Saturday Book Club - Fear No Foe - chapter 20
Fear No Foe
Shay got up the day of the fight after a good night’s sleep, he felt really good and motivated, he came down stairs, Kelly had made him breakfast and asked him how he was feeling?
Shay smiled at Kelly and replied “I feel real good Kell, all I can see is me beating Bruno nothing else”.
Kelly smile and nodded her head at this and said “That’s good to hear Shay now eat your breakfast”.
Shay finished his breakfast then called his Mom; his Mom wished him luck and Shay told his Mom Kelly would pick her up about 8 o’clock that night to take her to the show. He called Kenny after, Kenny told Shay him and Paddy would meet him there at about 7 o’clock, he chatted to Kenny about tactics and the fight then Kenny told him to try and get some rest and relax for the rest of the day.
He said he would and he gave Sparky a call to tell him that his and the lads tickets would be left on the door for them. Sparky thanked him and wished him luck.
Shay replied “No Sparky thank you and I don’t need luck Bruno’s getting it tonight, trust me”.
For the rest of the day Shay just relaxed with Kelly, it was the perfect way for Shay to get ready for the fight.
Shay left his house in Harborne and made the 20 minute journey to Villa Park in Aston just down the road from where he was brought up as a kid.
When he got into the ground he saw Dexter with Richie Hatter and the film stars Conor Stevenson, Deanna Moore and Charlie Anderson chatting in the V.I.P entrance.
He walked over to Dexter and said “Hello”.
Richie then said to Shay “Alright Shay I’m commentating on your fight tonight son, you ready for it?”
Shay smiled and said “Of course I am Richie his going down mate”. Dexter then said to Shay “Do you remember Conor, Deanna and Charlie you met them before at The Squared Circle”.
Shay replied “Yeah of course I do Dext”.
He shook Conor’s hand and said “I loved the sequel to have I told you yet, you played the character so well”.
Then he turned to Charlie and Deanna and said “I thought you two were great in it as well”.
Conor thanked Shay and replied “Yeah the sequel what I done next was a bit grittier and better written, I really enjoyed playing the part of a boxer in it”.
Shay chatted with them for a while until Paddy came up from the Villa’s home changing room and ordered Shay to get his ass down stairs.
They all wished him luck and told him they would be cheering him on. He went down to his changing room, Paddy was scorning him all the way there telling him he had to switch on and focus on the fight. As they walked down the corridor to the changing room Shay saw Ronnie Docker and Danny O’Dyer chatting, they were all changed and ready for their fights, he wished them both luck, but couldn’t chat to them as Paddy was near enough pulling Shay down the corridor.
The show started at 8 o’clock at Villa Park, Sky was showing the whole show live, so a few of Dexter’s up and coming prospects would get some good exposure.
Shay sat in the home changing room he had all to himself watching the show on one of the big televisions they had in there. The new lads started the show off well; there were 3 good fights, which were competitive and very entertaining for the capacity crowd of 43 thousand at Villa Park.
Taylor and O’Dyer were next up in a 10 rounder; Paddy got Kenny to tape Shay’s hands up while he watched the fight. O’Dyer beat Taylor with an 8th round knockout; O’Dyer had put on a real good performance for a very pro Irish crowd.
Kenny brought over a box that contained Shay’s robe and shorts for the fight, Kelly had been very secretive about the design she had Brumsdale do for Shay.
Kenny opened the boxes and the first thing he pulled out was 3 polo shirts for the corner men, they were plan green with team Dempsey printed on the back. Kenny then pulled out Shay’s robe, it had down one side the English flag and down the other the Irish flag, on the back in big bold print it had Irish Shay Dempsey. The shorts were the same design as the robe with both flags on the front at the bottom there was the Brumsdale logo, but on the other leg where the Irish flag ran down there was his Dad’s initials M.D printed in Celtic writing with R.I.P printed underneath.
Shay smiled when he saw this, he loved the design, Kenny turned the shorts round and on the back waist band of the shorts was Case’s gym motto ‘Fear No Foe’ embroidered into them.
Kenny smiled as he showed it to Shay.
Shay said to Kenny “They’re wicked Ken, Kelly has done a great job”.
Paddy then noticed some writing on the back of the shorts, it was also on the robe and polo shirts, it read: English by birth, Irish by the grace of God, one of the things Shay’s Dad used to say to him when he was a kid.
Shay put on his groin protector and his shorts and started to warm up. The Docker, Burr fight was well under way and as Shay shadow boxed around the room as he watched on. Docker lost a very close fought fight on a split decision; Vinny Burr was now the British middleweight champion.
Paddy now started to talk to Shay seriously as the fight drew closer. Paddy told him “Look kid you got all the tools to beat this bum, but you got to stay focused, the only thing I want on your mind is beating Bruno”.
Shay nodded his head sweat dripped of him after his vigorous warm up and he was ready to go to war.
Bruno had already entered the ring to some cheers, but a hell of a lot more boos from Shay’s home crowd.
Bruno smiled and snarled at the crowd and played the pantomime villain to perfection.
Shay had come out into the tunnel area of the ground and was waiting for his name to be announced.
The M.C announced his name as the field of Athenry rang out, 90 percent of the crowd started to sing along as Shay walked out. All Shay could see all around the ground were Irish flags being waved and mixed flags with England and Ireland on them and Dempsey printed in the middle. As the noise of the crowd hit him, it was like a switch, his eyes went into a dead stare and he looked focused and ready. Shay climbed the steps and slipped through the ropes, he danced round the ring with his hand in the air acknowledging the cheering crowd. Bruno tried to intimidate Shay by getting in his face, but as soon as Bruno came up to him, instead of Shay just trying to ignore him Shay got right in his face as well which shocked Bruno. The corner pulled them apart and they went to their corners. All the announcements were done the ref called them to the centre of the ring to give them their final instructions, there was a viscous exchange of words, neither of them would touch gloves, the ref eventually sent them back to their corners to get this European title fight underway.
As Shay was waiting for the bell to start the fight he looked down to where his Mom, Kelly and the rest of his friends were sitting and pointed his glove at them, Dexter, Kelly and Samantha stood up and cheered him, Shay could see a few rows back Sparky and the Newtown lads singing his name.
Paddy shouted up at him “Focus kid, stay Sharpe”.
The bell went to start the first round, Bruno charged out of his corner to try and get the jump on Shay straight away. As Bruno moved in with big hard hooks, Shay just danced away hitting Bruno with 5 unanswered jabs. Bruno looked incensed; he had pure rage in his eyes and was looking to finish this early, but Shay was just too quick and too slick for him. Every time Bruno got in range to throw a shot; Shay would hit him with 5 or 6 shots and move out of range. Bruno was relentless in his attacks, but he just couldn’t catch Shay, Shay was really enjoying himself putting a show on for the cheering crowd calling Bruno on and landing shots at will.
The bell went to end the first round, Shay trotted back to his corner, Bruno had to be dragged back to his, he was so hyped up he just wanted to carry on.
When Shay sat down Paddy gave him a drink of water and said “Perfect kid, keep it up, hit and move I can’t believe this bum is in the same ring as you”.
Shay spat the water out and replied “He’s not fighting the same way that he did last time, his not thinking, I reckon I could of stopped him in that round if I had pushed it”.
Paddy put his gum shield back and said “Well fucking stop him kid, you don’t get paid for overtime, knock this bum out”.
Shay nodded his head looked down at Kenny who just said “Go for it son, finish him”.
Shay stood up and the bell went to start the second round.
Bruno came flying out again and Shay met him in the centre of the ring with a super fast 5 shot combo which opened a cut above Bruno’s left eye. Blood ran down Bruno’s face as he moved forward, but Shay didn’t dance away and stood his ground forcing Bruno to go on the retreat with some hurtful right hands. Bruno was dazed and now bleeding from the nose as well as the cut above his eye. Shay pushed him to the ropes and unloaded another thunderous 5 shot combo of straight punches, everyone hitting the target. Bruno tried to come back with a big left hook and a right hook, but Shay just danced away slipping both punches on the back foot. Shay then backed into the corner where Paddy and Kenny were watching from outside.
Kenny shouted “What you doing? Get out of the corner”.
Bruno moved in with a big right hand that had everything he had left behind it, Shay slipped to his right hand side and as he moved out of the corner he caught Bruno with two beautiful right hooks. Bruno’s momentum and the power of the right hooks took him crashing in to the corner padding head first, his head bounced off the corner and he fell backwards towards the centre of the ring. The ref started to count, Shay stood in a neutral corner, Bruno rose to his feet at the count of 5 still dazed. The ref continued to count to 8 and then asked Bruno if he wanted to continue. Bruno raised his hands and nodded his head and ref told them to box on, Shay moved in for the finisher, Bruno shot out a desperate right hand which Shay parried and released a deadly right hand putting Bruno down again. The ref started to count and Bruno just stayed on the floor making no effort to get up. The ref got to the count of ten and ended the fight.
Villa Park erupted in a sea of cheers and applause, Shay dropped to his knees with his hands in the air, he had done it he was European champion.
Paddy and Kenny rushed over to him and picked him off his knees and hugged him. Shay looked over at his Mom and Kelly who were both in floods of tears applauding him.
He walked over to the ropes and shouted “Mom I did it, that was for Dad”.
His Mom just smiled still with tears of joy streaming down her face and mouthed the words “Well done son”.
Shay looked behind his Mom and Kelly to salute the Newtown lads who had came to support him, they were going mental, cheering his name.
Dexter had come into the ring and went straight up to Shay and said “That was amazing son”.
Shay then asked Dexter “Can you get Kelly in here?”
Dexter didn’t even answer him and told one of the security men to lead her to the ring. As soon as she got in the ring Shay went up to her and gave her a big hug and a kiss on the lips and said “Thank you Kell, I couldn’t have done it without you”.
Kelly smiled at him and replied “Of course you could have Shay, I’m so proud of you”.
Shay hugged her again and then someone tapped him on the shoulder.
Shay turned round to see a very humble Bruno standing there, Bruno smiled and nodded his head and said “Well done Shay, I underestimated you; you’re a lot better that I thought you were, well done”.
Shay looked at Bruno shocked at this big brash bully being so humble, Shay replied “Thanks Bruno, your still a great boxer”.
Bruno then said “Well may be we could have a rematch soon?” Before Shay could answer Dexter stepped in and said “You can have a crack at the title Bruno when Shay has the World one round his waist”.
Dexter then took Shay into the middle of the ring to be presented with the title belt.
Shay and Bruno stood either side of the ref as the m.c announced “Ladies and gentlemen you’re new European champion Irish Shay Dempsey!”
The place erupted again as Shay’s hand was raised and the belt was put around his waist. Shay stayed in the ring for a while, getting his picture taken with Kenny and Paddy, he even got camera shy Kelly in a few of them. Sky Sports interviewed Shay and Dexter after, Shay showed great respect to Bruno telling the viewers he was still one of the best Super Middleweights around.
When they asked what was next for Shay, Dexter answered by saying that they would be looking to fight the winner out of Tarnna and Britain for the world titles and would be doing everything they could to get it on for next summer.
Shay headed back to the changing room and got changed to go and celebrate his title win in the V.I.P area at The Squared Circle.
When Shay got there with Paddy and Kenny, he walked into the main room and got a hero’s welcome. The place was packed with fan’s that had paid to celebrate with the newly crowned champion. Shay was led to the ring in the centre of the main room where the D.J was playing the music from. He paraded his European title around the ring holding it high above his head in triumph, the crowd was going crazy.
The D.J passed Shay the microphone to address the crowd, Shay said “Ladies and gentlemen and the Newtown lads in the V.I.P room”, there was then a big roar from the balcony overlooking the main room from all the Newtown lads that were there.
Shay continued “Thank you so much for coming and supporting me, it’s been a long haul to win a title, but I have done it”.
The crowd cheered and applauded as Shay held the belt over his head again.
Shay then said, “But it’s not over yet I am aiming for the world title and won’t stop until I reach my goal”.
The crowd cheered and applauded again, Shay finished his speech by saying “I would like to really thank my Mom and my best friend Kelly for their support and Dexter for making this fight happen, to my trainers Paddy Martin and Kenny Case thank you for training me I defiantly couldn’t have done it without you and to my Dad I know you’re watching me from up there this is for you”.
Shay got out of the ring, he had his picture taken with fans and signed autographs and then headed to the V.I.P room to celebrate with his family and friends.
The alcohol flowed and Shay showed off his dancing talents by spinning Kelly, then Samantha and finally his Mom around the dance floor.
One of the Newtown lads laughed at Shay and said to Sparky after watching Shay strut h