Former pro boxer Dee Taggart begins has just embarked on a coaching journey and wrote the following piece for Irish-boxing.com about ‘The Beginning’ of a new chapter in his fight career.
I first met Junior Thompson a few years ago when I was coaching professionals in the Rydal Gym.
He was this cocky, likeable string-bean of a lad that you would think was a complete spoofer.
That first impression changed the minute he put the gloves on and first hit pads with me. The man is a third degree black belt in Taekwondo and has been a professional footballer since he was eighteen.
Straight away I knew this lad was a special athlete, a blind man could see that. The chats went on and you hear he qualified for the Olympics, sings, writes songs and even models.
I mean he just makes you wanna punch him, so maybe boxing isn’t that bad of an idea.
All joking aside we had an instant connection. Junior went on to walk his way to a national senior under 20 bout title with the help of Wayne Smith and the Golden Gloves ABC. In his own words he just “winged it” like he has done for much of his life.
A few years later after leaving the Rydal Gym to take a year out from boxing I was chilling out around Sefton Park my phone goes… “What’s happening coach? you know you have just moved right beside me and I’m turning pro in MMA, I want you to help me, I need you coach”
My first instinct was to laugh, ‘turning pro in MMA, of course you are Junior,’ I thought. He cracks me up, always has.
If he wasn’t so likeable you would hate this talented young man. He wasn’t joking about turning pro in MMA either, he was serious to, he normally is.
So I started training him again and it was like we never really stopped. He’s a remarkable student and his father must get all the credit there. So anyway I thought I’d “murder” him on the pads and in my own kinda way I’ll put him off, it done the opposite. So much so he keep calling me. He also kept listening and applied himself to everything I had to say.
Not only does he listen but he does exactly what i ask of him, that’s not as common as you think but in doing so it creates trust. So I thought lets enter him in the senior ABA’s but we couldn’t get it sorted in time, we had no club and it was just us; Junior and Dee.
The gifted Scouse Jamaican and the mad Irish man. As the weeks went on I got him sparring to “throwing him in the water” to see if he could swim, and course he could!! My laughs continued.
Then one day he looked me dead in the eyes and got me…”Dee why cant I just turn pro with you mate, you see what I’m doing here. I’ve just winged everything my whole life, I’m twenty eight now and i just wanna give something a real go and find out just how good i am before its to late!! c’mon coach, I need ya”
He had me, I’m back in boxing, my apprenticeship is over, and my first professional fighter of my own is called “Majestic” Junior Thompson. Its funny how he calls himself Majestic, because I have no idea how this all happened and how he got me on board.
It must be frigging magic.
Junior makes his professional Debut on the 15th of November at the famous Liverpool Olympia. It’s a bumper show out on by MTK that features three former world champions Martin Murray, Rocky Fielding, and Terry Flanagan and all the latest up and coming talent.
We both would like to thank my old training partner Jamie Conlan and Lee Eaton for for this opportunity. We really hope people will come out and support us. We have tickets and you can contact Junior on 07453993131 or myself on 07955619184.
Photo credit @mikehaffenden