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Former Southend United star Leo Roget's new career in the boxing ring
FORMER Southend United defender Leo Roget has swapped football boots for the boxing ring and will have his first ever professional fight next month.
Roget made 139 appearances during a six year spell with the Shrimpers.
But his sights are now set on securing success in a different sport and Roget believes he has the talent to make it happen.
“I’ve never lacked confidence in anything I’ve done before and it’s the same with boxing, I want to win a belt and win some kind of title,” said the 36-year-old, who came through the youth system at Roots Hall.
“I’ve won all three of the amateur fights I’ve had and I’ve held my own sparring against boxers who have fought for world titles so I seem to be quite good at it.
“I’ll keep going until someone more knowledgeable than me tells me I can’t go any further in the sport but I’m training hard and improving all the time.”
Roget has worked as a personal trainer since retiring from football in 2008.
And, it was in his current role at the Ripped Gym in Harlow, that Roget discovered his fighting capabilities.
“The gym is run by ex WBO world middleweight champion Jason Matthews and I saw everyone heading in for the boxing classes we run and decided to give it a go,” said Roget.
“It’s all snowballed from there and it’s great because I’m now getting that adrenaline and euphoria that I haven’t had in my life since giving up football.”
But Roget is not the only ex footballer now fighting in the boxing ring as ex Sheffield United midfielder Curtis Woodhouse and former Norwich City striker Leon McKenzie are also doing likewise.
And Roget has been in touch with both of those boxers.
“I played around the same time as Leon so we’ve been mates a while and will go to each other’s fights now,” said Roget, who now lives in Old Harlow.
“Funnily enough, Curtis was in the team when I played my last ever serious football appearance at Rushden & Diamonds.
“He was in the changing room saying he had fallen out of love with football and wanted to box.
“I thought he was mad but the next time I saw him was on Twitter and he was the English champion, so hopefully I can do just as well.”
Roget was known for regularly losing his cool during his spell with the Shrimpers and was shown 32 yellow and three red cards.
He was also memorably involved in an altercation with Barnet’s players which resulted him smashing up their stereo at the end of a fiery encounter at Underhill.
But Roget insists he cannot afford to lose his cool in the ring, despite the more aggressive nature of the sport.
“Funnily enough the worst thing you can do in boxing is lose your temper so I won’t be doing that,” said Roget.
“It’s very tactical and like a game of chess in many ways because you have to try and get your opponent to do what you want them to do.
“I’ll need to keep calm and I’d also like to put the record right and say I was just misunderstood when I was playing!”
Roget will be fighting a cruiserweight battle on Saturday November 16 at York Hall, in Bethnal Green.
And he would love to have a group of Southend fans cheering him on.
“My time with Southend was the best of my whole career and it would be great if we could get a blue army at my fight to support me,” said Roget.
“I made my debut for the club when we won 3-0 at Charlton to go 10th in the Championship and that was fantastic.
“My mates all like to tell me that it was downhill all the way after that but I was at my happiest when I was at Southend and went down to watch their game against Bristol Rovers a couple of weeks ago.
“I hope they can get back up the leagues but I don’t miss playing anymore, especially now I’m boxing.”
For details on how to attend Roget’s forthcoming fight visit his Facebook page – Leo Roget professional boxer - or on Twitter @leorojet