By John Evans
Knockout punchers are the most valuable commodity in boxing and a fighter capable of stopping people in the lower weight classes can see their stock rise particularly quickly. Super bantamweight Liam Hanrahan, 23, has made only two starts since leaving the amateurs in October but has dispatched both of his opponents in exciting fashion. To cap a faultless start to his professional career, he was named as ‘One to Watch in 2013’ by his promoter Dave Coldwell. All in all, it hasn’t been a bad start to a life of punching for pay.
“I’m buzzing off it, I love it,” Hanrahan told Boxingscene recently. “It’s gone even better than I imagined it would. I’ve always been heavy handed for my weight. I stopped quite a few as an amateur. I’m finding that I’m getting more time because in the amateurs it’s a bit rushed. I can think about the shots and what I’m throwing.”
Upon switching codes, Hanrahan joined up with former British, Commonwealth and European title challenger Scott Lawton. Lawton hung up his gloves in 2011 and began training fighters in his hometown of Stoke and although the pair have yet to sit down and thoroughly discuss a route to the top — or even settle on a style — Hanrahan is happy with the way things are developing.
“I started with Scott in August and I’ve known him for quite a while, I think it was before the semi finals of the ABA’s last year that I did some sparring with him and had a chat about the pro game and mentioned that I was thinking of turning professional” he said.
“Scott wants it as much as I do and he wants me to win the things that I do. He’s as hungry as I am. Everything he’s telling me to work on is coming off and that’s a good sign isn’t it? We went sparring on a Monday before my last fight and I wasn’t at my best! We went back to the gym on the Tuesday and he drilled three or four things into me. We went back sparring on the Wednesday and they came off.
“I’ve not really thought about it [settling on a style]. I just do what I’ve got to do. To be honest I’ve not really had much to do in my fights — I’ve only had four rounds — but I’m learning to plant my feet now I’m with Scott.”
Coldwell Promotion’s enjoyed a hugely successful 2012. Their belief in putting on cards loaded with evenly matched bouts has attracted a growing army of supporters and a series of high profile fighters despite a lack of television support. Both of Hanrahan’s fights have taken place at Manchester’s Bowlers Exhibition Centre and he has benefitted from sharing atmospheric bills with the likes of Matthew Hatton, Anthony Crolla, Derry Mathews and Kieran Farrell. The noisy contingent of fans that have followed Hanrahan from nearby Macclesfield have contributed fully to a couple of rowdy nights.
“They’ve been great undercards to be on and to have had two fights back to back within six months is good. I’ve done 180 tickets both times and Dave’s already got me matched up for March 8th.
“Working with Dave’s been brilliant. He’ll text me now and then and I feel like I can just ring him up and have a chat with him about anything. He seems quite popular and he’s an up and coming promoter. Dave put me down as ‘One to Watch in 2013’ in his awards and said that we’re gonna look at getting some titles towards the end of the year if everything goes to plan.
“Scott asked me why I wanted to turn pro and I said: ‘I want that British title on my mantelpiece.’ That’s what I want one day but this year is going to be about working my way up to get there. Jamie Moore came down to our amateur gym a few years back and I got a picture with him holding his British title. I thought then that that was what I wanted. If I won it outright, I’d be happy with that.”
The young prospect still holds down a daytime job as a hospital maintenance worker and had to work over Christmas. He did however treat himself to a few days in Paris following his most recent victory. Not that the trip caused him to return to training in too bad a condition.
“It didn’t get me out of shape because I couldn’t afford to eat and drink too much. I was on table water. It’d be a good place to train!” he laughs. “Maybe Dave could send me and Scott over there for six weeks before the next fight?”
Hanrahan may have to put up with The Silk Road in Macclesfield rather than the Champs-Élysées for the time being but — excuse the cliché — he certainly seems to be following the right path so far.