Craig McIntyre strides into the café like someone on a mission. As someone recently on Channel Five you would think that his swarthy good looks would have brought him a wealth of admirers, likely to delay his passage to our table. Given that he is recently single you might also be sure someone would think they were in with a shout. As it is, he makes the table without interruption.
Decidedly loyal to those who have helped him we are, again meeting in the sponsors, Bocadillo’s, who along with JNG Ltd, have given him the opportunity to make his first love, boxing, his full-time job.
But MacIntyre’s easy going swagger with his air of calm optimism suggests that once again I am going to get the inside track of where he is right now, tinged with the quiet authority of someone who knows where he wants to be; and pretty darn quickly.
His last fight, was a points win against William Warburton. It was a fight that mirrored his first professional outing – when he also beat Warburton on points. Prior to that he had been in the ring at very short notice – “I wasn’t really training at the time I got the offer.” The opportunity to fight Miguel Aguilar was made and MacIntyre accepted it – it was to be shown live on Channel Five. MacIntyre came through both with his unblemished and unbeaten record intact.
He has another outing this weekend – “December 11th on the Lock Stock bill. I have no idea as yet who I shall be facing but am hoping it will push me again in the right direction.” Having seen MacIntyre’s debut and then his second fight – which went so quickly he could have been mistaken for being stablemate Kieran Smith’s ring work – the third and fourth fights were not of his best.
“I know that in my third fight I was operating at only about a 1/3rd of what I was capable of. In that last fight, I probably hit about 50%.” That’s not to say that facing the ever ready Warburton was a picnic. “He came to fight. It was different from the last time and I knew that he had recently won a couple of fights and you know that guys like that sometimes need a win to keep the Board off their backs. When he came out I knew it was going to be a very different fight – Willie saw it too and warned me. Fortunately but it was something I could cope with and got the win.”
Considering the disappointment in not having a specific Lock Stock bill of late it was heartening to hear Craig continue talk warmly about his backroom support team. Manager Willie Limond is also soon to be back in the ring. “Willie just knows everybody. And the thing is, he will work with anyone to get us fights. I know that me being on the last two bills means that someone will owe someone a favour as we fill the bill or the promoter gets Willie’s fighters a shot so something shall come good at the end of it.”
As to what will come in 2017, MacIntyre is clear. A title and a walkabout. Unsurprisingly MacIntyre feels ready for whatever is coming his way but he would like to get noticed – titles do that. The walkabout is best described by MacIntyre himself as “a gym journeyman.” Craig explained further, “I want to go out and tour some of the gyms in England. Obviously, the contacts that Willie has is unbelievable and I would like to use them to go and spend a week here and there. I want to go to gyms all over the place so that I can learn from the best that is out there.” A scholar of the sport, when practising it, is always best and MacIntyre knows how this would help him. “I may not have lots of rounds under my belt or fights that I have been in with but the idea of going round and sparring with some of the best fighters around is a massive attraction.”
With his next contest on Sunday coming – the 11th – he is then looking forward to a 2017 that capitalises on the appearance he made on the Channel 5 bill as well as an increasing reputation which can be as much of a hindrance than a help. People look to avoid him in case he really does damage their performer whilst the idea of him climbing the ranks is something he is not resting on his laurels about, waiting on the phone to ring. If, thanks to sponsors like Bocadillo’s, who again today provided the coffee, MacIntyre is able to get out there and do some more training, they shall benefit from their name up on the TV once again. MacIntyre, like many, is always quite reticent about asking sponsors for more money but he knows how much it benefits him; when Bocadillo had their name plastered all over the TV they got the type of coverage and exposure that many would pay 10 times or 20 times theirs sponsorship for. I have a funny feeling they might have the opportunity to start putting some memorabilia up on their walls soon as MacIntyre gets their name, not always up in lights, but at least mentioned against quality fighters who are the custodians of the belts MacIntyre wants to wrest from their grasp and have held aloft and round his waist.