• Dexter Hastings

Inspiring Black country Unlicensed Boxer Andy Gilkes


Inspiring Black country

Unlicensed Boxer

Andy Gilkes

Andy Gilkes is a lightweight white collar/Unlicensed boxer from the Black Country. The 36 year old 5 foot 8 Wolves fan has been boxing for 3 years and had his first fight 2 and half years ago. Gilkesy fights out of xtreme boxing gym near Cannock, but goes all around the Midlands for sparring like inspire (Derby) Mikeys (Kidderminster) he has also been doing some out door sparring in the nice weather.

Andy told me “I worked with a lot of great people including former Midlands lightweight champion Peter Till and former English lightweight champion Martin Gethin”.

Andy’s record is not the best he has won 4, drew 4 and lost 17 bouts, what this does not show is the hard work Andy has put into his career.

I then asked Andy what inspired him to take up boxing? Andy told me “I always loved watching boxing when I was growing up but never had the conference to have ago till I was in my 30’s. The increased popular of white/unlicensed boxing has made it possible for lads like myself who personally are not cut out to go amateur to get in the ring and have a go.

I have always watched boxing on the TV and started going to Walsall town hall and Wolves Civic for pro fights and supporting the local lads from Walsall Wood ABC”.

Andy then talked about his hardest fight he informed me “they have all been hard, but one to mention was a charity exhibition I did with fellow Wolves fan big Nigel Rafferty (Raffo) he took it easy with me there was a big size difference but he did let the occasional rib shot go.

Andy’s favorite boxer is Jamie Moore as he was always exciting but also added Mathew Macklin saying “he is a proper boxer”. The best fight he has saw is Gatti v Ward.

Andy added at the end of the interview “I'm in it for good causes rather than titles and records, after having drawn my first contests which was originally going to be a one off. I have gone on to have 25 fight.

I went on a bad losing streak and lost my next 13, but I never ever thought of giving up until I then got a win under my belt hen a few drew a few more. I like to think that I am inspiring people who struggle to get a win by saying never give up. When I finally did start to get a few wins all the near misses and disappointments made it all the sweater”.

Dexter’s Thoughts

Andy is a great lad who is in the sport for the right reasons . He will inspire people

weather in or out of the sport not to give up and keep going. I am happy to say that I Refereed Andy and raised his hand in victory which he richly deserved. Andy made a very good point about white collar/Unlicensed boxing and how it has given a lot of lads and ladies the chance to enter the squared circle with out going down the amateur or professional route.

I will say unlicensed helped boxing when the sport started to only be shown on sky sports and not on main stream tv.

It kept a lot of people interested in the sport and even have a go or support there pals. I know there use to be a lot of amateur and pro trainers who are against unlicensed boxing but now they have to accepted that it is now a way of making money and even turning professional. Nick Blackwell for example who never had an amateur fight and become a British champion and before anyone says well look what happened to him, to that I say this is boxing and that could of happened to anyone.

Unlicensed boxing is one of the best ways for people to get into the sport either watching or competing. The shows now seem to be well run and as long as the fights are well matched up and that the shows have the proper medical staff there and checks just in case anything goes wrong. Lads like Andy can keep on doing what they do and inspire people to take up the sport.

I myself was inspired to get back into the ring at the age of 39 after being at an unlicensed dinner show with my mates. I had been back in training for a few year just to get fit I thought I was to old to fight now that's until I saw this show. My pal asked me what I thought of the boxing, I told him it was a good standard but I then said but I would beat anyone who has fought in that ring tonight. I was very drunk when I made that claim, but got a call the next day off my mate telling me I was going to be fighting on the me Show.

From that day I have never looked back having 17 unlicensed fights winning 10, drawing 1 and with 6 defeats and picking 3 Celtic Boxing Union Birmingham and West Midlands titles at 2 different weights. So I can say from a personal point of few it is a great way to get into the sport.