Aberdeen Assassin Lee McAllister today insisted he is boxing better than ever, despite being 36 and having not fought for more than a year.
Fighting for the first time in 14 months, McAllister will tonight face Ghana’s Justice Addy at middleweight in Barrow-in-Furness.
Having last boxed at heavyweight in July last year, McAllister has shed five stone for his ring return.
Up for grabs are the Professional Boxing Council (PBC) International title and the PBC Commonwealth title.
Mcallister insists he is like a “magpie” in his ongoing quest to secure “shiny belts” and aims to add another two tonight.
He said: “Coming down from 16 stone-odd to this weight (11 stone 4lbs, middleweight) has been a challenge.
“However, challenges are what keep me going.
“I am here to promote the belief that anything can be achieved.
“People say I am too old, but age is just a number to me.
“You are only as old as you feel.
“I feel sharper and better now than I ever was.
“I am also more controlled and relaxed.
“Everyone around me has been saying that I am a better fighter now than I have ever been.
“Why would I say just because I am in my thirties I can’t do it?
“Of course I can do it and I will continue to box until I decide that my time is up.”
It will be a case of third time lucky tonight when McAllister faces Addy after two previous fights with the Ghanaian fell through.
McAllister was set to face Addy at super-welterweight in a top-of- the-bill fight at Livingston FC’s Tony Macaroni Arena in July.
It was set to be the first open-air boxing event in Scotland since Mike Tyson fought at Hampden in summer 2000. However, the entire event – arranged to promote mental health awareness – was scrapped at the 11th hour due to red tape.
McAllister was also scheduled to face Addy at Aberdeen’s Beach Ballroom on October 2017 for two PBC titles at super-welterweight.
But problems with Addy’s visa saw the fight fall through, with fellow Ghanaian Ishmael Tetteh (34-13-2) secured as a replacement. McAllister won the bout.
The Aberdonian said: “This is the chance for redemption and a fight that I felt I had to do after the last one didn’t happen.
“I took the fight in England just to get it on and step back into the ring.
“The belts mean more to me than money.
“I am in it for the belts.
“I am like a magpie, I love shiny things.
“I have more belts than Primark.”
McAllister expects a tough test against Addy, who boasts a professional record of 16 wins, five losses and one draw.
Addy recently lost a Ghanaian welterweight title clash to former Commonwealth and WBC international title contender Joseph Lamptey by unanimous decision.
McAllister said: “Addy is a good boxer who is tough as nails.
“Although he can punch and has real dig, Addy is also a very well-schooled boxer.
“Many boxers from Africa come looking for a war and a fight, but he can box.
“Addy is also tall and rangy. He is naturally the bigger fighter and is about six feet.
“I am not looking past Addy, but I am targeting another world title fight to push myself back into that scene.”
McAllister has not fought since stepping up six weights to deliver a shock win at heavyweight against former British and Commonwealth champion Danny Williams.
Such was the shock of losing to McAllister last year, Williams, who famously knocked out heavyweight legend Mike Tyson, immediately announced his retirement from boxing.
McAllister said: “If I can defeat Addy tonight it will make me a six-weight champion.
“I have won titles at lightweight, light-welter, welter, super-welter, heavyweight and now it will be middleweight. Ultimately, I want to fight for a middleweight world title in the future if I can.
“I am excited to get back into the ring and get going again.
“It has been a while since I last fought and now I am looking to get three fights in before the end of the year if possible – all going well with this fight against Addy.”
McAllister is undefeated since returning from a three-year lay-off in 2016, when he retired from the ring.
He had last fought in April 2013 – a points win over Ivan Godor in the Granite City.
At the age of 34 he made a winning return when defeating Will Cairns by second-round stoppage in November 2016 in Bradford.
Since then he has secured belts at welterweight, super-welterweight and heavyweight. McAllister said: “I never retired for myself, I retired due to some injuries and for my children at that point.
“My main concern was looking after my children and making sure they were alright.
“It wasn’t until my daughter Liyah, who is now 11, and Lexiy, who is now nine, asked me why I didn’t box anymore.
“They asked me if I had enjoyed boxing.
“When I replied that I did, they asked why I wasn’t fighting and said they wanted me to box again.
“That is the only reason I came back fighting – for my kids.
“They wanted me to come back.
“That gave me the green light and I was over the moon.”