A HADFIELD man dusted off his boxing gloves to turn out for one final time in aid of charity last weekend.
Alan “Muhammad” Massey fought in front of more than 500 people, including his family, friends and even world champion Anthony Crolla, at the Midland Hotel in Manchester.
The 63-year-old wasn’t in the ring for very long as he saw off opponent Sam Barker, some 30 years his junior, in the space of a minute and 44 seconds.
But the project manager at Broadoak Preservation has helped raise more than £1,600 towards a £2 million complex for Reuben’s Retreat to give terminally ill children their final wish.
It’s a cause that’s close to Alan’s heart following the death of his brother Brian from a brain tumour at the age of 16.
Reflecting on the fight, Alan said: “Every boxer feels nervous before a fight because of the adrenalin but I trained for a hard three-round fight and it wasn’t hard in the end.
“It was fantastic to fight in front of so many people, some I didn’t know who were cheering me on, and a great feeling to come out a winner too.
“When I came out of the changing room after the weigh-in, the promoter told everyone how old I was and everyone’s jaw dropped. They couldn’t believe how fit I was and they all started clapping.”
Alan, who lives on Oakfield Road, had both won and lost in each of his previous two fights but put in eight weeks of intense training which included all-weather running at 5:30am and sessions with pro boxer Matthew Hatton.
“I trained with Austin Hornsby at St Oz Pro fitness in Mottram but I also did a few weeks with Matthew at his Metro gym in Stockport doing a lot of sparring, which was a great experience.
“I asked him ‘do you think I’m good enough’ and he said ‘yes, no problem’ which was reassuring. But your age is nothing if you really want something and I had trained really hard for the fight.”
Alan emerged from the wings to the sound of bagpipes performed by the St Andrew’s Bolton Pipes and Drums band.
But once the formalities were completed, the knockout blow came in round one when Alan landed a left-jab on the jaw of his opponent – who he didn’t know until the day itself!
The fight was part of KO Promotions’ Christmas Cracker tournament featuring nine fights, organised by former amateur boxer Danny Hornsby.
He added: “I’ve been promoting the event for eight weeks and the boxers had 10 weeks of preparation. It was their Ricky Hatton moment and they experienced something most men only dream about.
“It wasn’t easy to match someone with Alan but he is one of the fittest 60 somethings you will ever see and probably the oldest man ever to fight at this level against a much younger fighter.
“He’s been an athlete most of his life and a British champion body builder for a number of years.
“Boxing is hard both physically and mentally and white collar boxing means you can’t box amateurs under the age of 34 but it’s aimed at anyone who is willing to give it a go and you can fight for a good cause.”
Wayne Rooney boots, a Cristiano Ronaldo shirt and Tyson Fury’s shorts were part of the sporting memorabilia being auctioned off on the night to raise funds.
You can still donate by visiting the Just Giving page set up by Alan’s brother David at www.justgiving.com/Dave-Massey/.