Boxing beckons for Brit bruiser

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Growing up on the gritty streets of Manchester, British Muay Thai fighter Rob Horrocks learnt all about the importance of determination as a youngster. He tells Joshua Walton about his journey to become a pro fighter, the benefits of combat sports and the prospect of him boxing professionally

Queenstowner Rob ‘El Hurto’ Horrocks discovered his true calling when he first jumped in the ring at the tender age of 11.

That’s when he fought in his first amateur Muay Thai bout.

The 29-year-old manager of Industrial Fitness gym says it took a “bit of convincing” for his parents to let him fight.

“It’s hard for me to watch my best mates fight. For them to watch their son fight, it’s solid isn’t it?”

Horrocks went on to win amateur European and British titles and an English title as a professional.

Major milestone: Rob Horrocks celebrates winning his professional title match against Alex Bublea in Manchester

He says he won titles in three different weights, but also had title fights he “got battered in”.

Being raised in Manchester, he felt there were two main sporting options available – football or boxing.

“I’ve always followed boxing. I used to have a floor to ceiling Muhammad Ali poster.

“I’m from north Manchester. With the reputation there, you are probably going to fight anyway, so it’s better to do it in the ring.

“I definitely wasn’t a little angel but I was always surrounded by really positive people.”

He takes a lot of inspiration from his old trainer, who gave him some harsh words to keep him focused, as well as his first pro fight.

“He spoke my language.”

Horrocks travelled to Glasgow, Scotland, for his first pro fight at the age of 16, which he says was a “mad experience” he was proud to win.

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joshua.walton@scene.co.nz