“It’s a huge fight” - Brighouse boxer First ready for title bout at Elland Road this Sunday

Calderdale boxer Jimmy First will compete for the Central area lightweight title at Elland Road on Sunday.

Thursday, 16th September 2021, 2:34 pm
James First. Photo: Matt Radcliffe

First, who trains at Dicky’s Gym, where Josh Warrington has also trained, is 40-years-old, only started boxing when he was 29, turning pro aged 36.

His professional record is nine wins, no losses and three wins by technical knock out.

He faces Justin Newell, who has 13 wins and no losses, this weekend at the Pavillion Banqueting suite at Elland Road.

First, who grew up in Hipperholme and lives in Brighouse, said: “I didn’t start boxing until the tender age of 29, which is very old for boxing, but anything is possible and age is just a number.

“I had 26 amateur fights with Halifax Boxing Club, became Yorkshire Champion and national semi finalist, missing out by one point of a spot in the final.

“I turned pro at age of 36, I had to give it a go or I would have regretted it.

“I train at Dicky’s Gym in Batley with Mark Hurley, who is doing some brilliant work throughout lockdown and also train with Chris Aston, my manager, in Slaithwaite at Northern Fitness.

“I was meant to fight for the Central Area Title two weeks before the first lockdown, and then again in December but there was another cancellation due to Covid, so this is third time lucky.

“It’s a huge fight, two Yorkshire lads who know each other and are putting their unbeaten records on the line. I’m looking to make history by becoming one of the oldest lightweights today ever win a recognised professional title.”

First still sells wins as his day job and says he picked up valuable experience sparring in Cuba and the Philippines while he was travelling.

“The dream would be win this,” he said. “I’m not looking past this fight, but the English and British titles would be a dream come true.”