Craig MacIntyre meets me in a hotel in Hamilton, looking all the while like a boxer. Toned, tanned and looking for a scrap; I wasn’t offering one…
Fortunately, the only thing on the menu is a bit of chat and the espresso my morning has been demanding for hours…
It’s not been a great time for the young 24 year old who is looking to kick on from his last fight; problem is, the kick is there and where “on” is likely to be has been a mystery.
Having begun his career under the wing of former British, European and Commonwealth title holder, Willie Limond, MacIntyre made the decision to jump into Sam Kynoch’s stable.
That did not work out and he made another decision last year to move to MTK Global, joining a growing band of fighters who can see the brand that MTK have grown into and they all want to be firmly associated with it.
I saw MacIntyre’s debut. It was the same night that I met fellow scribbler Chris Glover, the Scouser who was studying at University in Glasgow, but is now in New York having made his own professional debut. Whilst Chris and I traded Twitter details, we both marvelled at “this kid” with the flying fists. That night, MacIntyre was imperious. He looked the part against veteran William Warburton and won on points.
I got to meet up with him not long after that fight for the first time and his quiet assuredness and confidence was evidence that this was a special guy looking for a career to pay him back with belts.
To date, that has yet to happen. When we met earlier in 2019, he was in reflective mood, “I just want to fight but to fight at the levels to be tested at. Everyone wants to be tested at the right level. If I am a British level fighter, European, even world level, I don’t mind BUT I want to try my hand and find out.”
The level of frustration in his voice comes from a person who has the fists to prove he has levels to go through but not the fights in place to prove it.
Having made the decision to go with a rookie manager in Willie Limond at the beginning of his career, MacIntyre soon found that there were limitations, but he was a loyal man. “Willie was always straight with me. He still is. When I got to the point that he maybe wanted to go in a different direction, he was the one who told me I should go with Sam Kynoch. What he said to me was that he would always be there. He has been true to his word.”
Kynoch boxing were to get him a chance at the Celtic title, though that night is one others might want to forget. It was a draw against Henry Janes of Wales and a great surprise to many. What is surprising to a few is how sanguine and really honest MacIntyre is about it. He doesn’t want to forget it but use it to become a better boxer.
“There’s no excuses. Training was good, preparation was right and there was nothing wrong on the night except I didn’t perform. Simple as that. I am not a big one for excuses anyway but that night I can’t explain it; I didn’t perform. It happens.”
What happened next, having had a Celtic title fight and a Scottish title fight fall through was that MacIntyre and Sam Kynoch parted company. MacIntyre, always confident in his own ability bought himself out of the contract that would no longer bind him.
The types of innovative work that Kynoch boxing had tried to bring to the local boxing circuit worked for many but the mix of amateur, professional and white collar events that saw them take over a Glasgow hotel one Saturday was one of the final straws for MacIntyre. “There were people in the gym mixing us up and seeing me as a white collar boxer. As a full time professional I was worried that this was how people were seeing me. I wanted to be seen as a serious professional. I have worked too hard to be mixed up. I just didn’t think it was working for the both of us.”
He needed new challenges and the time was right to sign for one of the biggest firms in the boxing world; MTK Global. “This was the right move for me and now I know I can fight on the types of bills that will move me and my career on.”
The future now has a very serious aspect to it. When I had met Craig a few years ago the plan had been to go round the UK and become a gym rat, offering to spar but be there to learn. “That never happened, and I got caught up in trying to better my own career.”
His career could be at any of the MTK shows they are putting together. No matter what the next step is MacIntyre is clearly a dangerous prospect who can out box the foes people put in front of him.
Last time out he managed to stop Chris Adaway; not an easy thing to do. Adaway was impressed by MacIntyre but not the stoppage. “He said I cost him several grand because he got stopped! He was all right about it, but I know I need to step up.”
As part of his tuition and the learning curve all boxers need to go through, MacIntyre has also faced William Warburton three times. “The last time he thought he was coming up to fight Craig Kelly. When he realised it was me and we had finished he said he never wanted to see me in a ring again!”
The feeling is mutual because for MacIntyre, the future must be at a level that is close to testing himself. It’s now over to MTK and there are very few who have the power like they do to make it happen…