Former King of England Shayne Singleton determined to become a four-weight champion on his return to the ring!
The seasoned professional, who collected six belts across three weight divisions when utilising Karl Ince’s know-how, is back for more after renewing his licence with the British Boxing Board of Control.
The 32-year-old has surrounded himself with journeyman for his comeback, operating at Darren Stubbs’ base in Oldham alongside coach and former nomad Curtis Gargano.
Singleton has expressed a desire to fight out of the away corner, and teach a few up-and-coming prospects a thing or two, but, make no bones about it, the new middleweight contender wants to win prizes at 160lbs.
“I want to be in the away corner, I want those big fights, I’ve done my time as a pro, I’ve got 24 year’s of experience in boxing, I just want to be let go now,” he said. “This is a sprint, not a marathon for me. I need to start moving to see what I can produce.
“I want a title and I want to test some of these so-called stars that they keep putting up on Sky Sports and BoxNation. I don’t big myself up, my feet are firmly on the ground, I take each fight as it comes, putting in 110% along the way, but when I see some of these lads on TV I just want to be thrown in with them. I want to have a go at them.”
It will be a decade next March since Singleton sent shockwaves through the super-lightweight division when overthrowing king of England, Curtis Woodhouse.
The former Sandygate ABC ace emerged battered, bloodied, bruised, but triumphant following a 10-round war of attrition against the ex-England Under 21 international at Bowlers Exhibition Centre in Manchester.
The pro footballer turned pro fighter, a midfielder for both Sheffield United and Birmingham City, who clocked up more than 300 appearances in the game, was a 1/6 shot to keep hold of his crown.
However, judge Phil Edwards scored the “War of the Roses” showdown 96-94 in Singleton’s favour, Dave Parris opted for the reverse when backing Woodhouse while Steve Gray’s deciding card read 96-95 to the new champion.
Singleton continued: “I won’t walk before I can run, but I’d love to win an English title again. I’ve won titles at three weights so, honestly and truthfully, I want a title at middleweight because then I can add it to my belts at light-welterweight, welterweight and light middleweight.
“I’d be a four-weight champion. I don’t care if it’s a Central Area title or an English one. I’m in the ring to fight and get some belts. I want a belt at middleweight.
“I’ve got 12 months to change my life this time, not 10 years. My mind is in a better place now than it’s been for a long time. I was in a bad place after I’d finished boxing, but now I’ve pulled myself out of that. This is the life that I want to live.”
Singleton doesn’t believe that he got what he deserved out of boxing the first time around. He hadn’t dropped a round leading into the tussle with Woodhouse, stopping a quarter of his opponents along the way, yet it took him 13 fights to earn that breakthrough.
Even then, having added a high-profile name and title to his BoxRec resume, opportunities to change his life forever continued to be hard to come by.
Despite being over-qualified, Singleton struggled to escape the small hall scene, headlining shows at Colne Municipal Hall and Bolton Whites Hotel as well as King George’s Hall in Blackburn.
A 24-month stint of neglect from the sport’s puppet masters caused frustration, but Singleton’s patience paid off when he was presented with a shot at the World Boxing Council’s vacant belt against Sam Eggington at the Ice Arena in Hull.
That was the scene of his first defeat, and the first time he’d been put on the canvas, meaning it was back to the drawing board for the former Park High School pupil.
Singleton won the belt a year later — stopping Adil Anwar on the undercard of Anthony Crolla’s victory over Ismael Barroso for the WBA World lightweight title at Manchester Arena — but then lost out to Bradley Skeete in his penultimate bout with the Lord Lonsdale Belt up for grabs.
“I don’t really think I got what I deserved back when I was fighting,” he said. “I was unbeaten in 20 fights before I got to appear on a card on Sky Sports. I was flying through opponents and I wasn’t losing rounds.
“The first rounds I lost were in my 14th fight against Woodhouse. I lost four rounds in a 10-round English title fight and then didn’t lose another until my 20th fight. What more did I have to do? I was knocking opponents out as well.
“Imagine if I was producing the goods like that now, where would I be? Who would’ve looked after me, who’d be moving me on to big title shots?
“That’s what’s happening for some of these fighters now. People are getting high up in the world rankings without even fighting for a title.”
Singleton’s accolades might be decorative now, holding ornamental value, but his antiques from days gone by are inspiring a new generation of fighters.
The Wachira Fight and Fitness coach’s exploits are already rubbing off on some of his students, including son Stanley.
“My WBC International belt is on my Dad’s mantelpiece, my other WBC International strap is framed on my living room wall and then the other ones are in a cupboard,” he said.
“Stanley is asking about it now. It’s amazing because he never saw me fight so it’s all surreal to him. My Dad was having a bit of a clear-out and he gave me a washing basket filled with trophies that I’d won from the amateurs and it blew Stanley’s mind.
“He’s seen the belts around the house since being little so they’re just like an ornament, so he was buzzing when I gave him one for his bedroom. It was the gold medal that I won in the Tri-Nations.”
Singleton concluded: “He loves it, I can’t keep him out of the gym, it’s really nice to see. I know the game so I’ll never push him to fight, that’s up to him, but he’s got potential.
“He’s doing things that I haven’t even taught him yet; in and out with his feet, throwing his double jab. A lot of seven-year-olds don’t do that, it’s just in him.
“I’ve recently started watching some of my fights back with him. I showed him the picture from when I fought Curtis Woodhouse, it was the first time he’d seen it, he couldn’t believe it.”
Those were times that his children would’ve been too young to remember, but he’s determined to ensure that his renaissance will be a time they’ll never forget!
Shayne would like to thank A. Kutz Barbers, Uprite Scaffolding, Nolan K9, Intershape Transformation Facility and Canning’s Construction for their sponsorship and support.