PROSPECT Connor Gray has made the perfect start to his boxing career as he prepares to step back between the ropes later this month.
Gray, who has trained with Liam Lathbury since he was a child, made his professional debut in the sport last year and forced his opponent to retire through injury, claiming his maiden win.
A week later, the 21-year-old was back in the ring for his second contest, where he went the distance with Lee Connolly, moving his record to 2-0 with a win on points.
On Saturday 26th March Gray will be looking to secure his third win when he faces Rustem Katkhullin on Neilson Boxing’s Fight Town show at MECA in Swindon, where he will feature alongside other Wiltshire prospects Jensen Irving and Lewis Roberts.
Looking back at 2021, Lathbury believes the unbeaten super-lightweight has benefitted from a fast start in the paid ranks.
“Connor’s first fight last year was cancelled because his opponent had COVID, so his debut was postponed,” he said.
“So then what would have been his second fight was then his debut. He boxed really well and we expected his opponent to be durable but Connor broke his rib and he (McGuire) didn’t come out for the third round.
“Then we went to Bracknell a week later, he boxed a real road warrior in Lee Connolly and he won every round, boxed really well and boxed to orders.
“So now we are on the next show, Connor is fighting a Russian fighter who is tough and has a few more wins on his record.”
Despite his next bout only being his third as a professional, Gray and his team have opted to fight over six rounds to continue his development.
“Mark Neilson is doing great things for local boxing, he’s putting on great shows,” he added.
“Boxing has changed dramatically since when I was fighting, when I was fighting you wouldn’t be fighting for a Southern Area title until you’d had 20 fights but now people are doing it after five or six.
“I said to Connor he could get in the mix for titles quite quickly, so I said to him we should go for it, let’s have a six-round fight and start preparing.”