By Jonny Stapleton
The Tank will roll no more.
Following 19 fights, ten years, two belts, and countless injuries, Ian Tims has retired from professional boxing.
If there was one word to describe the 38-year-old’s career it would be ‘frustrating’.
This frustration was not through his own fault by any means, with circumstances conspiring to limit potential waves to ripples.
Indeed, while he may feel that there is little to celebrate, especially off the back of a second-round stoppage loss to Jack Massey, the Clondalkin man’s journey remains a career to remember.
‘Timsey’, like a number of talents, came along in the middle of the post-Bernard Dunne depression meaning it was difficult to gain momentum early doors.
With no TV, massive press coverage or big shows, Tims had to feed off small hall scraps early on.
Injuries as well as that lack of exposure also slowed the triple Irish amateur heavyweight champion down during that period.
He did manage to secure an Irish title fight and was involved in a relatively high profile bout with Micheal Sweeney on the undercard on Guillermo Rigondeaux and Willie Casey’s City West TV3-broadcast bout in 2011.
Victory in that grudge match means Tims can claim to be an Irish champion at amateur and pro level. It also earned him an EU title shot and a TV fight with Juho Haapoja in Finland the following year.
A clash of heads in the first round against the Finn left the then Pascal Collins-trained fighter with blurred vision, but he impressed in a highly entertaining battle, losing a competitive decision.
The guts shown, aligned with the constant goading of Haapoja, won ‘The Tank’ plenty of fans on the night. Indeed, the Sauerlands were so impressed they wanted to bring the Dubliner to Germany to fight the following week.
Despite cuts, lumps and bruises, Tims was ready to answer the German based promoters call, but Collins correctly put a stop to any quick fire fight.
Despite the reverse, Tims’s stock increased and he was provided another chance to gatecrash the level just below big time later in the year.
Tony Conquest was his next conquest but – not for the only time – a far from fully fit Tims was stopped in the seventh against a fighter that would go on to win British and Commonwealth titles.
Injuries played a major part in his career and Tims was two years out of the ring before the straight talker returned with a win over Tamas Danko. The return was short-lived though as an ankle injury in the first round against Paul Drago saw a third red L decorate BoxRec record and at that stage retirement seemed likely.
However, following a gruelling year of rehabilitation, a rematch with Sweeney was made and Tims got to bask in the spotlight again as he stopped ‘The Storm’ to claim the BUI Celtic title.
Timsey then had to wait a year for another paid bout and after two routine wins was stopped in his second Irish title fight with Luke ‘The Duke’ Watkins.
Two defeats later and one of Irish boxing’s real characters has called it a day.
While some of the many young pros on the circuit would retire happy with an Irish title win on their resume there was a little more expected of Tims.
The hard man image is deserved, but shouldn’t overshadow the fact the former St Matthew’s amateur was a skilled operator.
The former National Elite heavyweight champion was never going to be a frills advocate but he had ring generalship and was an educated puncher.
It is fair to say if he was an emerging pro in the present busier domestic climate he could have secured bigger fights at the right time and forged a bigger following.
However, while it wasn’t meant to be for the now 38-year-old in the ring, he remained a valuable part of the Irish boxing family and contributed outside it.
Although he seems to have developed a reputation for not saying much, Tims was a shirt, tie and company car away from being a renowned sale man. He generated interest in any card he was on with some brilliant pre fight interviews, not to mention some memorable verbal sparring with a man he called the ‘Light Breeze Sweeney’ which made both those bouts a must watch.
The fighter, who will have no problem reminding you “he made muck” of Tony Bellew in the amateurs while pointing you in the direction of Tony Davitt to corroborate the story, also feed a disgruntled Irish boxing fan hope at the turn of the decade.
When things were slow and shows were sparse, Tims’s brilliant call-outs and desire to fight anyone kept people dreaming and entertained at the same time. It may seem laughable to compliment a fighter on his ability to shout from the roof tops now but, in the immediate aftermath of Dunne, hope of all Irish fights was essential.
Another thing people might be surprised to hear is the teak tough operator had a soft spot for good emerging talent and was a champion of many a boxer over the years.
You question the talent of Stephen Ormond at your peril around the cruiserweight and Tims always hailed Tommy McCarthy as the best in Ireland at his weight. Luke Keeler is another favourite of ‘The Tank’ and he predicted long before the Conrad Cummings win that “if Luke could go full time he could really do something.”
There was also compliments for punchers on and off the record from across the country – although his praise for sparring partner and friend Spike’ O’Sullivan was as rare as a big show in Dublin during Tims’s peak.
With the Tank parking up, it’s almost the end of an era in terms of Irish boxing, a not so good age for the game domestically but sour times which Ian Tims made taste that little bit sweeter.