BASILDON boxer Mark Quirey will be aiming to roll back the years on Friday when he fights for an Eastern region title.
Berry Boys ABC coach Quirey faces Norfolk champion Ben Roberts in the Eastern Counties ABA elite super-heavyweight final on Canvey.
But despite being 15 years younger and two stone lighter than Roberts, Quirey is hoping to progress in the national competition.
“He has not got a chance – at least, that’s what I’m hoping,” joked Quirey, who will be five days away from his 40th birthday when he steps into the ring.
“Roberts has not got a lot of experience and I’m hoping to make that count.
“He has done some unlicensed fights but only four proper amateur bouts, so I reckon my experience will give me a huge advantage.”
Quirey has clocked up 79 amateur bouts, 39 gym shows and two professional fights since he took up the sport more than 30 years ago.
He was Eastern Counties champion six years ago and reached the national final in 1998 and 2000 before turning pro.
And he will be aiming to eventually follow club-mate and friend Stuart St John to be a national ABA champ, after St John won the heavyweight crown in 1999.
Quirey has been training five days a week, also doing double sessions, while also coaching other fighters at the club in Valance Way, Langdon Hills.
“I have been training very hard and my dad, Ned, is on my back making sure I am fit and ready,” added Quirey.
“My trainer is my dad and I have been boxing with him since I was seven and he knows how to motivate me.
“A few people have said ‘why are you returning?’ but I think I have got a good chance – I would not bother getting in the ring otherwise.”
Quirey had his final sparring session with Southend ABC club captain Gary Daley on Monday night.
It was valuable experience as he took the Essex title without throwing a punch because there were no other fighters in the division.
And he has had trouble getting a fight on a show card in the run-up to his title fight as most other super heavyweights are still in the ABAs and did not want to risk getting cuts or other injuries as they will be fighting without head guards.
Quirey has studied Roberts’ fights on You Tube and sees the Norfolk fighter as a “big banger” but hopes to have the measure of the 123kg pugilist on Friday evening.
Quirey’s fight is one of six Eastern Region finals being hosted by Canvey ABC at The Paddocks, in Long Road, Canvey, from 7.30pm. Tickets are £15 on the door and concessions are available.