ONCE they were fierce rivals in the ring, now they have formed a close alliance...
Blackpool cruiserweight Matty Askin has a new trainer in former ABA champion and professional heavyweight Mathew Ellis.
They were ring adversaries back in April, 2010, when Askin stopped Ellis inside a round at Robin Park, Wigan.
But now Ellis, recently granted his trainer’s licence by the British Boxing Board Of Control, is to be in Askin’s corner, starting at the big Winter Gardens show in Blackpool on October 5.
It will be Askin’s first fight since his chastening defeat by Jon-Lewis Dickinson in Oldham which almost forced him to quit the ring. It will be Ellis’ ‘debut’ as a pro trainer.
Askin says a chance meeting with Ellis in the gym and their subsequent link-up has given him a new lease of life.
The South Shore fighter, who has parted company with his former trainer Bob Shannon, said: “It has been an amicable split but it was not working out. Bob is training Ricky Hatton and is concentrating on that now.
“When I was with Bob, I was having to travel over to Manchester and all it was doing was emptying my bank balance when I could have been staying in Blackpool to train.
“Mathew and I both trained at the same gym, SharpStyle on Lytham Road. We met there and it went from there.
“Everything has worked out well between us. Mathew is working me hard and getting me up early in the morning to train.
“I was very low after I lost to Dickinson, and it did cross my mind about giving up boxing because I was thinking all sorts of things. I didn’t want to become some ordinary journeyman boxer, but now I have got a smile back on my face.
“Being trained by someone with Mathew’s record as a fighter can only help me.”
Ellis’ licence to be in the corner at professional shows came through a week ago and he is devoting himself exclusively to Askin at this stage.
Ellis said: “I can bring a wealth of knowledge and experience for Matt. I have boxed all over the world, and I am sure that Matty has it in him to win a British title and even go on to be a world champion.”
The Dickinson reverse is the only blot on Askin’s record, having won all 13 fights prior to that, though the convincing points defeat put him out of the picture for an immediate British title shot.
Having Ellis in the corner adds extra spice to the October 5 Blackpool promotion, when the bill-topper is the intriguing contest between British light-middleweight champion Brian Rose and ‘Vicious’ Vivian Harris, the Guyana-born former world champion.
Askin’s opponent that night will be Northampton’s Paul David, who has had 19 contests and won 13, losing six. The 23-year-old admits it won’t be at all easy. He said: “I will have to box at my best. David is a very awkward man to fight, and a lot of people are saying I shouldn’t fight him.
“I didn’t want to come back from the Dickinson fight and just fight a bum.”