By John Hannen: Newcastle’s Andrew Buchanan has returned to the fight game after an eight year break and is looking better than ever. After turning pro in 2000, Buchanan racked up a 4-1 (2) ledger before injury problems, managerial disputes, and the onset of family-life all coincided to see him drift away from the sport in 2005.
Now, after teaming up with trainer Micky Duncan, the former England international is back punching for pay and feels completely rejuvenated. On his May ring-return, at Newcastle’s O2 Academy, Andrew looked as sharp as a tack beating Sheffield journeyman Dean Walker, and the 33-year-old was naturally delighted with his punch-perfect performance.
“It was good to get back in and shake off the rust,” said Andrew, who won 100 of 120 amateur bouts. “I was disappointed because I hurt my hand in the second round so I couldn’t let my shots go properly, but I was happy with the four rounds and it was a good, positive experience.
“I’ve been working on my fitness and it’s paid off. When I was a pro before I slacked off a bit and just relied on natural ability, but I’m working really hard now and I’m enjoying the sport. I’ve got the passion back and hopefully that will show when I fight.
“The break has done me the world of good. I’m at a point in my life where I feel happy, settled, and I love my family and my life. I work at Nissan so my shifts allow me to train, and I’ve still got my family life. I was probably a bit naïve when I went into the pro game, but I’ve matured, and the reason I’m back now is because I love the sport. There’s nothing expected of me, unlike last time.”
Unwilling to tread water, Andrew gets a huge test in his next outing when he battles Sunderland’s five-fight undefeated prospect, Jonson McClumpha. In a cracking Tyne-Wear derby scrap, the pair will clash on Pro Box North East’s ‘Summer Rumble’ show at the Stadium of Light on July 7.
With Jonson, 22, also a former star-amateur, Andrew knows he is in for a really tough examination. Not fazed though, even by fighting in his opponent’s back-yard, ‘El Cannon’ is pleased to be involved in a genuine 50-50 encounter and is predicting a fantastic fight for the fans.
“Since I’ve been matched with Jonson I’ve had a look at one of his fights on YouTube and he’s an impressive fighter. He’s young, hungry, and a prospect. He’s a good lad, inside and outside the ring, and has got a good reputation. I’m expecting nothing less than a very tough fight. It’ll be a cracker and I think our styles and backgrounds will make for a brilliant fight.
“I’ve always boxed in people’s back yards. When I was an amateur I boxed other champions in their back yards, so it’s nothing new to me. It just means the pressure will be on Jonson more than me. I have good banter working at Nissan and it’s a good rivalry between Newcastle and Sunderland; it just adds that extra bit of spice to it.
“I can’t wait. This fight is ideal to make a name for myself on the national scene. I’m confident in my training and my ability, as Jonson is. We’re both going in to win. I haven’t got the time, or the will, to build up my record with fights you know you’re going to win before you go in there. If you want to be a fighter then you should want to fight the best and beat the best – that’s what it’s all about.”
“Andrew has looked impressive since returning to boxing and there’s no doubt that he means business,” said promoter Phil Jeffries. “Jonson is very talented too and I think this fight could well be the best fight we see in the North East this year. Neither of these lads wants easy tests and it’s a credit to both of them that they’re prepared to face each other.”
Pro Box North East’s ‘Summer Rumble’, at Sunderland’s Stadium of Light on July 7, will feature fighters from across the region including Sunderland’s Jonson McClumpha, Kirk Goodings and Lee Mould; Newcastle’s Andrew Buchanan; South Shields’ Anthony Nelson; Middlesbrough’s Mohammed Waqas; Hartlepool’s Peter Cope; County Durham’s Ben Jackson, Tommy Ward, and English bantamweight champ Martin Ward. While Anthony Hardy and Michael Hadfield will both make debuts.
Tickets are available from all boxers or by calling 0774 7611 020.