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Derry will go head-to-head with The Lash, one of the cast of characters created by Liverpool actor John May, as top of the bill in his boxing show later this month.
The inclusive event, at Grand Central Hall on November 20, is being staged as a showcase night for boxers who train at Derry’s Fit Club.
There’ll be 20 bouts in all, with Derry and boxing promoter The Lash going up against each other for three two-minute rounds as the finale.
The two have known each other for years – they actually met when John was barbering and cut Derry’s hair – and were brought together for this fight by mutual mate, boxer Jazza Dickens.
“I run an inclusive gym where we have all different sorts of projects, and I was speaking to Jazza and said, ‘I wonder if John would fancy having a go with us, as an actor’,” explains Derry.
“John accepted the challenge, but really it’s not about us, our fight is just something a bit different that’s for fun. The night is really about everyone else who’s involved in the show, who trains at my gym.
“My gym is for everyone, we’re a community gym and a CIC, and no-one’s treated any differently. You could be Mike Tyson or just the lad from down the street and you’d be treated exactly the same.
“Everyone taking part trains together, they’re all friends, so they’re all winners really. We’ve got a couple of kids who have disabilities and some who’ve had mental health issues, but they can all get in the ring and raise money for whatever cause they want.
“All the boxers in the show can get sponsored for a charity of their choice because I felt that by doing it that way, if there are 20 bouts then that’s 40 charities that could get money and be helped.
“The lads on the show have been going round with sponsorship forms already so hopefully we’ll be able to support a lot of charities including smaller local ones.”
This will be the first event Derry has staged since the pandemic, and he says he’s looking forward to everyone getting back out there to enjoy a big fight night.
With the prospect of slugging it out against a former title-holder, John has been getting back into some training himself for The Lash’s boxing debut.
Although he admits he could probably step things up in the gym over the next couple of weeks if he’s going to make it through a full-on six minutes.
“Derry asked me a couple of months ago and I am a bit worried my fitness might not last the three rounds but the adrenaline will hopefully keep me going.
“I have been training again in the gym, I’ve been doing a lot of walking, a few pads, weight training and I’ve sharpened my diet right up as well.”
John’s been getting some fight tips in sessions at Karl Tierney’s Tierpro Gym in Waterloo, while Derry’s been busy training the other fighters at his Fight Club.
But whoever wins, they’ll still be good mates when the bell goes.
“It’s a good cause, it’s going to be a great day and I think we’ll have a laugh and put smiles on people’s faces,” says John. “And afterwards we’ll get on the lash.”
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