Undefeated Halifax pro boxer prepares for his toughest fight inside and outside the ring

A 26-year old undefeated Halifax boxer is preparing for his toughest fight yet both inside and outside the ring.
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Joe “The Ghost” Garside has won five fights from five since turning professional last year and in intense training to take on another undefeated fighter, Adam Sircar, at Oldham Leisure Centre on Saturday, October 1.

But, away from his preparations for the bout, Joe wants to put the focus on supporting young people, particularly boys facing challenges at home, school and in life, to be the best they can be and achieve their potential.

The 5ft 9 fighter has opened up about the struggles he has faced and his passion for making a difference in an effort to use his profile, and the sport he loves, for good.

Joe GarsideJoe Garside
Joe Garside

Joe wrote he was going to be a boxer when he was asked what he wanted to be when he grew up at the age of seven. But it took another few years before those words became reality when he started training and fighting as an amateur after meeting the town’s well-known coach Mick Rowe at the age of 13.

For the next four years he was dedicated – training, going to the gym, learning. But then from the age of 17, he freely admits that he went off the rails – even though he didn’t know he had at the time.

At College, but not really working. With a part-time job at Nandos, but doing nothing other than go through the motions. With boxing being a constant, but the passion and desire no longer there.

He reluctantly signed up to train for the Marines to break the cycle and try to emerge from the hole so many young men fall down with so little support, but after 15-weeks, it was clear it wasn’t for him and it wasn’t to be - so it was back to boxing, but this time with the desire and commitment of seeing what life without the sport was like. And, from then, Joe has never looked back.

Joe GarsideJoe Garside
Joe Garside
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As an amateur, Joe fought at Halifax Police Boxing Club and Hebden Bridge Boxing Club.

He decided it was time to move on from being an amateur, signed with manager and promoter Kevin Maree and began his professional career as “The Ghost” in January 2021. Since then, he has fought five times, and won five times – the last against Phil Price in Leeds this June.

Joe is now coached by Al Osta at his boxing gym, Osta’s, in Leeds who he credits with taking him on to the next level. His next fight on 1 October is against Adam Sircar who is similarly undefeated having won his first four from four as a pro boxer. Taking on a 50-50 fight is something he pushed for, and something he’s relishing.

“I want to be tested as a boxer, I want to have to fight hard for a win which is why the fight on 1 October in Oldham is the right one at the right time for me,” he said.

Joe GarsideJoe Garside
Joe Garside

"It will be a real contest – a real show for those paying to come along and watch, a real challenge for me having to be better than I ever have before to win, and a real inspiration I hope to all those who follow me. I can’t wait.”

Joe wants to go as far as he can in the sport, keep winning but not be afraid of losing, learning and coming back stronger:

“Everyone in boxing is still learning and I really believe that the moment you say ‘okay, I’ve learned everything’ is when you are going to be found out. You have always got to strive for perfection, but no-one is perfect and you can always improve. Always.”

He has been telling his story at Osta’s Boxing Gym in Leeds, where he has trained for a number of years, and encourages the other young, aspiring boxers there to open up and get the help they need.

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Joe says he wants to make a difference and use boxing as a force for good, particularly among young people.

“When I started out in boxing aged 13 and I saw people like Halifax’s Liam Walsh and being starstruck. I’m not saying young people are the same when they meet me, but you do get an energy when you’re talking to a kid who is enthusiastic about boxing, is speaking to someone who does that sport for a living, and it gives them that bit of encouragement.

"You hope it pushes them in the right direction so they say ‘you know what? I’m not going to go out and be an idiot tonight, I’m going to go training because that guy might be there’. And that, to me, having been that kid, is priceless.”

Joe also hopes he can work with charities and organisations that support young people in his efforts, and work with businesses and companies who will support him inside and outside the ring to make that happen. He says there is far too little focus on people like him when children think about what they want to do and who they can be, which doesn’t help them when life presents challenges:

“I think everyone can look back with hindsight, but I don’t believe anyone can look back and say they don’t regret anything they have done. When I was turning 20, I got sucked into doing stupid things on nights out and obviously that had a detrimental effect on me, my mental health and of those around me. I didn’t believe in myself, and I wish I had because I’d have kicked on with my boxing from the age of seven or eight and not my mid-20s.

“So, I regret that, but I can’t change it, so I have to think that everything happens for a reason. It also makes me more determined to stay on the straight and narrow now, use what happened to me both personally to be a better boxer and person, and also use it to inspire other young people facing the same dilemmas and challenges I had to try and make sure they choose the right option, not the easy one.”