Sports

Machine Gun loading up for July 18

Mark “Machine Gun” Woolnough, training with long time coach Rich LeStage. - Tyson Taylor Photo
Mark “Machine Gun” Woolnough, training with long time coach Rich LeStage.
— image credit: Tyson Taylor Photo

Mark “Machine Gun” Woolnough, holder of three boxing titles so far, is set to step back in the ring on July 18 at the Port Theater in Nanaimo for the first time in five years.

Woolnough, from Qualicum Beach by way of Essex, United Kingdom, makes his return to the ring after a close and questionable split decision to Kingsley Ikeke for the North American Boxing Association Super Middleweight title.

The 33-year-old, who is sporting a 19-6 record, is getting back in the ring and fighting on the same card as two of his protégés in Shane Andreesen and Aubrey Morrow.

“It’s great. The camaraderie between us is great,” Woolnough said. “We really push each other along in training, we’re there for one another, trying to peak at the same time. The support between us has always been good.”

A right-handed fighter with a southpaw stance, Woolnough has won six of his 19 fights by KO and will be fighting at the Port Theater for the first time. The boxing career might not be as bustling for Woolnough as it once was, but this was an opportunity he couldn’t pass up.

“I’ve been approached for quite a few fights since the last one,” Woolnough said. “Of course you always want to say yes right away but it just wasn’t enticing enough. I’ve got three kids and a beautiful wife at home and they are top priority. But this was something I couldn’t take a pass on. None of us are getting any younger, so why not.”

With his focus squarely on this July 18 match against Billy Bailey, Woolnough isn’t looking to his boxing future yet.

“I’m not looking past this fight, not one bit,” Woolnough said. “My focus is all on this fight and I’m not going to think about anything else. Of course, a win would go a long way in getting another look for a match after, but I need to not only look good in this fight, but I need to win.”

Woolnough has been training with Rich LeStage from day one, through his amateur and pro career. Never one to really watch tape on his opponents, Woolnough instills his trust fully in his coach and expects to once again be led in the right direction.

“I usually never watched tape, Rich just always trained me right,” Woolnough said. “It’s all about what I do in the fight anyways, never letting them take control. It’s up to me to do what I’m going to do and to capitalize on chances when they come up in the match. I know enough of what to expect and where to look to take this fight though.”

For what could be his last match in his career, Woolnough is feeling excited like he’s stepping in the ring for the first time.

“It’s good to be back again, it’s like a reunion,” Woolnough said. “Just to be around the fights, going to a show, the atmosphere, the smells, everything about it, it’s exciting to me and I can’t wait.”

Check www.porttheater.com under the special events header for tickets.

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