Kirkintilloch hitman aiming for the big time

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A RISING star of the ring is hoping to become a knockout success after entering the professional boxing ranks.

Alistair Black (20), from Kirkintilloch, started boxing at the age of 14 when he was looking for a way to keep fit.

The former Gartconner Primary and Kirkintilloch High pupil said: “I played pro-youth football with Clyde from the age of about 10 and began to box on spare nights. It gave me a real buzz.

“People don’t realise quite how hard it is and I think that’s what attracted me to boxing – I always need a challenge and it was something I found more difficult than playing football.”

Within a year he decided to dedicate himself to his new sport, throwing himself into a tough training regime and winning his first amateur fight for Kirkintilloch Amateur Boxing Club (ABC) 15-3 on points.

His coaches, Jim Carr and Hugh Docherty, instantly saw that he had something special. Fighting every six months or so, he proved a hit – often beating fighters with far more experience.

He told the Herald: “I came into boxing quite late. Lots of people start when they are 11 or 12 so I was fighting people who had more than 60 fights under their belt, but was still holding my own.”

Although he didn’t win every fight he continually improved, nabbing the runners-up position in the Scottish Novice Championship in 2008.

Earlier this year he decided to turn professional and landed a three-year contract with Alex Morrison – who also looks after Coatbridge’s WBO World Champion Ricky Burns.

He credits his mum, dad, sister Janice, his trainers at Kirkintilloch ABC and former trainer Charlie Smith for his success so far.

The ambitious fighter, who trains for more than 30 hours a week, now aims to make waves in a competitive light-welterweight division currently ruled by Britain’s Amir Khan and American Timothy Bradley – with his first professional fight later this year.

He said: “I want to win my first professional fight then work my way up through Scottish level and British level to be at a world level in about 10 years time. It would be great to win a world title and defend it a few times.”

In the meantime he’s happy to get involved with the Kirkintilloch community and help young fighters. He was the star guest at a recent fundraiser in Hillhead Community Centre – sparring all-comers for a 20p donation.