Stepping in the ring at the UniBol will be “a dream come true” for up-and-coming boxer and Wanderers fan Alex Murphy.
Murphy will fight on Saturday, August 20 following the Whites’ League One clash with Sheffield Wednesday, with his opponent still to be confirmed.
The 21-year-old has followed the club since a young age and is excited with the direction they are heading in.
“My dad brought me up watching them. He got me a season ticket when I was four and renewed it every year for me, and I’ve been going ever since,” he told The Bolton News.
“Obviously, now I get my own season ticket and I am still going with my dad. I have grown up watching them.
“Things are picking up now, the club looks good. Obviously, we were in a lot of trouble a few years back and we have really turned it around.
“That is a big thanks to the fans themselves and the support they have given the club. They have been a massive part of it all. If I can get a little bit of that support in my career I will be happy.”
Several potential venues were discussed for Murphy’s next fight but when he found out Bolton was an option, there was only ever one choice in his mind.
He added: “My manager messaged me saying there might be an opportunity to fight at the stadium.
There were a couple of other venues that were on offer – there was one he wanted to do in Blackpool and one in Salford.
“I basically said to him, ‘If you are doing a show at Bolton, get me on it 100 per cent’.
“It was only a few days [before the announcement] that I found out the show was going ahead at Bolton. Suddenly, I had my face on a poster!
“It means the world to me because it is a dream come true and it is already my fourth [professional] fight, so that is something ticked off my bucket list already.”
The 21-year-old is already starting to build up a following from the Bolton fanbase and was invited out on to the pitch during the 3-0 win against Wycombe Wanderers last weekend.
Midfielder Aaron Morley even came to watch his last fight, and Murphy admits it was a surreal experience.
“It feels weird, especially Aaron because he came to my last fight. I am friends with one of his friends so he brought him along,” he said.
“After the fight, he hung around and I met him. It was weird because obviously I go and watch him and support him week in, week out.
“The fact that now he is supporting me and coming to my fights, it is surreal.
“One morning I woke up and saw that John McGinlay had messaged. It is amazing, I was really happy about that.”
Murphy has won all three of his fights so far since making the decision to turn professional back in January 2021.
“I am still getting used to the lifestyle of being a professional boxer,” he explained. “It is very demanding - training two or sometimes three times a day.
“But this is what I want, this is what I dreamed of as a kid. You have to live and breathe boxing when you are doing it and luckily I am in a position now where I am doing that.
“I train full-time and I am literally putting everything I have into the sport.
“It is a great lifestyle to have but at the same time it is a very stressful lifestyle to have – selling tickets, building a fan base, training and trying to win the fights. But I wouldn’t change it for the world, I love it.”