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02 OCTOBER 2014

 

Rendall Munroe and Leicester


Munroe Rendall is a man of the people
Munroe Rendall is a man of the people

By Daley James Francis : Sometimes a fighter comes along who captures the imagination of a city or region and reinvigorates interest in the sport of boxing in their area. In the nineties, ‘Prince’ Naseem Hamed created a surge of interest in his native Sheffield and more recently, Ricky Hatton revitalised Manchester’s fighting scene.

Rendall Munroe is a fighter who has become an inspiration for young people across Leicester. Since his emergence on the world scene in 2008, when he sprang one of the surprises of the year by defeating the then-unbeaten and much-feared Spaniard Kiko Martinez (who had blitzed Ireland’s touted Bernard Dunne in ninety seconds in his previous fight) in only his 15th pro start, Munroe has kept his feet firmly on the ground, even continuing his job as a binman. He embraced his moniker as ‘The Boxing Binman’, with him and his corner men wearing fluorescent yellow binman jackets as they enter the ring.

Munroe’s attitude has not been lost on the rest of the UK’s boxing fraternity. He won the BBBofC Fighter of the Year in 2010 and received accolades from everybody from journalists to reigning WBA heavyweight champion David Haye. His old school approach to living well, training hard and fighting all comers saw him travelling to Japan for his WBC title bout with reigning champion Toshiaki Nishioka in October. He lost the decision, but gained the respect of fight fans around the world for his willingness to travel for his opportunity against the best fighter at the weight.

Back in Leicester, Munroe received an Honoured Citizen Award from Lord Mayor Colin Hall in January of this year, in recognition of his work in promoting the city.


Serina Leeanne and Stuart Phillips have run the New Parks Community Boxing Gym in Leicester since April 2008, helping to curb antisocial behaviour and crime in the local area. They believe that Rendall Munroe has helped promote a positive attitude that is helping to inspire the young people of Leicester.
“Rendall has a really positive attitude towards young people and as a result has become a fabulous role model,” said Serina.

“When we set up our gym, Rendall was not as well known as he is today. We invited him to our open day, and as a result of him attending we signed up 250 young people that day. He was more than happy to sign autographs, have pictures taken and even let young people hold his belt. Even when he became more established, he attended a presentation the gym held to award young people for turning their lives around and gaining qualifications in boxing. Rendall’s attendance had a real impact on people, and they have not looked back.”

Rendall Munroe’s broad appeal is perhaps best summed up by his manager, Mike Shinfield, who said: "Rendall is one of the people. He isn’t a superstar who struts about. He just comes across as an ordinary lad."

That is why he’s Leicester’s champion, regardless of the belt he wears around his waist.

February 28, 2011


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