Semi-Pro or Semi-Stupid.

In my home town of Plymouth there are very few professional fighters, very few professional trainers and not a very good selection of sparring partners.  Also the amateur scene is sparse and those guys also struggle to find quality sparring.

Plymouth is the 14th biggest city in the country so are there more fighters out there? The answer is yes. There are loads. There is a good MMA scene with some good gyms and quality organisation and there is also this thing you may have heard of called Semi-Pro Boxing.

I have noticed over the last few years that people flock to these events in their hundreds paying up to £30 a ticket to watch unlicensed fights between often mismatched competitors who haven’t really had enough training to compete in open combat. I appreciate some of these guys train really hard and mean no disrespect to anyone at all but I believe this craze is hurting the sport of boxing specifically in Plymouth.

If these guys really want to earn money from fighting then find a pro trainer and there are a few about and turn professional.  Then work bloody hard in training and see how far you can go.
I will even buy tickets to come and watch you box!


If you haven’t had any fights and want to start fighting then join an official ABAE registered amateur gym. There are plenty of good amateur coaches around. Who knows where this will take you.


I’ve heard unlicensed boxing labelled up as ‘white collar’ and ‘semi-pro’ for a while now.  I’d like to point out this is not the case. It is ‘unlicensed boxing’.
No regulated officials are involved meaning competitors are at risk of being unfairly scored or not protected by stoppage of a fight when it is required.
The sports governing bodies have strict medical guidelines and drug testing to help protect fighters from competing when it is not safe to do so. Unlicensed boxing has none of these guidelines.

Obviously unlicensed boxing is currently not illegal as it is publicly advertised and held in public clubs and hotels but I ask you to think about which of the sports you choose to compete in or watch.

I would much rather pay money to an amateur or professional show knowing that a lot of the money is going back into the sport I love.

It’s you’re choice.

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I have written to the government regarding the issue and have started a petition to ban unlicensed boxing.
Sign up here

Lee Russell


  1. boxer800

    very well put and 100% agree there is not enough thought for competitors safety and not enough training for the majority of matches may aswell be organised street fights with 2 guys picked off the street and chucked in a gym with only weeks of training there is only a small minority of participants that treat there competition professionally and train as they should as for the rest I think its a joke and having a bad impact on the sport

  2. Chris 'Rab' Butler

    You’re spot on, especially about the unregulated officials, it takes the piss. I’m not being funny but some people I know have done this ‘job’ and it makes a mockery of those that have been properly trained to do the job.

    • guzwarrior

      Cheers Rab, one of the earliest pieces I did.
      Will try and make it to one of your classes soon, unfortunately im normally only in Guzz at weekends!

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