Having had to take plenty of knocks in his professional career, Paul Economides finally feels he is getting his just reward for years of hard work.
The 31-year-old, who lives in Vicars Cross, almost turned his back on the sport in 2015 after a string of let downs with scheduled opponents left him having to face some of boxing’s journeymen.
But after a chance encounter with promoter David Coldwell later that same year, Economides has seen his fortunes change for the better and now, after a comprehensive victory over Artif Ali in Barnsley last year for the Central Area super bantamweight title, he is now set for a British title eliminator fight.
Chester-born Economides will take on Jason Cunningham in Doncaster on February 24 and knows that victory will give him a chance to realise his dream of a British title.
“It’s been a long road but I’ve managed to get there,” said Economides, who is ranked number six in the British rankings at super bantamweight.
“I’ve had some really low moments and I felt like chucking it all in on more than one occasion. Even though I’d make more money if I went full-time with work I just can’t turn my back on the sport as I love it so much.
“My family supported me and my trainer Steve [Goodwin] supported me and then Dave Coldwell opened up a lot of new doors for me and now I have the the British title in my sights.
“Jason Cunningham is a good kid but I’m feeling the best I ever had and I’ve been putting in the hours and the hard graft.”
That hard graft has meant that he has left no stone unturned, heading in to the gym on Christmas Day in order to stay sharp.
“There are no days off in this,” said Economides, who has been backed by DGM Solicitors and Spectre Drive Hire for the fight next month.
“People see the fight and think that it’s easy money for a few minutes in the ring but it’s so much more than that.
“It takes over my life and I was in on Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day, you name it. But it is what you have to do to realise your dream.”
And Economides reserved special praise for his trainer Goodwin, who he has worked with since turning professional in 2008 at the Chester Boxers gym in Lightfoot Street, Hoole.
“I’ve put my heart and soul into this sport and Steve has been there with me all the way and kept pushing me,” said Economides, who grew up in Connah’s Quay.
“As dedicated as I am, Steve has been just as dedicated and been in with me at all hours and making sure I’m always focused and ready for what is to come.
“It would be great if we could go the distance to a British title. That’s the aim.”