Saturday Book Club -Fear No Foe -chapter 19
Fear No Foe
When Shay got back to his apartment, the first thing he did was to phone his Mom, Kenny and Kelly to tell them the news. They were all really happy that he was coming back to England, his Mom and Kenny hadn’t seen him in over a year and were looking forward to him coming back. Kelly was really happy as well, she was glad that he was coming back and had got another title fight.
Shay told them he would be back in Britain by the end of the month; Kelly asked him “So do I need to look for somewhere else to live then?” Shay laughed and replied “No Kell, I’m probably only going to be back for 6 months, so if you want I’d love you to stay with us in the house.” Kelly asked “Us? Is Paddy stopping here as well?”
Shay replied “No Kell he’s stopping at a hotel, Isabella my dance instructor is stopping with us”.
Kelly paused for a second and then said “O.k. so are you and Isabella together then?” Shay then paused and replied “Well kind of, we have got quite close over the last year, but she’s a bit too possessive for me. She insisted on coming to see where I come from”.
Kelly then asked “Well wouldn’t it be better if I moved out so you and Isabella could be here on your own?” Shay just said “Kell you’ve been living at my place for over a year, it’s your home now and I want my best mate round me when I come back”. Kelly said “Well o.k. as long as you are sure?” Shay replied “Kelly I’m more than sure, see you in a month’s time”.
Shay’s training had been cut down by Paddy for the last month he was in New York, Paddy just wanted Shay to keep himself fit and there real training would start 3 months before the title fight.
Dexter had arranged with Kenny that Paddy was going to use Case’s Gym while they were in England to train Shay.
At the end on the month Shay flew back home with Dexter, Paddy wasn’t coming over for another month when Shay would be full on with his training.
When Shay got through customs at Birmingham airport, Kelly was waiting to give him a lift home, Kelly was shocked when only Dexter and Shay came out.
Kelly asked Shay “Where’s Isabella then Shay?”
Shay smiled and shook his head and replied “She aint coming Kell, don’t ask it’s a long story”.
Kelly said “O.k. it’s a shame I was looking forward to meeting her, anyway give us a hug, it’s good to see you”.
Shay gave Kelly a big hug and said “It’s good to see you as well Kell, will you take me round to my Mom’s house”.
Kelly smiled and said “Yes of course I will” she then asked Dexter if he wanted a lift?
Dexter smiled and replied “No thanks Kell, here’s my lift”, Samantha had just pulled up in her brand new Aston Martin.
As Dexter was getting in he called over to Shay and said “Right son, be at my office tomorrow. I’ll go through all the details with you”. Shay replied “Alright Dext see you tomorrow”, and got into Kelly’s car.
When they got to Shay’s Mom’s house his Mom was waiting at the door to greet them. Shay ran up his Mom’s path like a little boy who’d missed his Mommy and gave her a big hug and a kiss.
Shay’s Mom hugged him tightly and said “Welcome home son, I’ve missed you so much”. Shay replied with a tear in his eye “It’s good to be home Mom, I’ve missed you as well, how you been?”
Shay’s Mom smiled and said “I’m fine son, now come in out the cold both of you”.
They went inside and Shay could smell that his Mom had made him one of his favorite meals. He said “Are you cooking coddle Mom?”
His Mom replied “Yes son, I haven’t made one in a while, but thought I’d welcome you home with one of your favorites, it will be ready in a few minutes”.
Shay and Kelly sat down in the living room and his Mom came in with his Irish broth full of sausages and vegetables, with two thick slices of crusty bread on the side of the tray. Shay tucked in like he hadn’t been fed before, Kelly and his Mom just sat there both laughing at how fast he was eating. Kelly and Shay’s Mom had a small bowel of it, but Shay finished his massive bowel a long time before them.
He looked up at his Mom with a very satisfied face and said “Mom it’s good to be back home, that was lovely, Marc De Paul’s got nothing on you”.
Kelly and Shay spent the rest of the day at his Moms as he told them about his year in New York, when they got back to Shay’s house the jet lag had started to kick in, so Shay called it a night and slept in his own bed for the first time in a year.
He got up the next day, he got dressed and went down stairs, Kelly had got up before him and made him a full English breakfast. All the time Shay was in New York he could never really enjoy their massive portions of food as he was always training and watching his weight. He thanked Kelly for the breakfast and got stuck into the plate of sausage bacon eggs and tomatoes. Kelly asked him what time he was going to see Dexter?
Shay replied “I’m going to go in a bit, but first I’m going to go and put some flowers on my Dad’s grave”.
Kelly smiled at him and asked if he wanted her to come to the grave with him before she went to the restaurant?
Shay looked at Kelly smiled and replied “No Kell, I just want to go on my own, but thank you for offering”.
As Shay finished off his breakfast he asked Kelly how the restaurant was doing.
Kelly said “Yeah it’s busier than ever, we had a bit of a problem a few months ago, but it worked out good for us”.
Shay asked in a shocked voice “Problems? What problems? How come you never told me?”
Kelly replied “Shay you were in New York, there was nothing you could have done, and anyway it worked out really well”.
Shay asked “So what was the problem then?”
Kelly told him that someone had told the papers that Marc De Paul wasn’t French and was really a half English and half Irish lad from Newtown who used to hang out with a gang causing trouble in the area.
Shay then asked her what happened next.
Kelly took a sip of here tea and continued “Well there was a big peace in the Birmingham post about it, then I asked them to come round to talk to me and Mark about it. When they did I span the story how hard it was for Mark growing up in Newtown and how he had gone to college and worked in restaurants in London and France to learn how to become a chef. Then I told them with your help he opened Marc De Paul’s and he didn’t think anyone would come to a restaurant if they knew it was a kid from Newtown cooking the food”.
Shay then asked “So what did the papers do next?”
Kelly smiled and replied “They gave us a 2 page spread all about Mark and his struggle to become a chef, since that we have never been busier”.
Shay looked at Kelly smiled and said “See I knew it was a good idea to get you running the place, if that had have been left to me and Mark we would of probably battered the reporter. Well done Kell you deserve a pay rise”.
Kelly laughed and said “You have already given me one Shay, but thanks for offering”.
Shay laughed and said “You cheeky cow, fair play to you, you deserve it”.
Shay went to his Dads grave to pay his respects, the head stone had now been put on, Shay could see from how immaculate the grass and fresh the flowers were on the grave that his Mom was up here a lot. He laid the flowers on his Dad’s grave and bowed his head in prayer asking his Dad to give him the strength to win the title.
From the grave yard Shay drove down to The Squared Circle to see Dexter, he went into his office and Dexter asked him to sit down. Dexter asked him how his first night home was; Shay told him that he spent most of it at his Moms and all about what Kelly had done for the restaurant.
Dexter replied “That was good thinking by her; I think we should get her involved with your P.R. for this fight”.
Shay said “You aint pouching her from the restaurant Dext”.
Dexter laughed and said “No mate she could do it as well and I bet I pay better than you”.
Dexter then told Shay what deal he had got for him for his title fight, he said “Right son, Sky have offered us a big price for the rights to show the fight so your purse will be around 100 grand, how does that sound?”
Shay was stunned at how much he was going to get paid; he replied “Yeah that sounds good to me Dext”.
Dexter then said “There is one thing though; Gary Britain is fighting Jimmy Tarnna for the World title on the same night, so our show will be on Sky Sports first then they are having a pay per view show after for the world title fight”.
Shay asked, there not having his title fight at the Villa are they?” Dexter shook his head and replied “No Shay, they are holding the fight at Wembley arena son, he won’t be fighting until 2 in the morning and the crowd for our show will be twice as big as his, their nothing to do with our show, but I just thought I’d tell you right away that you were fighting on the same night”.
Shay shrugged his shoulders and said “Dext it don’t bother me mate, Tarnna is going to smash him up anyway”.
Dexter continued to tell Shay about the show, he told him that Ronnie Docker was fighting for the British Middleweight title against a new boxer on the scene Vinny Burr; also Brian Taylor was taking on Danny O’Dyer, it was going to be a great show.
Shay nodded his head in agreement, and then asked Dexter, “So how’s it been organizing a deal with Bruno then?”
Dexter rubbed the back of his neck just from the sound of the name and replied “It’s been a nightmare son, the geezer is a complete nutter, but he has had to agree with all my demands as no other promoter would touch him. He told me Shay, he reckons he’s going to knock you out again”.
Shay sat there smiled and replied “Well we will just have to see about that”.
Dexter told Shay that they would be having a press conference next week to announce the fights and venue. When Shay left Dexter’s office he headed straight round to Case’s Gym to see Kenny, he walked through the doors, the gym was busy with loads of young and old pro’s training. Shay stood next to the doors and smiled to himself thinking how much he had missed the old gym.
When Kenny saw him standing there he shouted over to Shay “So the prodigal son returns”.
Shay looked over at Kenny who was standing next to the ring instructing 2 young boxers who were sparring. Shay went over and gave Kenny a big hug.
Kenny hugged him back and said “Welcome home son, it’s good to see you back”.
Shay replied “It’s good to be back Ken, how have things been while I’ve been away?”
Kenny told him about all that had been going on at the gym and that he had a few good prospects coming through.
Kenny and Shay chatted for a while, and then Kenny pointed out what he had done on one of the walls of the gym. Shay smiled when he saw a big montage of pictures of him boxing from when he started as a kid right up to his last fight in New York.
Kenny said to Shay “You put this gym on the map son and we are so proud of you here”.
Shay thanked Kenny for all his help and asked him if he would help him during his training. Kenny replied “Won’t Paddy be coming over to train you?”
Shay told him that he would, but Paddy had already said that if Kenny wanted to help out he would be more than happy as you know me so well.
Kenny nodded his head and with a big smile on his face replied “Of course I will son”.
After Shay left the gym he popped round to his Moms to make sure she was o.k. then headed back to his home in Harbourne. When he got home Kelly was already there and had cooked a meal for them. Shay was well impressed with how well Kelly could cook now.
He said “Have you been taking lessons off Mark? As you couldn’t boil an egg before”.
Kelly smiled and replied “Well when you’re in that environment you tend to pick things up”.
Shay nodded as he tucked into his food and said “Well Kell you’ll make someone a great wife someday”.
Kelly laughed at this and asked Shay “Talking of wives, how come Isabella didn’t come over with you?”
Shay looked up from his plate and said “Me and Izzy aint together anymore, the women was just too possessive”.
Kelly replied “Ahh Shay I’m sorry to hear that are you o.k?”
Shay smiled and said “Yeah Kell I’m fine, she just didn’t like the fact that my best friend was a women and she didn’t want you staying here so I told her it was over. That’s it really, I’m not having any women tell me who I can and can’t be friends with”.
Kelly smiled and said “Good for you Shay, but I would have moved out if you had wanted me to”.
Shay just shook his head and said “No way Kell this is your home now you can stay here as long as you like”.
For the rest of the week Shay spent most of his time with Kelly or his Mom, he did meet up with Sparky and a few of his old Newtown pals as well, they were buzzing when he told them where and when he was fighting next.
Sparky said to Shay “Well at least we won’t have to travel half way round the world to see you fight”.
Shay laughed and told Sparky he would make sure he got him and the boy’s ringside tickets for the fight.
The day of the press conference had come, it was being held in one of the many function rooms at Villa Park. All of the local and national newspapers were there along with the Sky Sports cameras. Dexter announced the fight for the European title and told them it would be right here at Villa Park.
Bruno as always hadn’t turned up yet, one of the reporters asked Shay “So Shay do you think you can really beat Bruno after the beating he gave you last time?”
Shay replied with a smile on his face “Yes I do, I put him down 3 times in that fight, so I know I can hurt him, I’m more of a complete fighter now and I think it will be an easy victory for me”.
As Shay finished his sentence Bruno walked into the room, he had just caught the end of what Shay had said and shouted at Shay as he walked to the front of the press conference “So you think it’s going to be easy Dempsey? Kid I’m going to school you again like I did last time”.
Shay stood up out of his seat and stared at Bruno, as Bruno got closer to the front Dexter said to him “Ahh Bruno so glad you could make it, take a seat on this side of me”.
Bruno stopped looked at Dexter like he was going to tell him where to go, but then bit his lip and sat on the other side of Dexter away from Shay. One of the reporters asked Bruno what he thought about Shay and the title fight. Bruno as cocky and as brash as ever started by saying “I’m going to do what I did last time; I’ll give Dempsey another hard lesson in boxing”.
The reporter replied, “But Bruno he knocked you down 3 times in the fight, so you got to have some respect for Shay’s power at least?” Bruno leant back on the chair and then said “I’ll give him that he shocked me with his power, but like the warrior I am I got up and schooled him and he won’t be putting me down this time, he’s getting another hard lesson”.
Before any other reporters could ask any more questions Bruno turned to Shay and said “Anyway Dempsey what’s with the name change to Irish? Was that to get the Mick’s on side? You’re from Birmingham son last time I looked that was in England”.
Shay looked at Dexter to say what should I say to that?
Dexter spoke up then and replied “Yes Shay is English and proud of it, but his Mom and Dad are both from Ireland and after his Dad passed away he took the name Irish as a tribute to his Dad”.
Bruno sat there laughing and said “So Dempsey your Mom and Dad are Irish? That explains how thick you look”.
Bruno then paused for a second and then said to Shay “Oh Dempsey I heard your Dad died of a heart attack just after I knocked you out? Best not let your Mom watch this one son, don’t want her popping her clog’s as well”.
Shay exploded in an uncontrollable rage, Dexter didn’t even try and stop Shay as he flew passed him to get to Bruno, Shay took Bruno clean off his chair with big right hand and they wrestled on the floor both smashing each other in the face. It took 8 security guards to separate them, 6 of them had to hold Shay back. He was so enticed with rage after what Bruno had said. The press and TV people loved it, this fight had just become a must see, even if you didn’t like boxing you were going to be tuning in for this one.
Dexter got Shay out of there and calmed him down.
He said to Shay “Right son you got to stay cool, use that rage in the ring, but just keep your head”.
Shay looked at Dexter with a deadly stare and replied “Dext I will, but I don’t think I could be in the same room as him again until the fight”.
Dexter nodded his head and said “Shay after that you won’t have to be, you just make sure you focus on beating him”.
Shay stood there just shaking his head still no believing what Bruno had just said and answered Dexter “Don’t worry Dext that cunts going down”.
When Shay got back to his house Kelly called him into the living room.
Shay went in and said “Did you hear what Bruno said at the conference?”
Kelly replied “Yeah he’s well out of order. Cracking dig though Shay they have show it on Sky Sports about 20 times already”.
Shay smiled and said “Well he’s going to get a few more of them when we meet in the ring Kell”.
Kelly then said to Shay “Shay watch this, it’s the Tarnna, Britain press conference, there showing it live now”.
Shay sat down and watched as Frank Goldsten announced the world title fight between Jimmy ‘The Piranha’ Tarnna and Gary ‘Great’ Britain. The first question one of the reporters asked was to Gary and what he thought about what had been said at the Dempsey, Beef press conference earlier.
Britain was taken by surprise by this, he was supposed to be answering questions about his big fight and the press was more interested in what he thought about Shay.
Britain had to keep his golden boy image up and said to the reporter “Well I thought what Bruno said was wrong and not needed in our noble art of boxing”.
Gary may have thought that would have been the end of it, but every other question the press asked was about Shay’s and Bruno’s fight, they even asked Jimmy Tarnna for a prediction.
Jimmy told them in broken English “I think Dempsey wins, he got a good trainer”.
Goldsten kept trying to move the questions back to the title fight, but the press was hooked on now what had become one of the most anticipated fights of the year, Goldsten didn’t like this and cut the press conference short.
Shay sat in his living room with a big smile on his face, watching Sky Sports play clips of his press conference every half hour and having every boxing pundit talk about the fight.
Shay called his Mom to make sure she was alright and not to upset about what had been said, his Mom told him she was fine and that his Dad would be proud of what he done on telly.
Shay’s Mom then said “Just make sure you knock that little bollocks out”.
Shay laughed and replied “Don’t worry Mom I will”.
The press were all over Shay, they were constantly outside his house wanting to talk to him, not just about the fight, but about his switch to being called Irish. A couple of the British press had ran with this story and seemed to be pro Bruno and wanted to discredit Shay’s name. Shay would never answer any questions on this, he was proud of his Irish roots, but just as proud to have been born and raised in England. Dexter knew that all the press talk could damage Shay’s reputation, so he asked Kelly to help him with Shay’s promotion. Shay was more than happy with this as it meant he could get on with just training for his fight.
There were 3 months to go to the fight, Villa Park was already sold out and over 42 thousand people were going to be there.
Paddy Martin had arrived in England and Shay’s training had started. Paddy and Kenny hit it off straight away, Kenny knew he could learn a lot off Paddy and Paddy knew having Kenny round who had known Shay since he was a kid would be an invaluable asset. Shay was being worked hard by both of them; Kenny couldn’t believe how much Shay had improved under Paddy’s tutelage. Paddy and Kenny talked a lot about the tactics for the fight, Kenny told Paddy about the problems Shay had at the time of the last fight with Bruno, and that their plan went out the window as soon as the fight started.
Kenny told Paddy that they had planned to out box Bruno and use Shay’s hand speed to beat him.
Paddy replied “Well Ken I think we should use the same tactics, Shay has faster hands now and his movement is excellent, I think his going to bust this Beef bloke up”.
Kenny agreed and all Shays’ training was set up for hand speed and movement.
Kelly had been busy promoting Shay’s image, Kelly got a double page spread in one of the national newspapers telling the story of why Shay was now known as Irish. Kelly span the story really well, they had an interview with Shay’s Mom that told how devastated Shay was after his Dad died and that it was a tribute to his Dad. Kelly had also got in the story of Shay representing England as an amateur and was really proud to be English. It was a heartwarming story and only someone with no soul after reading this would hold his tribute to his Dad against him. Kelly had come up with the headline as well, it read in big bold letters across the top of the article, “English power, Irish pride”. This and all the other things Kelly did for Shay’s image really quieted the press down about the Irish switch and concentrate on the really matter, the boxing.
Shay’s preparation for the fight was going excellent with Paddy and Kenny working together in tandem, Shay knew he had the best team he could dream of helping him.
There was less than a week to go before the fight; Shay’s European title fight had got more column inches in the British press than Britain’s world title fight.
On one of the few rest days Shay had he was sitting at home relaxing when his phone rang. He didn’t recognize the number the number, but answered it anyway, he said “Hello who is this?”
Shay could hear the other person breathing on the other end of the phone, and just as he was going to hang up the person replied “Hi Shay its Emma, I just wanted to phone to see how you are doing”. Shay sat there speechless for a few seconds not knowing what to say and thinking Emma had some cheek calling him.
Shay then replied in a very calm voice “Oh hi Emma I’m good thanks, how are things with you?”
Emma said “Not to good Shay, Gary is not being very nice to me at the moment and has been slagging you off a lot over the last few months. I can’t stand it when he says bad things about you. I think I need to split up with him”.
On hearing this Shay took a deep breath, he still had deep feelings for Emma and did miss her every now and then.
He replied to her by saying “Ahh sorry to hear that Em, but why you telling me this?”
Emma replied in the soft sexy voice she always used when she wanted something off Shay, She said “I was just thinking babe, if I came back to Birmingham we could meet up for a chat?”
Shay replied inquisitively “Oh yeah Em what for?”
Emma then said “Shay since we split up I have really missed you, I never stopped loving you, I just got caught up in it all with Gary. I was thinking we could get back together”.
Shay paused for a second then said “What you just want it to go back to the way it was?”
Emma replied to him “Yes Shay why not, we should never have split up in the first place, I should never have done what I did, I am sorry”. Shay sat there in disbelief and replied in a very angry voice “You’re sorry? You’re fucking sorry? You were shagging that Britain cunt for 2 years while we were together, you spent over 100 grand of my money over that time and expect me to just say its o.k. all’s forgiven?”
Emma replied “Yes Shay way not? We have got history together and I know you still love me, we can work it out if you like”.
Shay shouted down the phone at her “Are you joking Em? Yeah I do still care about you, but let me make one thing clear, there is no way on God’s green earth that I would ever get back with you. You are a complete nightmare who only looks out for herself, so do me a favor and leave me the fuck alone”.
Emma didn’t expect this response and replied nastily “I was only seeing if you would, I’d never go back with you, Gary is a better boxer and better in bed than you will ever be and when he wins the title and you don’t just remember I’ll be laughing at you”.
Shay laughed and said “Britain beating Tarnna are you on crack Em? Anyway Em I’m really glad you called, but this is me hanging up”. Shay put the phone down just as Kelly walked in and asked who was on the phone? Shay smiled and replied “No one important and carried on watching telly.
Shay was all set for the fight now, he knew the plan and what to do, Kelly who had done such a good job promoting Shay, she had even sorted him a sponsorship deal with Brumsdale again but at a much higher price because of all the publicity Shay was getting.
Kelly had also helped design Shay’s shorts and robe, but she was keeping it under wraps until the day of the fight.
Bruno and Shay were kept apart at the weigh in like they were for their last encounter, they both weighed in right on the 12 stone limit. After the weigh in Shay went with Paddy and Kenny to Marc De Paul’s and Shay ordered the biggest steak on the menu. As they sat there eating Kelly came over and sat down with them, they were all just chatting and enjoying the calm before the storm.
Kelly asked Kenny “Isn’t it going to be strange for you sitting ring side instead of in Shay’s corner”.
Kenny replied “Yeah Kell, it will be, but I know Shay is in the best hand possible”.
Paddy looked up from his plate turned to Kenny and said “Kenny what’s this about watching from ringside? You’re doing the corner with me right?”
Kenny smiled a big broad smile and replied “If you’re sure Pad” Paddy then said “Ken you know Shay better than anyone, I don’t just what you in the corner I need you in the corner”.
Kenny smiled and replied “It will be an honor”.
Shay looked up from his food and said “Well now that’s all sorted, can someone please get me another steak”.
They all laughed and Kelly called the waiter over.
Kelly and Shay went home after the meal; they relaxed in their home until it was time to go to bed.