Ricky Leach

Ricky Leach
Ricky Leach is one of boxing’s good guys.  Those at the top of the sport are often as well known for their out of the ring antics as their skills within it, but for a fighter under the radar like Leach his story goes untold.
I speak with him of an evening; other work commitments mean that our schedules conflict.  When we speak there is the challenge of children in the background wanting to share his limited free time.  “That’s one of my foster children” he tells me.  The first of many examples of a warm hearted fighter that is displayed. 
At the time of speaking, Leach (0-4-1) was scheduled to dace Darren Pryce (0-9-2) in what was not just a crossroads fight for two boxers who were searching for their first win, but also had turned in to somewhat of a grudge match.  The two met back in April 2014 in the professional debut of Leach, a fight which ended in a 4 round draw.  The fight was one which Leach believed he won and was looking forward to correcting the result on October 10th.  There was added spice to the fight, when Leach received a message out of the blue.  “Suddenly on Twitter I get someone telling me Pryce is going to do this and that to me.  I didn’t know who this person was and I’ve never had a Twitter war before!” says Leach, displaying his bemusement at an online feud.  This was on top of Pryce himself taking to social media to declare that his opponent had “no power and no skill”.
Unfortunately since speaking, the fight was called off with Pryce unable to go through with the fight.  It has left bantamweight Pryce having to take another fight at short notice, this time in Rotherham against debutant Tom Bell on the undercard of Waleed Din challenging for the vacant Commonwealth flyweight title.  It adds to a recent history for Leach of hitting the road to take fights. Based out of Kent, the fighter has seen his last five fights take place away from home, travelling around the country to be able to fulfil his dream of being a professional boxer.  It is a familiar story for the majority starting out in the sport who don’t have a high profile entrance; the need to balance selling tickets with working a day job makes travelling the only option. However there is a change on the horizon, as a date is set for November 28th where he will at last get to experience fighting in his home town on the card ‘Kent’s Finest’.  With an opponent yet to be set, it promises a new opportunity for Leach to kick start his career.  A win on October 17th would build momentum for his homecoming.
Being on the road hasn’t turned up any wins for Leach – since his debut draw at York Hall in London he has subsequently lost his four bouts.  But it’s not all doom and gloom for the 25 year old, as he has been able to experience both top atmospheres and top talents.  Back in May 2014 he fought on Sky Sports, being the opponent for the debuting Gamal Yafai.  Yafai came to the sport with great hype, following his brother Kal.  It resulted in the only stoppage of Leach’s career as Yafai overwhelmed him in the first round.  “He was good and so strong.  I would love to see him go on and achieve great things in the sport; if he becomes a world champion one day then I can say I shared a ring with him which would be an honour.”  It shows a humility to Leach, a man who perhaps knows his limitations within the sport and acknowledges the ability of others.  “That fight in Leeds though was a great atmosphere, one that I will never forget.”
Outside of the ring Leach shows more signs of a fighter with a heart.  The day we speak not only is he balancing the challenges of home life, media commitments and his own training – I am also catching him at the end of a working day.  He has been assisting at the Thanet Amateur Boxing Club, where he takes on a role working with children who are taken out of school for being disruptive and are able to spend time in the gym as an outlet.  “It’s great” says Leach.  “They don’t always have focus when they’re in school and some of them may find themselves in trouble.  I can take them on the pads in the gym and do some work with them to let off some energy.  If it helps keep them off the streets or out of trouble then it can only be a good thing”. 
Despite having less success at the start of his professional career than he would have hoped for when turning professional last year, there are still aspirations for Leach to build a winning record and aim for titles.  When ask what achievements he would aim for during his career Leach again shows his humility and realistic outlook which displaying the ambitions you would hope for.  “A Southern Area title would be great” says Leach.  “I realise I’m not going to be a world champion but I would love a belt that I can bring home, remind myself when my career is over what I’ve achieved.”
Not all fighters can win world titles.  Not all boxers can be the best in their division.  But what is available to all fighters is the ability to be a role model and ensure that behaviour and respect out of the ring are treated with the same importance as their work within the ring.  Leach may have his ceiling within the sport which he is aware of, but with a home fight looming in November and a debutant to face this weekend the disappointment on missing out on the Pryce rematch can be put behind him and new opportunities realised.

Ricky would like to thank his sponsors Sandwich Leisure Centre and Renowned Roofing and Premier Plumbing Solutions and PR Manager Tim Rickson