Shane McPhilbin Interview
By: Peter Van-Leyden
Peter Van Leyden talks with former British Cruiserweight Champion Shane McPhilbin who took a break from his busy training schedule to discuss his career so far. Shane is challenging for his old Lonsdale belt he controversially lost to Welshman Enzo Maccarinelli. During this fight the time keepers officiating had to be brought into question and this included calling the end of the round early when Maccarinelli was almost surely in a very vulnerable position as he hit the deck after getting wobbled by a thudding left hook that invited him to the canvass. Enzo quickly rose before wisely deciding to sink to his knee and take the rest of the count given by referee Ian John Lewis, rising at nine. This is where round one ended abruptly forty seven seconds early that astonished everybody in attendance. Shane eventually lost this fight by point’s decision that was a gruelling contest for both boxers involved.
How did it all begin and when was your first time in a boxing gym?
It started when I was eight years old my father used to run a boxing club and after he observed me on the bag he said you’re going to train every week now. When I was ten years old I had my first ever fight. I boxed for a club called Bulwell Amateur Boxing in Nottinghamshire. Del Bryan came from this club but it was called the red lion back then. I had twelve junior fights and the rest of my bouts were at senior level. I packed up for a bit from boxing at the age of fifteen but my hunger for the game returned at eighteen. I had a total of forty six fights in the unpaid ranks. I got to the novice national finals and was a senior national championship semi-finalist. I was defeated by Tyson Fury and I boxed Tyson three times losing all three contests however I believe the first fight was close. I also boxed for a club called St. George Boxing Club and my coach then was a trainer called Paul Singleton.
What weight were you competing at while you were amateur?
I was a Super Heavyweight and I have always been a heavy individual. I started out at ninety-six kilo’s and increased it up to one hundred and twenty but I will be honest not all of it was muscle.
Do you miss fighting as an amateur?
I think I do miss it but because of the compulsory head-guards that need to be worn by amateur boxers now I wanted to fight without them as I always seemed to have issues with the equipment not fitting correctly, if it was not for head-guards I think I still would have been an amateur boxer and that’s why I decided to turn professional really. I lost a lot of weight so I decided to think about my boxing career either I would pack it all in or go professional. I decided to have a go at the pros and see how I get on.
You’re doing very well and it would be fair to say you have already exceeded your expectations. But this is not a bad thing as you have your feet on the floor with no ego and this is a fine quality to have.
Yes all I wanted to do is have a couple of fights then maybe fight for a midlands title. I got a shot at the midland title and won it. One more fight after my Midlands title success I got a shot at the British Cruiserweight title against Leon Williams and the fight took place at the popular small hall venue of York Hall in Bethnal Green London. I won the fight against Williams and everything took off from there really.
What is your main focus now?
I’m presently in training for another challenge at the British Cruiserweight title against Jon-Lewis Dickinson in October and the fight is scheduled to take place in Liverpool. I started sparring today and looking forward to the fight with Jon. I’m looking at winning the belt back and take things from there but I’m not looking beyond my fight in October as this is my main focus at the moment. I’m fighting against big lads and know anything can happen so I don’t take anything for granted. If I look beyond this fight I know I will get beaten.
Are you a full time professional boxer?
Yes I’m full time and I get by however it is not easy but sometimes you have to make sacrifices to achieve your ambitions. I have to pay the bills just like everybody else. I have a daughter and another kid on the way.
You have come through some tough contests in your career, who would you consider your toughest opponent you have faced in your career so far?
My toughest opponent would be Michal Skierniewski simply because he was tough and it was my first fight as a professional. I won that fight in the 4th round by a technical knockout.
If you could fight anybody in history who would it be against?
It would have to be Muhammad Ali and Rocky Marciano. Enzo was one of my favourite boxers and that’s why I took the fight with him. I was living my dream fighting one of my favourite boxers and how many times would this happen during a boxer’s career.
The forty seven seconds early ending to the first round looks like it may have changed the pattern of the fight, contributing immensely to Enzo recovering from the first knockdown quicker as it looked like the finish was there for the taking. You almost certainly appeared to be in a favourable position to end the fight should the round not have ended so early due to the time keeper’s error.
I feel I would have finished the fight if the round did not end prematurely.
You have been in prizefighter? Please tell us more about this experience.
I had only three fights before I was entered into prizefighter and I had just signed with Carl Greaves at the time after leaving my previous manager. I had not been in the gym for three months but when I was asked if I wanted to be involved with prizefighter I said yes. At first I was a reserve boxer however somebody had pulled out so I was given the opportunity to compete.
You did not expect that to happen did you?
No and it was the biggest thing that had ever happened to me at this point in my career.
I think it helped you as there was no expectation to be involved and didn’t allow you to get a big ego or cocky and you remained humble and down to earth?
There is no point in building an ego while getting cocky trash talking telling everybody what you’re going to do and if you lose you’re going to make yourself look silly. Prizefighter was a brilliant experience for me and got my name out into the boxing world. People had more of an idea who I was when I challenged for the British title because of it. I won my first fight against an undefeated Irish kid and then I faced Michael Sprott in my next fight. I think I showed too much respect in the Sprott fight. If I avoided doing this I am not saying I would have beaten Sprott but feel it would have been a much closer fight.
What fight do you believe taught you the most as a fighter?
The Michael Sprott fight taught me the most and if I could rematch anybody I think it would have to be each loss I have suffered during my professional career.
Who would you say has been the biggest influence in your career such as a role model?
Do you have any nicknames Shane?
Yes my nickname is Mr Block.
Do you have any favourite fighters?
Yes I enjoy watching boxers called Jodie Michael and Ryan Clarke and I can’t get enough of watching each respective fighter’s contests when they are competing in the ring.
Many thanks for your time in allowing this interview to take place Shane your time is greatly appreciated.