Returning Joel McIntyre heads up host of hometown fighters to be involved on homecoming 'Pompey Assemble' show

Joel McIntyre makes his ring return in next month's 'Pompey Assemble' show. Picture: Ultimate BoxxerJoel McIntyre makes his ring return in next month's 'Pompey Assemble' show. Picture: Ultimate Boxxer
Joel McIntyre makes his ring return in next month's 'Pompey Assemble' show. Picture: Ultimate Boxxer
Joel McIntyre is putting in the preparations for his return to the ring on an exciting evening for Portsmouth professional boxing next month.

The Leigh Park light heavyweight, who called time on his career after his English title defeat to Miles Shinkwin in December 2018, is now set for his comeback bout on the ‘Pompey Assemble’ card at South Parade Pier on October 23.

McIntyre, 33, who is promoted and managed by show organiser Chris Hitching, will take on Lewis van Poetsch in a showdown being billed as 'The Return of the Mac'.

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Portsmouth fight fans will also have the chance to see a number of prospects from in and around the city on the night, with trainer Michael Ballingall's quartet of son Lucas Ballingall, Gosport's Matt King, Harley Hodgetts and Elley Booth all featuring on the card.

Josh Pritchard-trained Joseph Butler, from Southbourne, and Jack Hillier are another two fighters from just outside the city to feature, while promoter Hitching's 8-1 Swedish featherweight star Lucy Wildheart and Italian female fighter Stefanie Silvio will also be part of the pier show.

Promoter and manager Hitching is excited to see McIntyre make his return and for a show to be held in the city again following the coronavirus pandemic.

He said: ‘I’ve never seen someone so determined at the moment as I have with Joel. I’ve known him for five, six, seven years, he’s so laid back he’d fall over, now he’s pestering me endlessly. I think he’s going to be an absolute beast.

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‘You need some depth on the card and we’re getting there. I had a good meeting the other day with Michael (Ballingall; trainer and manager) and in that time his boys have been on different things.

‘I think it’s changing (boxing in Pompey). There are some good amateur clubs and the boys are coming through so there is that next generation.

‘You’ve got Joel (McIntyre), you’ve got Mark Chamberlain and his brother (Jamie Chamberlain) as well.

‘As long as you can put a platform, there will be opportunities and openings, give them the opportunity on a platform to showcase themselves on a regular basis.’

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With the 'Pompey Assemble' event marking the return of professional boxing in the city, Hitching is hoping to be able to host regular shows moving forward.

His ambition is to help provide a platform for numerous pro fighters from in and around Portsmouth to have the chance to do battle in front of a home crowd.

Hitching added: ‘It’s baby steps, I’ve got a plan, we’ve got a lot of great people around us and we’ve all got the similar idea of what we need to be.

‘My mindset to this is to try to protect the guys and girls a little bit as they go.

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‘This is a statement. When I went for my promoters licence and I was asked why I wanted to be a promoter – it was because Portsmouth is tribal.

‘You look at the football, Fratton Park, you’re getting 18,000 in the third and fourth division, they still come out.’

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