'I'm still in love with boxing': Anthony Farnell interview

Chris Glover
28/09/2019 7:39pm

Photo: John Gichigi /Allsport

Anthony Farnell speaks to BM about his career in and out of the ring and why he still loves boxing as much as ever...

Anthony Farnell has been a mainstay of Manchester boxing for decades in both training and fighting capacities. Farnell rose to prominence in the golden era of Manchester boxing, becoming WBU middleweight champion alongside Ricky Hatton who held the light welterweight version of the WBU crown in the early '00s.

'Arnie' looked back with BM on his days as a fighter and coming up in Manchester at a time that is remembered fondly by British fight fans.

He said, "I loved every minute of it, boxing at that time was brilliant in Manchester. We were all mates and we would all share the same bills. Fighting alongside the likes of Michael Gomez and Ricky Hatton was fantastic and I've got some memories that I will cherish forever from those days.

"The atmosphere back then was like nothing I'd ever seen. When there was a big night of boxing on at the Manchester Arena, it felt like the whole of the city would come out and support the fighters and that made for some very special nights.

"One fight that never happened in the pros but did in the amateurs was me against Jamie Moore. That fight would have been unreal for Manchester in the pro ranks but a lot of people don't know we had close fights in the amateurs."

Farnell was unfortunately forced to retire when he was arguably in his prime due to medical issues whilst on the brink of securing a world title fight.

'The Warrior' opened up about how not having boxing in his life affected him and what he did to combat those issues.

Farnell said, "life without boxing was hard. I didn't take it well initially and I drank a lot for a period before I had to get a grip of myself and put my energy into something new and that was training people.

"I've been known for working with professional fighters but I also work with kids in the communities who have learning issues to help them so I found a way to give back to boxing and still keep the buzz alive. I've got plans to launch an amateur club soon and continue to give back to the community."

Farnell has worked with some of Britain's top pro fighters over the years such as a young Tony Bellew, Frankie Gavin, Paul Butler and more.

'Arnie' discussed some of the highlights of being a professional trainer.

"Tony Bellew was a special fighter, I always believed he would become a world champion and he did. Frankie Gavin was a special talent too but my greatest achievement as a trainer was taking Paul Butler to the world title. That was a night that will live with me forever and I'm very proud of that.

"The gym is buzzing at the moment we've got some great talents coming up with Jimmy Kelly Jr leading the pack as he's off to America after signing a new promotional deal over there which I'm very excited for and we have fighters coming up through the ranks that people will become aware of soon so it's a really exciting time for me and I'm still in love with boxing just as much today as I've ever been."