaching robust and that was that.
“However I will need to have performed okay as a result of I used to be Érik’s chief sparring associate for his battle in opposition to [Marcos] Maidana. We’ve additionally saved in contact through the years. In actual fact, it was just a few weeks in the past I used to be in Tijuana coaching with Érik and his coach.”
If the thought of Willie Limond and Érik Morales coaching in the identical health club in 2022 sounds in any respect unusual, it’s as a result of it’s, and Limond himself would be the first to agree. Certainly, whereas within the strategy of getting ready for what will likely be his forty seventh skilled battle this Friday (Might 13), the Scotsman has questioned each his capability to nonetheless do one thing that after got here so simply to him and, additionally, his sanity. “I used to be out working the opposite day and was three miles right into a seven-mile run after I thought to myself, What the f**okay am I doing this for? I referred to as my supervisor Iain Wilson and stated, ‘I believe I’m going to need to name this off.’ It was simply a kind of days the place I felt actually drained. However I’ve bought on with it and I’m trying ahead to it.”
Extra than simply his forty seventh professional battle, Limond’s bout in opposition to CJ Wooden in Renfrew is notable as a result of a battle in 2022 marks the fourth decade wherein Willie Limond has boxed professionally, and, extra importantly, as a result of it is going to happen on the identical night time, and invoice, as his son’s second professional battle. “I do know Lee Haskins fought on the identical present as his boy in Bristol, however I don’t assume it’s been performed in Scotland, so it will likely be good to be the primary guys to do this,” stated Willie. “We have been truly attempting to get the present as a pro-am present in order that my different boy, Drew, may additionally field on it. However we couldn’t get that sorted in time.”
In addition to their surname and career, delight is one other factor the Limonds share. It is available in many kinds, too.
“I’ve to placed on a greater efficiency than him,” stated Jake, who containers Michael Mooney on Friday’s present. “My dad is kind of good, although. That’s the onerous factor. I’ve watched him sparring some high amateurs and he’s doing properly.
“Whether or not he fights once more after that is his alternative. The folks combating for titles of their twenties are all coaching two or 3 times a day. My dad hasn’t bought the time to do this as a result of he’s working with the Scotland newbie squad. However I believe if he bought supplied sufficient cash, and it was a superb opponent, he would give it every thing for eight weeks and handle it. He’ll know whether or not he’s bought that in him anymore after this subsequent battle.”
By the sound of it, his father already is aware of.
“It’s greater than possible this would be the final one,” Willie conceded. “I final fought three years in the past and haven’t performed numerous coaching since. The final 12 weeks have been good for me. They’ve allowed me to get again in form. I’ve missed the coaching and I’ve missed coaching for one thing.
“If one thing good will get supplied to me after this battle, that might change my thoughts. However, proper now, that is my final battle.”
Whether it is to be his swansong, Limond, 41-5 (12), will at the very least exit having boxed on an evening to recollect. Higher but, because of his sons needing his help and steering, in addition to many different boxers in Scotland requiring the identical from him, he’ll, going ahead, have the required distractions to assist fill his days. This, for any retired fighter, is invaluable; extra necessary, maybe, than belts on a mantlepiece.
“I’ll battle,” he admitted, “as a result of I’ve at all times been about it. I’ve bought a job with Boxing Scotland and prepare 4 execs, together with my boy, however taking part and watching are two various things.
“I do know when it’s over I’ll be unhappy. However I additionally understand how previous I’m and realize it doesn’t get any higher. Something I haven’t achieved in boxing isn’t going to be achieved now, at 43. I’ve to be life like about that.
“I’ve had numerous onerous occasions as a professional. I used to work 12-hour shifts and nonetheless have to coach. My recommendation to my boys, and to any younger fighter, is that this: reside the life. You’ve bought to coach onerous and take care of your physique and thoughts. Boxing is a rollercoaster, each emotionally and bodily. It might f**king play along with your thoughts like nothing else. I do know the pitfalls. I fell down numerous them.”
And but, crucially, he saved going.