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Horndon and Tilbury fighters getting ready for big bouts
11:00am Thursday 31st January 2013 in Sport
BOXING: TWO of south Essex’s best known fighters, Tilbury’s Matt McCarthy and Horndon’s Wayne Hibbert will be in action in a few weeks time.
Borough boxing fans are promised an exciting few weeks as the area’s two brighest hopes aim to shine.
Chadwell St Mary ABC amateur-turned-professional McCarthy fights at Bethnal Green’s York Hall on February 24.
He squares up to Benny Donovich in what promises to be a tough six, two-minute round contest – less than a year after the teenager turned pro.
His trainer, former super featherweight professional Mark Bates, from Stanford-le-Hope runs the Spartan’s gym in Lampits Hill, Corringham.
Bates said: “Matt went pro in March and has done really well since then.
“He’s won three from three and his sparring has been improving all the time. “I’ve got Phil Gill from Hertfordshire up against him as his sparring partner.
“Phil’s a former British Southern Area and British finalist.
“He’s had 16 fights and is so experienced.
“McCarthy is setting down and still needs to mature a bit, but he’s learning to cover up and fight much more like a pro.”
McCarthy, right, is a well known figure in Tilbury where he does most of his running training – along with punishing stints at One Tree Hill near Corringham.
And the teenager’s trainer believes that his fighter has what it takes to step up in the fight game.
“Once this fight is out of the way, I’m hoping that we can take it so that his next fight will be six three minute rounds,” he said.
Another well known Thurrock fighter, Stanford-born “John” Wayne Hibbert will be in action on March 9.
And this time it’s at Grays Civic Hall, where Horndon-based Hibbert squares up to David Ryan from the Midlands.
Ryan is an experienced pro who, lost out to title holder, Curtis Woodhouse last year.
Getting pushed out of this eliminator means that he cannot fight former soccer pro Woodhouse again, so this time it’s Hibbert who get the chance.
And Hibbert – who steps into the fight ring wearing a Stetson hat under the name “John “ Wayne Hibbert – is already in training to make the fight and the 10 stone weight.
He said: “I’m naturally a bit heavier than that, so I’m on what they call the Caveman diet.
“It’s mainly meat, nuts, berries and salad and beetroot juice. I’ve worked with a nutricianist and he assures me that I’ll make the weight and be able to hit hard.
“But it’s not easy working on roofs all day and doing so much training on 2,484 calories.”
“I suppose I walk about at just over 11 stone and last fought at 10stone 7 ounces – so it’s not too much to lose.”
Hibbert, left, has been sparring with Darren Hamilton and learned a big lesson from his training rival after a 15-round sparring session.
He said: “Darren was on the mat and was exhausted. “When I asked him why he said it was because he was doing 1,000 sit-ups in the morning.
“I was doing 250 a day, so I realised that I had to up my game.
“Now I’m up to 900 sit ups. “Darren’s really brought me along – if you want to get somewhere you’ve got to do it at this level of intensity,” added Hibbert who has just become a father for the second time.
His son Connor was born just four weeks ago – spurring the fighter on to push for even more success. And Hibbert had nothing but praise for Mark Bates who is best known for beating Steve Roninson.
He said: “In my book Mark’s the best trainer in the country right now.”
For more boxing see Friday's THURROCK GAZETTE