Former Pompey man ready to break new ground

Dave Birmingham, right. Picture: Mick Young (160773-04)
Dave Birmingham, right. Picture: Mick Young (160773-04)
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Dave Birmingham tomorrow bids to complete his transition from professional footballer to champion boxer.

The former Pompey defender is out to claim the Southern Area title when he goes up against Jumanne Camero in London.

The lightweight crown is up for grabs as Birmingham goes into the clash in enemy territory aiming to upset the odds.

Victory would be all the more remarkable with it coming in just his sixth contest at the age of 36.

The pressure man only became a pro boxer last year – and had no experience before fighting in a white-collar bout two-and-a-half years ago.

But Birmingham is now out to complete what would be a unique feat from a Portsmouth sportsman.

He said: ‘I’m looking forward to it, excited and ready to go.

‘He’s the home fighter – but I’ve always been one for going into away dressing rooms and causing a stir!

‘So I’ll be going in to make a mess and get out with the belt!

‘I’ve got a lot of support going up and the Pompey faithful are going to be making a noise at York Hall.

‘I’ll be going in to show you don’t have to be a London boxer to be any good. The hard work is done and my team have done wonders with me.

‘This is on a par with making my debut for Pompey at Ipswich in front of a crowd of 24,000. Nothing will take away from making my first-team debut for my hometown club.

‘This is a different kettle of fish, though. This time I’m going in on my own.

‘There are no team-mates alongside me. I’m the one who has to go through the pain barrier and carry on.

‘I’ve got that support there for me. Just me. It’s amazing and I’m overwhelmed by it.

‘That’s been there all along. Yes, I’ve had the doubters because of my age and experience – but that backing is something special and touching.’

Birmingham is looking to follow in the footsteps of former Sheffield United defender Curtis Woodhouse, who made the switch from football to boxing and won a British title in his 21st contest.

The man who also played on the non-league circuit puts his versatility down to genetics.

He said: ‘There’s Curtis Woodhouse and Leon McKenzie who both boxed.

‘It’s chalk and cheese, though. Two extremes. You get touched in football and fall over. In the boxing ring you get punched and want to hit them back twice as hard and often.

‘My dad was a good boxer and footballer in the navy. My brother and sister are talented sportspeople.

‘So, I guess it’s in the genes. We’re all stubborn and when we get told we can’t do something, we want to prove them wrong.

‘It’s after six fights but the opportunity is there. I’m the underdog but every underdog has his day.’