Veteran Belper boxer poised for Derby showdown

Gary Beardsley.
Gary Beardsley.
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If you need proof that life begins at 40, then buy a ticket for Gary Beardsley’s next fight.

At the age of 45, he’s still bashing up opponents half his age.

More than a decade ago, Beardsley hung up his gloves after a 26-fight ring career that included winning British Masters honours and claiming a big upset win in front of the BBC cameras.

Earlier this year, he returned to action in Derby and not only did he win, the Belper veteran was also one of the best boxers on the EBF-sanctioned bill.

He was too strong and busy for an opponent around 20 years his junior - and that performance has convinced Beardlsey to fight again at RollerWorld this Saturday (November 15).

“Boxing never leaves you, I suppose,” he said.

“I started training last year, then started thinking about boxing again.”

“I trained very hard for my last fight. The lad I fought was very tough, but I was in shape and knew a bit too much.”

Beardsley has a scrapbook full of memories from his boxing career - and admits he wishes he could turn back the clock.

He didn’t make his amateur debut until he was 24 and admitted: “If I had started younger, I might have done better.

“I think I would have got to British-title level.

“I had the right attitude and trained hard, but I lacked a bit of know how.

“By the time I had picked up experience, it was a bit too late for me.”

Nevertheless, Beardsley still won the British Masters light-middleweight title, shared a ring with world-class Howard Eastman - and scalped hot London prospect Matthew Thirlwall in front of the cameras.

Beardsley and Thirlwall shared two thrilling fights in 2003.

Thirlwall went into their first fight as a former amateur star unbeaten in five fights - and Beardsley out toughed him in a give-and-take six rounder.

The rematch went Thirlwall’s way, but only after Beardsley had dropped him.

“I think he was used to blowing people away,” said Beardsley, “And was a bit surprised when I stood up to him.”

Looking ahead, Beardsley concedes his boxing career is nearing its end.

He will donate his earnings from next month’s fight to the NSPCC and said: “I’m still up for this fight, but I feel as though I’ve made my point and I probably won’t be around much longer.”

The show in Derby also features Nathan Ward, the EBF British and International heavyweight champion.

For tickets call 07722 327963.