by Matthew Bozeat
Trinity ABC heavyweight powerhouse Russ Henshaw is ready for a new challenge after deciding to ditch his vest and punch for pay.
As an amateur, Henshaw won national honours for Trinity in home-town Ilkeston and he also represented England three times.
Now, at the age of 29, he’s decided to go professional and boxes on a big show in Burton-on-Trent on Sunday, July 6.
Promoter Scott Lansdowne, a former heavyweight contender himself, has paired Neville Brown and Irish legend Steve Collins in an exhibition world-title rematch at Meadowside Leisure Centre and Henshaw will box on the undercard.
He said: “I’m going to go for it and see how far I can get. I reckon I’ve got four or five years left in boxing and I want to enjoy the ride. I thought it would be my year in the ABAs, but things went wrong and I ended up pulling out.
“I had a chat with Scott and decided to give this a go.”
Henshaw looks sure to be an exciting, colourful addition to the professional circuit.
Throughout his 24-bout amateur career he was a whole-hearted, crowd-pleasing fighter who didn’t mind taking a punch to land one.
“I’m not the cleverest, most skilful boxer around but I will stand there all day and fight,” he said.
“I keep the pressure on all the time - and I can’t be hurt. I don’t mind getting hit. I love to fight and when you do it in the ring, you don’t get in trouble for it!”
Henshaw won the ABA Novice title in 2011, lost a ding-dong scrap with Greg Bidet in the following year’s final and boxed for England three times against Ireland, Sweden and Australia.
Earlier this season, he took the UBC Elite super-heavyweight belt from Kettering power-puncher Karoly Baubkus and the amateur record also shows three blood-splattered scraps with Simon Barclay, from Corby.
Barclay twice won the ABA championships in his 52-bout amateur career, is currently an unbeaten professional with top promoter Frank Warren and says Henshaw gave him his toughest-ever fights.
Tickets for the show in Burton are available from 07828-446487 and www.topdog-sports.com.
Anyone interested in sponsoring Henshaw can also contact the above number.