Joshua McLaren believes he is in safe hands as he works with Shrewsbury Town goalkeeper, Joe Anyon.
The Shrews stopper is acting as strength and conditioning coach for the Stoke welterweight as he prepares for his fifth professional fight.
The pair forged a close bond during Anyon’s time as a youth team player at McLaren’s local club, Port Vale. During pre-season, Anyon would visit the same boxing gym as McLaren – Scott Lawton’s Impact Gym – and the pair have remained close since.
“Joe is a good friend and a great strength and conditioning coach,” McLaren told www.uko-boxing.com. “I do my boxing work at Fight Factory in Stoke and then I do my work with Joe. We met as kids. He used to come in the boxing gym over the summer to keep fit and we just hit it off.
“I did a lot of work with him before my last fight and I felt super strong. My opponent, Matt Seawright, came in half a stone heavier than me but that didn’t bother me because I felt in such good condition.
“My sponsors, JCB, have paid for us both to use the Nuffield Health Fitness & Wellbeing Centre in Stoke, so I’m getting some good sessions in.
“Obviously Joe is a professional athlete so he knows what it takes to excel in sport. He’s really knowledgeable and it’s great to have him on board.”
McLaren puts his undefeated 4-0 record to the test when he steps in with Gloucester’s Louis Van Poetch on EJKO Promotions’ ‘MayDay’ show at Walsall Town Hall on Friday, 16th May.
The Frank Warren-signed welterweight defeated Matt Seawright at the Town Hall in March and will be looking for a similar result against serving soldier, Van Poetch.
“I remember Louis from the amateurs,” added McLaren. “He’s been in with good fighters and looks like he’s really brave. He looks like he fights with his face a bit but he’s as tough as they come.
“He’s a soldier so he’ll be fit. It’s a bit of a step up for me but I’m ready for the test. I need to be fighting guys who come to win and Louis will definitely be doing that.”
Jason Welborn and Luke Paddock top the Mayday bill. The Black Country duo both face Bulgarian opposition in Stanislav Nenkov and Kristian Dochev respectively.
The undercard sees Wolverhampton brothers Des & Sid Bowater take on Kristian Laight (Nuneaton) and Matt Seawright (Tamworth) respectively whilst Stafford’s Rob Hunt takes on Halesowen-based Kevin McCauley.
Tickets, priced at £30 and £60 Ringside, are available from Walsall Town Hall Box Office on 0845 111 2900. The aftershow party takes place at the Pitch Sports Bar and Grill on Bridge Street, Walsall, and the show will be aired live and exclusive on BBC WM’s DAB Digital Service and online at www.bbc.co.uk/wm