Joe Hayden: Former semi-professional footballer from Doncaster makes winning start to boxing career

‘Scoring was a good feeling but nothing so far compares to having my hand raised’.

Friday, 8th July 2022, 12:00 am
Updated Friday, 8th July 2022, 11:33 am

A footballer-turned-boxer from Doncaster is punching the sky after making a winning start to his professional career in the ring.

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Conisbrough-based Joe Hayden overcame Russian fighter Evgenii Vazem on points at the Magna Centre last Friday.

Conisbrough's Joe Hayden gets his arm raised at the Magna Centre in Rotherham. Photo: GBM Sports

"It was brilliant,” said the 22-year-old former Saint Pius pupil, who was cheered on by around 300 friends and family.

"It felt like I was boxing at the MGM Grand, it was an unbelievable experience.”

Super welterweight Joe boxed in his youth but the sport took a backseat in his life while he focused on football.

There were spells with Maltby Main, Frickley Athletic and Rossington Main before a knee injury put a stop to his football career.

So how does the feeling of scoring a goal compare to having your hand raised in victory?

“I was a defender so scoring was rare,” admitted Joe.

"When I did score it was a good feeling but nothing so far compares to having my hand raised and how it’s going to feel when I win a title.”

Friday was just Joe’s sixth boxing bout - but he insisted there were no nerves as he made his ring walk.

"I have never felt so calm and ready for something,” he said.

"It was a weird feeling in itself being so calm. Usually I have butterflies. When I started getting ready I was buzzing.”

Joe, who is trained by popular heavyweight Dave Allen, continued: “I just felt so focused and ready to fight, I know I had done everything I needed to do.

"The only thing that was going to let me down was me and I knew for a fact I wasn’t going to let myself down.”

There was little time to enjoy himself after the fight, however, as Joe resumed his schedule of training twice a day six times a week on Monday morning.

"I’m playing catch-up really with the lack of experience I have had in the amateur game,” he added.

"I’m not resting or going on little breaks, I’m getting back in there and bettering myself and my skills.”

The prospect of another ‘unbelievable’ experience boxing in Doncaster is now in the pipeline for Joe’s second professional fight on October 14.