He was the first one back when boxing returned from the first lockdown last year, and now he’s back again. Mark Chamberlain (7-0 KO 4) is preparing to square off against Jordan Ellison (11-31-2) on Saturday night, live on BT Sport.
Chamberlain has been ticking over in the gym since his last fight in October and feels fit and ready to roll.
“Trainings gone good. I boxed just before Christmas, I think it was October or November, and I stayed fit from there on really. I’m always in the gym even if I haven’t got a fight. I’ve been ticking over doing a couple of days a week of running, so I’m always ready for the phone call.”
Marky Boy knows he’s fortunate to be in the position he is in, with his brother not having fought in the last year.
“I’m very lucky to be honest because there’s boys at there who haven’t boxed at all; like my brother, he’s not boxed in over a year, year and a half. It’s just slowed everyones careers down. It’s just abit hard because nobody can do nothing.”
Chamberlain understands just how frustrating waiting to fight can be and feels for the lads who don’t have a fight date.
“If you haven’t got a fight date then you don’t want to be in the gym because you haven’t got nothing to work towards. I do feel for the boys who can’t fight at the minute they must be having itchy knuckles watching us on TV.”
Fighter morale has certainly been affected by the Covid layoff and the lack of small hall opportunities, something Mark has picked up on.
“When the first lockdown was introduced last year, nobody knew what was happening so all the gyms shut and boxing stopped and then they eased it a little bit so only the elite amateurs and pros could train. So I managed to get back in the gym then. Then when they told me I was fighting I was back in the gym constantly then. I think it has affected everyone differently obviously - it’s going to destroy a lot of boxers because they’re not in the gym training towards a fight.”
The layoff has affected some fighters massively, with Josh Warrington having been stopped by Lara in February.
“Yeah, like I saw Josh Warrington, he hasn’t boxed for 16 months and he got slaughtered, and I’ve seen him have a great fight with Frampton and take harder shots on the jaw from Frampton, so I don’t know, was it the inactivity? I don’t know.”
Mark however feels like this is an opportunity for lads with smaller promoters to get a big chance on TV.
“The smaller show promoters like Eddie and Frank, so if they get that phone call, say for instance I’m fighting someone like Shaun Cooper, who isn’t with a big promoter, and they give him the phone call to fight on an Eddie or Frank show they’re going to take the fight, because not only are they getting on TV they’re boxing as well so it’s a win, win.”
He was the first fighter to box behind closed doors last year when boxing returned from a lengthy layoff; he was victorious stopping Stu Greener inside a round.
“To be honest, it was just like a normal show for me. I know it was a big thing being the first one back but things like that don’t faze or worry me. When they told me, I’ll be the first boxer back in however many days it was, it was obviously nice to hear because they’ll always say I was the first one back, so in a few years down the line when we’re all laughing about it, I can say I was the first one back.”
The 22-year-old will face Ellison but admitted a few lads didn’t want the fight, but he is in no rush himself.
“I think they asked a couple of opponents and they’ve priced themselves out of it. I just train and fight whoever is put in front of me. I don’t know if it’s a reputation thing because of course there’s people out there that will fight me, but they’ve got to get the right opponent at the right time and there’s no rush is there. I’m only 22 and I could go fight someone in the deep end now but why should I? I’ll get in the right position and when those fights come, I’ll be ready.”
Mark was first introduced to boxing at a young age by his mum.
“My mum got me into boxing when I was five and my brother was six. She took us to the local boxing club and that was it, I just stuck with it I suppose. My brother still boxes but it’s a little bit harder for him at the moment because he’s not signed, and he didn’t get as far in the amateurs as me. Hopefully in a few fights time he’ll be signed with Frank. He’s only had three fights.”
Despite promoters on social media making out the bubble is fun, Mark had a different view on that.
“It’s boring. What they make out on social media is a load of crap. Basically, when you first get there you get locked away in your room and you have your test, you get a little wristband that’s red and the minute your results come back you get a green band to show your Covid free and you can leave your room and go for a walk in your bubble. It’s a bit strict at first because you’re not allowed to mix with other groups in case they have Covid. The first show wasn’t so bad until they clamped down on the rules a bit when a few came back positive.”
Chamberlain is unsure of what the plan is for the rest of the year but understands that other fighters need to get out too.
“To be honest, who knows? Obviously, I’m contracted to fight five times a year, I only had two last year, I’d be happy to get two in again but if I can get five that’s a bonus. But I know there’s other boys out there that are with Frank that need to fight. But yeah, I don’t know what the plan is.”
Mark believes improvement is what the fans can expect from him in this contest.
“A better performance from last time. I get better every time, keep improving so expect something better than last time, even though last time was a good performance. Maybe another stoppage, who knows?”
Mark would like to wish a big thanks to his sponsors, trainers, and managers ahead of the contest on Saturday.