Undefeated boxer Isaac Macleod has more than just glory driving him to win Ultimate Boxxer on Friday 27th April at the Manchester Arena, he wants to keep the memory of his late brother Luke alive.
The date is also significant to Isaac as it’s on the day of Luke’s birthday, which he believes is his destiny to be crowned the Ultimate Boxxer.
Isaac admits he nearly hung up his gloves following Luke’s death in 2009 at just 19, but by continuing his career and becoming a champion will be a fitting tribute.
“Luke stayed over at his friend’s house and he never woke up,” said Macleod.
“I was devastated. We were best mates as well as brothers. I was depressed and had to take a break from boxing. I’ve never been able to forget what I saw.
“I decided in the end that rather than quit boxing, I should carry on and fight for Luke’s memory.
“I’m sure it’s my destiny to win ‘Ultimate Boxxer.’ I just think it was meant to be.”
Ultimate Boxxer I pits eight undefeated welterweight fighters to go toe-to-toe in an exhilarating elimination tournament – backed by ambassadors Ricky Hatton, Anthony Crolla and Paulie Malignaggi – to win a cash prize from a pool of £50,000 – and the chance to become boxing’s newest star.
The event offers fans more that just boxing with live entertainment acts and celebrities at ringside to give a transformed boxing experience for the next generation.
Isaac believes that he will be the last man standing from the eight entrants and is likely to be the bookmaker’s favourite.
The 23-year-old has an outstanding amateur pedigree having won European Youth Gold and World Youth Silver.
Unbeaten in all nine fights since turning professional, he said: “I’m a good, seasoned all-round fighter and I know how to win fights,”
“The others will think: ‘It’s three rounds, I have to go for broke’ and I’m just going to keep my cool and capitalise on their mistakes.
“I’m not worried about my rivals in Ultimate Boxxer, I’ll let them worry about me.”
This looks set to be a breakthrough year for Isaac after a frustrating start to his professional career – also a reason why Ultimate Boxxer was created to give pro fighters like Isaac, who don’t have the exposure, a golden opportunity to become a star.
Trained by Darnell Smith in Essex, Isaac is the mandatory challenger for the English welterweight title.
“There’s not an awful lot of pro boxing in the North East,” he said, “and I haven’t really been able to show people what I can do yet.
“’Ultimate Boxxer’ is a fantastic concept and will raise my profile and then I’m looking to push on.
“The target is the world title and I think that’s the difference between me and the other lads in ‘Ultimate Boxxer. I’m aiming for the top.”
Pro-record: 9-0-0 (3 KO’s)
Amateur pedigree: Won 60 of 69 bouts, including gold at the European Youth championship and silver at the World Youth championship
Trainer: Darnell Smith
Cutman: “Tony or Peter Sims.”
Strengths: Slick skills and boxing IQ. He’s only 23 – but has been boxing for a long time.
Weaknesses: Gets dragged into fights and has been cut
Punch power: The nickname is ‘Can Bang’ and he’s a stiff hitter with both hands
Speed: Sharp hands and feet
Stamina: Unproven, but fought five times in seven days during his amateur career
THINGS YOU DIDN’T KNOW
Walk on music: “Only Fools Rush In, the Sunderland FC anthem.”
Football team: “Sunderland.”
Personal & Family life: “I’ve got two sisters and six brothers.”
Music: “Relaxing stuff like Bob Marley and Tracy Chapman, stuff that relaxes me and takes my mind off boxing.”
Fashion: “Jeans and T shirt.”
Toughest moment: “The hardest thing for me has been the lack of opportunities since I turned pro. I have been wanting to push on and show what I can do, but haven’t had the chance and Ultimate Boxxer will give me that.”
Best moment: “Coming to Essex and starting to train with Darnell Smith.”
Aspirations: “To be a world champion. That’s the difference between me and the other lads in Ultimate Boxxer.”
Nutrition: “I have a nutritionist who looks after me. Every meal is calculated so I have the exact amount of calories. It’s all fish and chicken and sometimes I have a vegan diet.”
Family Make-up: “I’ve got a big family. I lost my older brother, Luke, in 2009. We were best mates and it hit me hard.”
What got you into boxing? “Growing up, I was always fighting my brother and watching the ‘Rocky’ films. I always wanted to fight.”
Who was your favourite fighter? “Manny Pacquiao. He went from the very bottom to the top. He proved anything’s possible.”
Amateur record and achievements? “69 bouts, 60 wins. I won European Junior gold and World Junior silver and was part of the Great Britain Development squad.”
What are your best assets as a fighter? “I can adapt. Whatever anyone brings, I can do it better.”
What do you know about other fighters in Ultimate Boxxer? “I will let them worry about me. I’m confident in my abilities and
Goals in boxing? “The world title.”
Who would you like to fight after UB? “I’m mandatory for the English title, so I guess that will be next. I want the fights that let me show people how good I am. Ultimate Boxxer is perfect for me.”
Nickname? “Isaac ‘Can Bang’ Macleod. My lass gave me the name!”
Favourite TV show? “I used to watch Jeremy Kyle all the time, but now I’m addicted to ‘Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares.’”
Favourite meal when not in camp? “Thai food.”
Hobbies? “I’ve got a couple of close friends I like to go and see and we sometimes go to watch the football.”
Today’s Ultimate Boxxer contender Kaisee Benjamin explains how his brains (a little beauty) and admiration for Vasyl Lomachenko will take him to crowning glory in Ultimate Boxxer.
ULTIMATE BOXXER I will take place at the Manchester Arena on April 27. Tickets are available from ultimateboxxer.com