Decorated amateur, Matthew Rennie, will begin his pro career at the Liverpool Olympia on November 30.
The first fighter from the Isle of Man to ever box for England, and a Commonwealth Youth Games Silver Medallist, Rennie is now fighting under the VIP Promotions banner and promoter Steve Wood is delighted to have him in the stable:
“I’m looking forward to Matthew’s journey; to see how far we can take him. He’s proved in the amateurs he has plenty of talent, and I’m sure he’ll have lots of success in the pros. We’ve got an excellent headliner on this card, with Liverpool’s Tom McGuinness against local rival, Colin Day. And there’s some real talent on the undercard too, including former Commonwealth Lightweight Champ Sean ‘Masher’ Dodd. So, this will be a good night for Matthew to make his debut.”
Rennie boxed all over the world in the unpaid, amateur code. The 20-year-old is now based in Liverpool, after relocating from the Isle of Man, and says he has a fan-friendly style that he is hoping will take him to the top of the game.
“I got a bit stale, and I knew if I wanted to do anything in boxing then I had to get off the Island to achieve bigger things,” said Rennie, who started boxing aged just seven. “So, I came to Liverpool and joined the Salisbury Amateur Boxing Club. I had a few fights for them but eventually decided I was going to turn pro and put one hundred per cent into it. And I think I’m getting a decent head start because in a few years I’ll have some good experience behind me.
“I’m not your normal come-forward, or backwards, kind of fighter. I’m a bit in the middle and try to do a bit of everything, and I have a lot of different skills. But I think I’ll be good to watch though.
“I like all the ‘old school’ boxers like Muhammad Ali and Pernell Whitaker, and I try to take bit from all of them and put it into my style, if I can.
“My dad is normal working-class guy, and he’s instilled in me about getting your head down and working your way up. So, I have set myself goals, but I don’t want to say I’m going to do this or that. I’ll keep going, see how far I can get and I’ll aim for the moon because if I don’t land on it then I’ll land on a star at least!
“I just can’t wait to debut at the Olympia. I’ve done all the training, and it’s all gone well. It’s going to be a bit of a shock when I’m there, the realisation of when I get in the ring, but it’s something I’ve dreamt of.”
After appearing on the big stage, you might think Sean Dodd would be reluctant to go back to the small hall circuit again. For the last few years, the 34-year-old has been a regular fixture on big arena shows live on Sky Sports, but ‘Masher’ says he can’t wait to tread the boards again at the Liverpool Olympia on November 30.
The upcoming VIP Promotions card is headlined by a fan-friendly clash between local prospects Liverpool’s Tom McGuinness and Skelmersdale’s Colin Day yet, despite being a former Commonwealth Lightweight and WBC International Champion, Dodd has no problems appearing on the undercard and knows from experience the atmosphere will be electric.
“To be honest, I’m more excited to be on a small hall show,” said the popular Birkenhead fighter. “I’m looking forward to being in the thick of it amongst all the up and coming local talent. I know what the atmosphere will be like – it will be really lively – because these shows are what I had to do to earn the Sky Sports shots. To be honest it can be a bit lonely on those big shows. I’ve been looking forward to getting back on the VIP shows for a while now, I really have.”
Dodd, 15-4-1 (3), goes into the Olympia show on the back of two losses. In August he was beaten by rising star Joe Cordina; but losing his Commonwealth belt inside-the-distance to Hull’s Tommy Coyle in April is a defeat that still smarts.
With wins over former GB Team Captain, Tom Stalker, and the new European champion Francesco Patera on his ledger, as well as two highly contentious losses to Scott Cardle – Masher is still convinced he has more to give, and says his chase for titles isn’t finished yet.
“When I first started boxing I was doing it for the love of it and for how it was changing my life around. But then I started learning and improving and beating people that, on paper, should have been wiping the floor with me, and I was winning titles. I’ve won the Commonwealth and the WBC International, I’ve beaten a former world title challenger, and the current European champion. It’s definitely made me realise that there’s more to me.
“I lost to Tommy Coyle, and I’ll never take credit away from him, but Tommy didn’t beat me at my best. I defended the Commonwealth belt fantastically against Tom Stalker, but I just wasn’t there for the Coyle fight. Tommy beat me fairly, but to lose it knowing I wasn’t in there giving myself the best chance is hard.
“In my head, Patera is now the European champion and I’ve beaten him, and if I’d done what I know I’m capable of then I could have beaten Tommy Coyle as well. So, I feel that I want to go and win the European Title now, and I’d still like to win the British as well. I’ve got my heart set on the European or British, either one. It feels like I should have had the British before anyway [against Scott Cardle]; I feel I was robbed of that, and I do feel like I can go to European level.”
“It’s good to have Masher on this Liverpool show,” said promoter Steve Wood. “He’s had a great career already, and has some good wins. When you look at what Patera did to Lewis Ritson recently, then you can see how good Masher’s win over him now looks.
“He also should have been the British champion when most people thought he won the second Cardle fight. He recently accepted a fight with Cardle on the Bellew and Usyk undercard at just ten days notice, but Cardle’s team opted for Ricky Burns instead. We’ll ease Masher back in, then go chasing belts again in 2019.
“I’m really looking forward to this Liverpool card, the headliner between McGuinness and Day will be a great clash of styles, it’s a 50-50 fight and both will give it everything. And with the likes of Masher on the undercard, it’s going to be a really good night of boxing.”
VIP Promotions presents an evening of boxing at the Liverpool Olympia on November 30.
Headlining will be Liverpool’s Tom McGuinness versus Sklemersdale’s Colin Day.
Also appearing will be Liverpool’s Luke Willis, Sean Cairns, Marcel Braithwaite, Jay Farrell, Matthew Rennie and James Collins; Birkenhead’s Sean Dodd; Wales’ Cameron Halfpenny; and Warrington’s Mike Mckay.
Tickets priced at £30, £35, £40 and £60 (ringside) are available from all boxers, or at vipboxing.tv
The show will also be streamed live and free at vipboxing.tv