Former Sandygate ABC sensation Sam Larkin reduced to tears after learning he’ll never fight again

Former Sandygate ABC fighter Sam Larkin
Former Sandygate ABC fighter Sam Larkin

A heart-broken Sam Larkin isn’t ashamed to share the moment when he broke down in tears after learning that his boxing career was all over.

The usually happy-go-lucky, hyperactive, larger than life character revealed that his emotions got the better of him when he received the bad news.

The 28-year-old, who is renowned for being a ball of energy, was hit with the biggest blow of his tenure when an irregularity on his brain scan forced the British Boxing Board of Control to revoke his licence.

Specialists have since revealed that the abnormality is in fact a bleed and Larkin - who is struggling to come to terms with the fact that he’ll never fight again - has been referred to a neurologist.

After being informed that it was the end of the line, he said: “It’s broken my heart. When I go home and I’m on my own that’s when it hits me.

“I feel depressed, it’s really done me. I was so passionate about the sport.

“Tommy’s mum was the love of my life and I didn’t feel like this when she left me. I was crying when I received the news, I was in tears.

“I was at work at the time and I had to down my tools, take half-an-hour, and I cried my eyes out.

“I don’t think it’s properly sunk in yet. I’ve been boxing all my life, since the age of six, and it’s all ended just like that. Now I’ve got nothing.”

The former Sandygate ABC star accepts that health is wealth, especially when he’s got a son to think about.

The death of American super-welterweight Patrick Day, who suffered a traumatic brain injury during a knockout loss to Charles Conwell this month, really hit home.

Larkin, who trained under Alex Matvienko at Elite Boxing in Bolton, found out about his deformation just days before he had been scheduled to face George Brennan at the Woodhouse Park Lifestyle Centre in Wythenshawe.

“I’ve had to accept it now, I’ve got a son and I have to think about him,” Larkin said. “Your health comes first when it all boils down to it.

“It’s a good job they found it when they did because I had a fight lined up against George Brennan. I was boxing on the Sunday and I was notified on Wednesday.

“It was a bleed on the brain and, in the end, they told me that I’d never fight again. Alex called me with the news after they’d had a fourth opinion.

“I’ve been getting headaches recently so I need to go to hospital to see a neurologist.”

The former Park High School pupil’s dream quickly developed in to a nightmare.

He was an athlete with so much promise, who dedicated so much time to the sport.

With victories over Ricky Leach and Luke Fash sandwiching his setback against Jamie Quinn, the super featherweight was building up a head of steam.

He’d sparred with a number of exciting prospects and he’d had visions of triumphs, titles and turbulent tilts with the best pugilists his division had to offer.

He said: “I’ve only had three fights since turning pro and now it’s all over. People say to me ‘at least you’ve done what 90% of people dream of doing’, but it doesn’t feel that way to me.

“I’m only 28 so I still had years left ahead of me. I wanted to win a title badly and I could have got there. I was just getting going.

“I’ve trained hard with an amazing team at Elite Boxing. I’ve become a better fighter and an even better man since I joined them.

“I’ve sparred with top level fighters, I proved myself and I’ve lived the dream for two years. It felt like fame at the time; it was mint while it lasted.”

Larkin may feel demoralised, but, to his credit, he won’t stand still and watch what he’s achieved go up in smoke. 

He isn’t going to let the education he’s received and the skills he’s acquired become derelict. 

Deterioration simply isn’t an option for somebody who has fought so hard in every walk of life.

After sourcing space at Wachira Boxing Gym in Colne, where he coaches people of all abilities around his full-time job, Larkin finished: “I’m back in the gym and coaching people at the moment so that’s helping me take my mind off it. 

“I’m still around boxing so it doesn’t feel as bad. It’s not as good as walking in to the ring, though.

”I don’t want to walk away from the sport completely, I need to stay involved, I’ve got a vision. I feel at home in the gym.”