From over 17 stone to ranked 17th in Britain, Marc Kerr is on a boxing journey. He has already laid claim to the Scottish middleweight title and now, back down at 11 stone, he’s looking to bag the Celtic super-welterweight strap this Friday.
Ever edging up the rankings, Kerr could fast become a real contender domestically with a few more meaningful wins under his belt. Having taken up the sport so late, that’s a remarkable feat. What makes it still more remarkable is the fact that the Marc Kerr who took up boxing at 20 years old had no particular designs on fighting- and weighed 17.5 stone.
“I just grew up that way,” Kerr told Boxing News. “I was an overweight child and it just kept getting out of hand. I didn’t really control what I was doing or what I was eating. I got sick of it all though and I had to make a change. I started trying to lose a bit of weight and I took to boxing, that was me from there. I knew I had to do something.”
“I didn’t start boxing ‘til late and it wasn’t that I didn’t have any ambition but I didn’t expect this to happen so I kind of want to keep going and going and see where the road takes us.”
The Glaswegian faces Dublin’s Jay Byrne (7-6) this Friday at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Glasgow. Kerr (12-1) relies on a high work-rate and swarming attacks to undo his opponents. Stylistically that mirrors his Irish counterpart and the resulting fight could be a real war as a result. “I think it’s got the makings of a great fight,” says Kerr. “I don’t see how those styles don’t gel come Friday night. Both of us will want to stand in the centre of the ring. Jay’s anticipating a bit of a war and I’ll be happy to oblige.”
10yr difference Said before and will say it again little bit of hard work goes along way 18stone down to 11stone today and ready to fight for my 3rd title as a Professional boxer Put your mind to it and you can do anything you want #BelieveInMagic pic.twitter.com/PsDLFQfr9i
— Marc Kerr (@MarcyKerr) November 29, 2018
Byrne has lost in his last two outings, stopped once by experienced operator, Paddy Gallagher (14-4), and bested on points by slick Dundee southpaw Paul Kean (8-1). He showed aggression and heart in going the distance against Kean though, having taken the fight at short notice. In contrast, this time around both fighters have had a full camp for their Celtic title tilts, adding fuel to those potentially gelling styles.
Jay will need a solid camp behind him though, as a former opponent of Kerr attests: “You’d better be fit or tough if you’re in there with him” said one of Britain’s most experienced pros, Lewis van Poetsch. “Marc’s style is a good old fashioned pro style. Good educated pressure and he lets his hands go when he gets you where he wants you.”
The 28-year-old Scot let his hands go to claim his first stoppage win in March of this year, over fellow Scotsman Ian Trotter (5-0). He laid claim to the Scottish middleweight crown in that bout, on the Taylor-Campos undercard, but is now happier to be competing back at his natural weight.
“It was good to go back to the Hydro, where I had my first loss, and right those wrongs,” says Kerr. “It brought out the best in me, fighting someone with a record like that. You’ll only know if you test yourself and that’s what I’ve always wanted to do in boxing. I learnt that I could compete at Scottish level and pass by it as well.”
Marc is indeed keen to pass by Scottish title level and, in testament to his confidence, is keen to take on the division’s big boys domestically. “As a fighter I really want to try and fight Ted Cheeseman or Anthony Fowler. I just think those two are the best British level fighters just now domestically,” says Kerr. “I think they’re great fighters that you’d pay to watch, with exciting styles, and I think if I can get to that level and test myself against them that would be amazing. Those two are flying just now.”
“If I beat Jay Byrne I’d like to fight a British eliminator fight next, if I could. That boy Scott Fitzgerald, I like that fight. Then if I could fight like a Ted Cheeseman I think that’d be great for me.”
He’s got an eagle eye on those around him in the rankings then, citing the likes of Asinia Byfield, Billy Bird and Fitzgerald as fighters he’d happily face off against. He also agreed with his former opponent, Van Poetsch, that a match-up with English champ Adam Harper could be a barn-stormer.
“Marc and Adam Harper remind me so much of each other, especially having shared a ring with both gents,” said Lewis. “They both fight similar styles and are quietly climbing the rankings of the sport in their own ways. But I’ve got a feeling they aren’t finished climbing and if they met it would be a great domestic dust up. Fight of the year maybe?”
Kerr agreed that a bout for the two champions could hold appeal: “With Harper coming off that good win that could make sense, the Scottish Champion versus the English Champion. That fight as a British eliminator would be a great fight.”
Whatever the future holds Kerr will go in the favourite on Friday night against Byrne. He’s coming off a big win seized from the away corner but Byrne is not to be taken lightly. If these styles are as complementary on canvas as they look on paper this will be a Celtic title clash to remember. Expect entertaining domestic action.