When 31 year old Scott Lawton steps onto the national stage on Saturday he will be cheered on by almost 2000 fans as he strives to become the first man to beat Amir Khan in the professional ring. Thousands more Potters will be glued to TV sets in pubs throughout the city or at home as their local hero pursues his goal to become the first North Staffordshire boxer to win a major title for 85 years..
As a result of the phenomenal demand for tickets in the area Sports Network (the promoter) and Nottingham Ice Arena have agreed to seat Lawton’s fans together in the unrestricted part of the arena. Lawton’s fans will be seated in blocks 4, 6 and 7.
“I have been overwhelmed by the support that I’ve received from everyone.” Said Scott today, “I’ve been totally amazed by the number of tickets that we’ve sold and the phone is still ringing. I’ve also lost count of the number of people who’ve stopped me in the street or the supermarket to wish me luck.”
“Judging by the ticket sales I’m going to have more fans cheering me on than any of Amir’s previous opponents and that can only help me. All I ask is that everyone makes as much noise as possible; it’ll be easier now everyone is sitting together. I always get a big following but on Saturday it’s going to be bigger than ever and I’ll get a tremendous boost. If I’m going to win it will be my fans that make the difference.”
“The Potteries is a great place to live and the people are wonderful and I will be so proud when I walk out on Saturday knowing that they are all behind me. Throughout my career I’ve always said that I want to do something for the people of Stoke and this is my chance; I don’t intend to miss out.”
“Scott’s training has gone according to plan and he’s ready,” reports Impact Boxing’s head coach, Lindon Newbon. “He will finish training tomorrow with a light session and then he has the remainder of the week to rest.”
“Scott is going there as an 8/1 outsider but he’s used to that and he always raises his game for the big occasion. I’ve never known him more motivated and I am confident he will put on a good showing. We have a game plan and we are going to Nottingham to win. Everyone in the gym has pulled together and we are determined that Scott will return to Stoke with the Commonwealth belt.”
The Prince and the Pauper – Amir Khan and Scott Lawton
Over the last two years Olympic silver medallist Amir Khan has performed his own form of alchemy by turning his runners-up medal into gold. By signing professional terms with Frank Warren and by becoming the darling of the media Khan has already become financially secure.
The Bolton fighter has won all 13 of his professional starts to date with 10 of his victories coming within the distance. Last time out he got up of the canvas to recover and stop champion Willie Limmond to secure the Commonwealth lightweight title.
Khan’s financial success has arisen not only as a consequence of his promotional deal with Sports Network but also from lucrative sponsorship and media contracts. In a nation in which celebrity culture is becoming ever more prominent and which increasingly elevates sporting heroes into super-stardom Amir Khan fits the bill perfectly. Amir Khan is now one of the most recognisable sportsmen in the UK.
20 year old Khan can now lives the lifestyle that the vast majority of his peers can only dream of. Driving expensive cars and sporting exclusive jewellery are just the most visible trappings of Amir’s wealth. Khan stands out from many other celebrities however; he boasts a clean living life and remains closely in touch with his roots. Furthermore, Amir Khan has declared an ambition to give something back to the community in which he grew up.
Khan has recently invested in the region of £700,000 into opening a gym in his hometown. One of his avowed aims is to help young people in a deprived area to break the cycle of under achievement and he sees his new gym as a means of doing this.
By contrast Khan’s next opponent, Stoke’s Scott Lawton, is almost unknown outside North Staffordshire and lives a modest lifestyle. Until recently Lawton was working full-time as a welder having to train in the evenings.
Two years ago Lawton set up Impact Boxing with local solicitor Mick Carney. During this period the pair have set up a gym that now boasts 8 professionals and have promoted 7 shows in Stoke-on-Trent with an eighth being scheduled for 26th October.
Lawton too has declared an intention to give something back to his local community and has already spent many hours working with disaffected youths. Lawton has been involved in schemes to help young offenders and is a regular guest at on of the city’s special needs schools. Impact Boxing has recently moved to larger premises and plans a number of schemes to provide opportunities to young people.
“I think what Amir is aiming to do is fantastic”, said Lawton, “It’s exactly what I’ve been trying to do in Stoke for the last two years and what I’ve been aiming to do for a lot longer. The difference between us is that Amir has the resources and I don’t. Mick and I have had to use all of our spare cash to set up the gym and I’ve done most of the renovation work myself with my dad and the help of some of the lads from the gym. It means that we’ll achieve the same aims, it just might take us a little longer.”
“There is a lot of deprivation in Stoke and a lot of kids get into trouble because they have nothing to do. I want our gym to give these kids somewhere to go and I want it to be somewhere where they can learn good values. Boxing offers a lot of benefits; apart from the fitness and healthy living aspects of the sport it teaches commitment and self-discipline, it also teaches respect for others and self respect. As a result it can be great for raising people’s self-esteem.”
“Some might say that Amir is fortunate to have the cash available but he’s earned it and it’s great that he’s giving some of it back. I’m fortunate too, as well as having unbelievable support from my family I also have a great team of people around me and together we have built a strong family atmosphere in the gym. We are all pulling together to reach the same goals.”
“The fight with Amir is enabling me to raise my profile and the profile of Impact Boxing which means we can tell more people about what we are planning to do here in Stoke. It will also provide me with the cash to finish off the new gym.”
“I’m now getting more support from people in the city than I’ve ever had before, it looks like I’ll have something like 2000 fans cheering for me in Nottingham. That can only be good for boxing in Stoke. We haven’t had a champion here for 85 years but that’s because there hasn’t been a pro gym. Success breeds success and I’m confident that we will soon be producing a string of champions from Stoke.”
Tickets for the fight which takes place at Nottingham Ice Arena on 6th October are still available from Impact boxing and can be booked by calling 0770 944 9279 or by visiting www.impactboxing.com