It’s been a year of dramatic contrasts for Portsmouth light-heavyweight Joel McIntyre. December 2016 saw him turn in possibly the finest performance of his eighteen fight career (16–2) as he reversed the only defeat on his record with a thrilling win over Bushey’s Miles Shinkwin for the English title. It seemed that McIntyre was heading for a British title shot and a chance to become Portsmouth’s second Lonsdale Belt holder ever after Tony Oakey, but just nine months and an agonising stoppage loss to Barrow’s Liam Conroy later, that ambition lies in tatters – at least for now. Having just celebrated his thirtieth birthday, the likeable McIntyre returns on an Atlantic Promotions – Scott Welch show at Portsmouth’s Mountbatten Centre on Saturday 24th February where his opponent will be Bulgaria’s Tayar Mehmed (7-29-2). Unsurprisingly Mehmed is the kind of relatively undemanding opposition you’d expect to give a man coming off an emphatic KO loss, and McIntyre is nonetheless determined to make a statement and get his title ambitions back on track.
Managed by Steve Goodwin, there have been significant changes within McIntyre’s team as he has split with trainer John Murray who guided him to the Shinkwin victory, and is now being trained by Brighton based Welch. It’s a new dynamic, and one McIntyre hopes will help him exorcise the loss to Conroy: “I just shouldn’t have been in the ring to be honest. Physically I was stronger and fitter than ever, I was just in the wrong place mentally. There were lots of things going on in the background and in my opinion that fight was totally the wrong one to take. I’d fallen out of love with boxing a bit at the time, I’d had a few anti-climaxes last year and although I consider myself a strong person mentally, I’d just had enough. No disrespect to Liam Conroy but that fight was just an inconvenience to me and if I’d have been on my game I’d have smashed him to bits. Basically with me being in the state I was, well, the proof is in the pudding and the man took me out in less than two rounds. I didn’t really think of retiring after it. There are a lot of emotions that go through your head immediately after a fight, but time is a great healer and I thought ‘Sod that, I’m not ready to give up’.” There’s genuine conviction in his voice when he says: “The next time I’m in the ring people are going to see the real me, a serious, serious Joel McIntyre.”
“I don’t think I’ve reached my potential, not by a long way, and talk of retirement is for people on the outside. I’m not going to just give up. I’m talking to you sitting here next to my boy, and what sort of example would that be setting for him?” We may also see a change in style now the link-up with Scott Welch is in place: “He saw me when I boxed on the undercard on Eubank Jnr’s fight last year (WPTS 4 Remiigijus Ziausys) and he basically told me I’d missed the chance to shine on a televised show, and he was right. I’d had people pay good money to come and see me and I didn’t perform, and Scott told me I’d probably lost those fans now. Scott had watched me in the amateurs and told me that I wasn’t the same fighter, I was too cautious now and tried to box too much. He said I was as strong as a bull and I should be taking people apart limb from limb basically. The idea with this fight now is that a win is not enough. That’s not just talk either, I mean it, a win is not enough. I’m back in my hometown, back in Portsmouth, and there’s been an amazing response to tickets and I can’t let those people down, it’s good money that they’ve spent to see me put on a performance and that’s really been hammered home to me. I’m going in there to search and destroy, I don’t get paid overtime and I’m going to smash this geezer up. Everyone that has written me off I’m going to show them they’re wrong and I can only do that with a serious performance, it’s got to be destructive.”
With Miles Shinkwin boxing Liam Conroy for the English title in Preston on 31st March, there exist some intriguing possibilities for McIntyre should he prevail against Mehmed on Saturday night. With one win apiece a third bout with Shinkwin would seem a natural. Equally another crack at Conroy would be readily accepted by the Portsmouth man: “I’m just interested in getting my belt back. It would be a wonderful story if Shinkwin won the fight against Conroy, and I believe he probably will win. It would set up a great trilogy between us. Whoever won would go on to big things, and the other would probably pack it in. It would be a high-stakes match. Before any of that though, I have to win this fight, and in style.”
The compact card also features some up and coming South Coast talent in Jimmy Cooper, Harry Limburn, Nick Jenman, Ben Butler and WIBF world champion Kallia Kourouni , AKA ‘Pink Tyson’. To purchase tickets to the event please click HERE