Tommy Welch is fed up with waiting – despite a broken fist – and now the frustrated heavyweight is ready to resume his family’s pursuit of a world title.
Cruel luck left the undefeated 27-year-old out of the ring for seven months, but Welch is currently preparing to step down between the ropes in June.
The exciting prospect was joined by his father, former British heavyweight champion Scott Welch, at their south coast home as he reflected on a torturous spell in his career.
He said: “I was ready for my seventh fight in December but then I tested positive for Covid. It was really frustrating. I took myself on vacation after he passed and was ready to fight. again in February. Then in January I broke my hand on my first rear spar.”
That meant extended time out of the ring. However, he was one of a handful of boxers who managed to stay active during a tough time for the sport. As the pandemic meant limited fight nights in the UK, Welch was looking for fights overseas.
He has fought in Italy and Belgium before while compiling a 6-0 record, and that certainly accompanied his challenges.
Her father, who also acts as a manager, said: “When we went to Italy I was informed that it was a nice indoor hall with air conditioning. It turned out to be a ring in the open dug near the beach. I said Tommy, he didn’t have to fight.”
The 27-year-old had none of it.
“Dad told me it was my call. Yes, it was a mess, the opponent changed, there were no changing rooms, it was boiling hot and we were sitting in an ice cream shop having a train to try to cool us down. But that’s what we’re doing.”
“That was a telling point for me,” Scott said.
“He loves to fight, that says a lot. Anytime, anywhere, anywhere. That’s our motto.”
There is no doubt that there is a distinct similarity between father and son. The height, weight, and appearance are undoubtedly similar, but Scott didn’t see the resemblance to begin with.
“I didn’t see any similarities between us until his first pro fight. Then everyone contacted me saying it was me in there, and it was. He’s like me .”
Scott was seen as a small heavyweight on the verge of challenging for world honours, Tommy is no different at around 6ft 3in. The difference is that young Welch now has the opportunity to delve into the newly formed bridgerweight division, but he’s not holding his breath.
“I could go down to that limit, no problem. But no one has really fought at that weight yet. Is there even a British title? When it starts to get more popular, that’s fine. to have that option. The bigger cruiserweights will be coming and it could be a good mix of fighters. But don’t worry, I can mix it with the heavyweights.
Scott mentions his good friend, Mike Tyson, when considering competing in the blues division.
“Mike dominated at heavyweight. He was closer to 5ft 8 than 5ft 10. Trust me, I spent a lot of time with him. He has a big physical head, big arms and huge feet. He was small but he could slide and kick them with speed and power.
“These 6-foot-9 heavyweights can be beaten if you don’t go in a straight line. You have to be extremely fit, strong and explosive. If you’re a small heavyweight, you have to fight as one. You can’t match them for strength, so you have to be elusive.That’s where some guys go wrong.
Sons following in the footsteps of their famous father are not particularly uncommon in the boxing world. Frazier, Foreman, Chavez and Holyfield are notable examples, Eubank, Benn and Hatton three high profile cases from these islands. However, the unbeaten Brightonian doesn’t see this as a strain on his shoulders.
“A lot of gaming legends have seen their kids fight, and they don’t seem to be doing as well as their dads. My situation is different. My dad is still as hungry as he was when he fought because did not become a world champion.
“These guys did it. So that means their willingness to put their boys in the mix to become world champions probably isn’t as high. He wants to be successful for me. He wants to walk again. Those dads are absolute legends.”
“Are you saying I’m not a legend?” launches his father.
“A British legend, definitely. Dad doesn’t get the respect he should in terms of the people he’s fought and the monsters he’s defeated. At the same time he didn’t have that world title behind him So when we go to the gym, it’s on his mind. He wants to tell me how much it’s going to take, and he pushes me with that push.
Welch Snr actually thinks that not winning that world title (he unsuccessfully challenged Henry Akinwande in 1997), was not just an advantage for Tommy, but also for himself.
“It made me want more and made me a better person. I actually think my life could have spiralled if I had won a world title. Some people who win world titles lose something, I think I could have been one of them. It gives you a different mindset, some people can handle it, some people can’t.”
There is a striking competition between the two. Whether it’s comparing their running times at the same age or knowing who looks the best. Welch Snr even wanted a spar recently.
“I took him on the pads and he told me to buy him a mouth guard!” said Tommy. “I told him to get out.”
Father and son are now eager to start their boxing journey together again, albeit with a slightly different opinion on the number of fights planned for this year.
“I’m from the old days,” says Scott, a man who was once Tyson’s bodyguard and also appeared in the movie “Snatch.”
“I want him to get as many fights as possible this year, starting in June. When you fight consistently, everything falls into place. I’d like to think we’ll get at least six more. Tommy wants less but I want more.”
The family doesn’t seem too interested in going the traditional route when trying to rack up the titles.
Scott said: “We’ll definitely go for the British, lovely Commonwealth. But European, none of that really means what he’s done, it’s a different world.”
Boxing is certainly a different world since Scott was beating Julius Francis and fighting on the same cards in America as Lennox Lewis, but he has the same dream for his son that he had, and that’s to win a world title. heavyweight.