New Stevenston kickboxer Jamie McGinnis is enjoying his new celebrity status in the village, buy says it won’t distract him from his world title fight.
Jamie takes on Zltko Traichov Gadzchev from Portugal for the Golden Belt World amateur lightweight title in Cleland on Saturday, June 1, a fighter he admits he knows next to nothing about.
He said: “I know he is tall and rangy and seen as a hot prospect in his home country, but other than that I’m really unfamiliar with him.
“We had actually thought I’d be going against a different fighter and there was plenty of video and information of him, but come the eliminator he was beaten by Gadzchev so that obviously changed our plans.
“However, I am absolutely confident that before we step in the ring that my trainer Jan Cree will have given me all the information I need about him.”
Jamie only took up the sport a year ago and admits even he has been amazed by his meteoric rise that has seen him pick up British, European and Commonwealth titles.
He said: “My brother Mark was always the fighter in the family and I was a footballer, I really only took up kickboxing as a hobby.
“I knew when I joined Impact Kickboxing there was the opportunity to do well, but I couldn’t have imagined this.
“When I was younger I was signed for Airdrie and played for several Junior sides, and still get calls from people asking me to join their teams, but kickboxing is where my heart lies now.
“A win over Gadzchev would mean I have pretty much done all I can as an amateur, so I would anticipate looking to turn professional later in the year and see what I can really achieve.”
Jamie recently signed a sponsorship deal with Morton’s Rolls, which gave him an insight into the perils of fame.
He said: “I have all these t-shirts and ‘See You Jimmy’ hats to give away with tickets for the June 1 show so I am well used to people coming to my door and I can’t thank New Stevenston enough for all the support they’ve given me.
“However, I was with the boxer Scott Harrison a few weeks ago as we have the same sponsor and were being fitted for new ring gear and it was a different world.
“We were looked after really well, but there was paparazzi following us everywhere as they were trying to get a story on him.
“Scott is a great fighter, but gave me a stark warning that I don’t want to go down the path he did if I want to make the most of my career.”
Mark McGinnis also competes at Cleland Miner’s Welfare on June 1 taking on Paisley’s Alex Aitchison with the British light-heavyweight title on the line.
Mark’s career stalled after breaking his nose in defeat to Craig Black last year, but after exacting retribution feels he’s getting back to his best.
He said: “After the rematch with Black he said I was like a different fighter and it is really starting to feel that way.
“I fought a lot when I was younger, but I had been inactive for a long time and it showed.
“However I am training well and getting nearer cruiserweight with the ultimate aim of returning to the middleweight division, which is where I really belong.
“I want to thank Charlie Lindsay of Holytown Karate for setting me on my way, I don’t think he gets the credit he deserves but he does a great job with the kids, as well as my sponsors GM Structural Engineers, Mainland Commercials and Dylan Commercials.
“I am 100 per cent behind Jamie, and so proud of what he has achieved in a really short time, so hopefully we’ll both be celebrating next week.”