Six rounds of skipping followed by press-ups, squats and burpees. For most fitness fans that’s a good workout. For Kevin Traynor that’s just his warm up.
With three semi-professional boxing titles under his belt, the 30-year-old Roads & Grounds Roadworker has been spending three hours in the gym, six days a week for the past two months preparing for his first professional fight this Saturday (June 15th) in Livingston.
Nicknamed the ‘Denny Warrior’, he’ll face another professional debutant, Aberdonian Craig Leadbitter, at a charity boxing show organised to raise funds and awareness of men's mental health charities.
He said: “I’m really excited and will go into the ring like I have every other time, believing no man on this planet can beat me. That’s just the mindset I have. My opponent is no journeyman either. We are both there to win. I can take a lot of punches and have a good chin so I’m a fan favourite. I believe I can win and if I do I then want to go for a professional Scottish title and a British title too.”
Fighting as a super featherweight means Kevin has to drop from his natural 64kg to 59kg. He still has a few kilos lose, which means watching what he eats and spending hours in a sauna before his weigh-in this week.
“When I had to cut weight for my last fight I volunteered to put the oil skins on and did the shovelling for tarring and I lost most of the weight at work,” he said. “Because we finish here at 4pm it makes it easier to fit in all the training I've had to do as I get to my gym, Urban Guerrillas, before 5pm, train and am settled at home for 8pm. It is a long day, and you can feel scunnered with it all, but keeping fit is also really handy for the type of work I do as there’s a lot of heaving lifting and hard graft involved.”
Inspired by watching Ricky Hatton fight, it took Kevin just six months to learn the ropes before his first amateur fight aged 19. When he went for his second Scottish title aged 28 he threw 136 punches in the first round – more than a punch a second. Then in his mid-20s he hung up his gloves.
“I became unmotivated and lazy and was out for three years. During that time my friend, Monty Ogilvie, started rising through the professional ranks and I began thinking where would I be if I’d not taken time out? That was enough to get me back training.”
Although he’s always been mentally strong, Kevin’s proud his professional debut fight is part of an event raising awareness of men's mental health issues.
“Men tend to hide their problems as they maybe feel less of a man because of them, but that’s not the case. The charities involved this weekend do a lot to help folk so I’m really glad to be involved.”