Unbeaten middleweight prospect Harry Woods (4-0), from Maghull, Liverpool, is back in the gym training, but has written off the rest of this year for his professional boxing career.
25-year-old Woods, an England amateur representative, is currently four fights unbeaten in the pro ranks and despite getting out nice and early in February this year, defeating Kevin McCauley (15-208-12) on points at the Grand Central Hall in Liverpool, he hasn’t been able to follow up on his fourth career victory due to the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic.
Despite having no dates on the horizon, Woods is back training in his Everton Red Triangle gym alongside his teammates every week.
“Yeah, I’m back in the gym, just been doing quite a lot of strength work because we haven’t got a fight date coming up.
“I’m in the gym three days a week for now, just using the time to learn a bit and get stronger. I was sparring JJ Metcalf for his last fight; it was shortly after lockdown when we first got back in the gym again.
“I work full-time as a delivery driver for Hermes from Monday to Saturday, not a bad job to be fair, and the rest of the time I’m training.”
Despite the worryingly uncertain and unpredictable times, Woods and his fellow sextet of unbeaten prospects from the century-old Everton Red Triangle Gym are all staying positive and mentally strong in the face of adversity.
“I don’t think you can’t feel like that, you have to stay strong and carry on. Whether COVID happens or not, you have got to be mentally strong in a boxing career anyway; just because you haven’t got a date, you can’t let it bring you down.”
Three of his teammates – Nick Ball (13-0, 6KOs), Andrew Cain (6-0, 6KOs), and Brad Strand (4-0, 1KO) – have managed to fight since lockdown lifted on a Queensberry Promotions event in July after signing contracts with Frank Warren earlier this year. All three notched up another win on their perfect records.
“I’ve watched the BT shows, especially the one that Nick, Brad and Andrew were on. We watch fights in the gym with Paul [Stevenson]; recently we’ve been watching early Roberto Duran, it’s good watching them fights because they’re good to learn from.”
Head coach Paul Stevenson trains all seven unbeaten prospects in the thriving ERT gym, as well as Olympian Peter McGrail, who is one of very few boxers worldwide to have qualified for the next Olympic Games.
“Paul definitely knows how to keep our spirits up,” Harry praised. “I don’t think no one in the gym can feel sorry for themselves with him around; it’s just how it is, just got a bit of a waiting game to play.”
Woods also acknowledges the need to stay ready just in case the phone could unexpectedly ring, “I’m keeping fit and staying on weight because you never know. Realistically, I’d imagine I’m not fighting again this year but I’m not taking my eye off the ball. It’s a bit of a nightmare for anyone getting fights right now, not just me. People like me on small hall shows are at the bottom of the queue.”
One of Woods’ stablemates, Carly Skelly (3-0), managed by Paul Stevenson but training out of North Mersey ABC, fights this weekend on the huge Usyk vs Chisora Box Office event on Sky Sports.
Looking forward to the title fight, Harry enthused, “Yeah, I’ll be watching the Usyk-Chisora bill. I think Carly should do well. I’m not too sure who she’s fighting, but I really hope she wins.”
It’s not the only boxing event he is looking forward to, “I’m looking forward to watching the Heffron vs Bentley rematch. I think that first fight was very good, so the rematch should be good too. Eventually I want to operate at middleweight, so it’s good to keep an eye on the division.”
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