Boxing

Alfredo Meli ready to give up day job and become full-time fighter

Alfredo Meli pictured in Immaculata Boxing Club. The unbeaten middleweight is ready to throw his heart and soul into the fight game
Picture by Matt Bohill
Andy Watters

ALFREDO MELI is ready to give up his day job and throw his heart and soul into being a full-time fighter.

The Immaculata middleweight, who takes on Sam Sheedy (16-1) in a Commonwealth title eliminator at Sheffield City Hall on Saturday night, currently divides his time between plying his trade as a car mechanic by day and forging a career as a fighter in the evenings.

But unbeaten Meli (11-0-1) realises something has to give and he’ll happily hang up his overalls - if a promoter makes him an offer, he won’t refuse: “Hopefully, I can get a promoter who’ll say ‘look, stop working and come and box’,” he said.

“I’ll stop work because, at the end of the day, I want to box, I don’t want to be working all the time. I can always go back to the trade - that’s the good thing about being a mechanic, you can go back to it. If a promoter is willing to take me on and say ‘right, come on lets go’, I would go.”

On the afternoon of his Celtic middleweight title fight against Conrad Cummings last November, Meli should have been resting, but a friend called at his house and found him taking the engine out of a broken-down car. The fight ended in a draw and, since then, Meli has realised he needs time to train and recover if he is going to fulfil his fighting potential.

“I was hmm-ing and haa-ing [after the Cummings fight],” he admitted.

“That’s because, that night, I was boiling up a bit, but once I sat down and thought about it I realised that I can always go back to my job. A lot of boys aren’t lucky enough that they can do that, but I know I’d be able to go back to being a mechanic.

“If a promoter would take me on and pay me, then I would say ‘yes, not a problem’. That will give me a chance because, at the minute, I’m burning the candle at both ends.

“People don’t understand that, people ask: ‘what do you mean by that?’ But that’s why, when it comes to 9pm or 9.30pm, I’m falling asleep right away because I’m sapped, I’ve no energy - it’s all gone.”

For Meli, it’s early to bed and early to rise. He’s up at 6.30am and in bed for about 9pm at night: “I’m training hard as usual and working hard too, I have to,” he said at the Immaculata ABC gym last Friday.

“It’s the routine I’m in and that’s it. I have a normal day, I work hard and then I get home and straight to training. That’s my life and I’m happy with it. I couldn’t complain.

“Sometimes, I run down to the gym, it’s about three and-a-half miles. There’s not much really in it, but it’s still a good bit before a hard session. After a hard day’s work, jog down to the gym, then train, so it’s tough enough. But by the time I get here, my head’s clear and I know what I’m doing, I’m focused on the boxing.”

He’s focused on beating Sam Sheedy on Saturday night. Sheedy has only lost once in 17 outings - to Navid Mansouri in an English super-welterweight title rumble last July.

“I haven’t watched him and I won’t watch him,” Meli said.

“I didn’t watch Cummings, I haven’t watched any of my opponents. I know he’s a southpaw and he’s awkward, but all southpaws are awkward. I fought plenty of them when I was amateur, so I have that knowledge in the bank.

"I know it will be a good fight and I’m confident I’ll come out with a win.”

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