Comeback kid Brendan aims to make Dad proud

Ex-professional Hugh Smith is getting son Brendan ready for his return to the ring.
Ex-professional Hugh Smith is getting son Brendan ready for his return to the ring.

Brendan Smith hopes to make his father proud as he resumes his boxing career at Fight Club 6 in the Alona Hotel next Saturday.

Smith’s father Hugh, known as ‘The Trombone Kid’, competed in 40 professional fights in the 70s and early 80s, often on the same bill as the likes of Jim Watt and Ken Buchanan.

Now, the elder Smith is in his son’s corner as he takes on John Mark on May 23.

Smith said: “I had a couple of years away from the sport after suffering a facial injury, but I always felt like I had unfinished business and I am delighted to be getting back in the ring.

“I am 31 now so I know I don’t have a lot of time, but I want to make my dad proud and coming to Fighting Scots Gym has got my life back in the right direction.

“It feels like a family here, I’ve been working with the kids and they are all coming on great.”

As well as his dad Smith also takes inspiration from his childhood pal, former World champion Ricky Burns.

Smith said: “I’ve known Ricky since I was 12 years old at Barn Boxing Club in Coatbridge and it’s brilliant what he went on to achieve in the sport.

“He came here and we followed suit and the facilities are just fantastic so there will be no excuses next Saturday.

“I am feeling physically and mentally better than I ever have, turning semi-professional has given me a way back into the sport and I aim to make the most of it.”

Another fighter reclaiming his love of the sport is 27-year-old Chris Buchanan who takes on Blake Owen.

He said: “I did boxing at Orbiston and Forgewood from the age of eight until I was 16, and was a British champion, but then took three years off.

“I got back in the ring at 19 and dabbled here and there, but now I am determined to make a real go of it again as this is the best I’ve felt for a long, long time.

“This is my first fight at semi-pro and I’m looking forward to it, this level didn’t really exist until recently so I decided to give it a go as my friend Ronnie Nailen got back into the sport this way and now is has returned to the pro ranks.

“Maybe there might be an option for me to do likewise in the future, but for now I’m just concentrating on the fight with Blake and we’ll take it from there.”

The main event will see Paul Brannen drop three weight categories to face Lyndon Chircop for the EBF European bantamweight title.

Brannen admits shedding over 4kgs has proved tough, but said he is in capable hands.

He said: “It is quite hard, but will be worth it in the end to face Chircop with the title on the line.

“The gym has brought in a nutritionist to make sure we are eating properly to ensure we only lose fat, not muscle and it is really working.

“I have lost around 3.5kgs so far and I am still punching as hard as ever and my stamina is excellent, however I could live without every advert on TV being about food.”

Brannen and Chircop are no strangers to each other having been on the same card in the latter’s homeland of Malta last year.

Brannen said: “He was in the main event when I was over in Malta and he looks a decent fighter, so I know it will be a stiff challenge.

“However, the weigh-in is the day before the fight so I should have an opportunity to get back to my normal weight and hopefully will be able to use my size to my advantage.

“Hopefully afterwards I can celebrate winning the title with some proper scran.”

The card will feature several more bouts, but EBF general secretary James Ward admits to being excited about Brannen vs Chircop.

He said: “This card is putting a real focus on the semi-professional fighters and Paul and Lyndon are two of the best.

“There isn’t really a professional scene on Malta which is why Chircop hasn’t turned pro, because he is definitely good enough, so Brannen will have his work cut out to win.

“However Paul is progressing really well and although I’m supposed to be neutral, secretly I would love it if he could claim the title.”

Ward is very high on Scottish fighters at the moment and plans to form the first all-Scottish team.

He said: “Some of the Scottish guys are as good as anyone I have on my books and I want to form a Scottish team to take over to Malta in July.

“There have been British teams in the past with maybe two Scots, but the amount of talent around the country right now means they should be able to form a formidable team, in their own

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The night before Fight Club 6 on Friday, May 22, there will also be in-ring action at The Alona Hotel as Boxnite presents a Charity Fight Night in Aid of Macmillan Cancer Support.

First-time promoter Lee Murray said: “I boxed myself for many years, but I decided to start putting on shows and as it is my first time thought it would be good to do it for charity.

“It should be a good night with the likes of Barry Aikman and Declan McAvoy from Bellshill on the card and the ring already being set up for following night just makes life so much easier.

“When I arranged this I didn’t know Fight Club would be running so it is just a happy coincidence and hopefully boxing fans can enjoy a great weekend of action.”

Tickets costing £25 are available from Tickets Scotland or text 07850210519.