Piper to end boxing and emigrate to Australia

Piper to end boxing and emigrate to Australia

Sully’s Gareth Piper (3-12-2) has fought his final fight and is set to move to Australia. On Saturday, the Welshman dropped and defeated MH Legg (1-1) after accepting the bout in the Londoner’s hometown on just five days notice. Fittingly, Piper’s last ever outing was a reflective snapshot of his professional career. He said: “I very often get the late notice calls, to be honest. When you can’t shift tickets and don’t want to sit on the shelf, there’s nothing else you can do. I just get on with it, really. “I’ve been spat on, had chewing gum thrown at me by people who are not boxing fans, they’re fighter’s friends but I’ve just got on with it.” After a 10-year application process, Piper has been granted permanent Australian residency and will move with his partner Claire and their two sons to Perth, where the 29 year old plans to join the Western Australia Police. He said: “I am moving on and going to Australia. I feel that with the opportunities of work out there, the life me and my wife can offer my two boys… it’s not even a question that needs answering.” Piper, nephew of former world title challenger Nicky Piper, had his first amateur contest 19 years ago and represented Penarth ABC and Victoria Park ABC in the unpaid code. Reflecting on his start in boxing, Piper said: “I remember in the amateurs, I didn’t ever get an easy ride because when you’ve got a name like mine, people expect a certain level of performance and I’ve always tried to carve my own path, as proud as I am of my name.” The light-middleweight had hopes of a successful professional career when he turned over in 2010 but when Piper’s ticket sales stalled, the financial reality of the small hall circuit forced him to take late notice fights on the road and in the away corner. He said: “It became very real, very quick. I vowed that I don’t care if I don’t sell tickets, I don’t care if I’m the away guy or up against it – what better test is there? At least I was honest. I was always, first and foremost, interested in my development and not the glory of the sport. “I never had a ‘Poster Boy’ career and for that I’m happy. Looking back, there would be nothing worse for me than getting to the end of my career and meeting a real fighter and getting hurt. I had all my tests early on and been through a lot of stuff. It’s been the most wonderful journey.” However, Piper doesn’t accept the ‘journeyman’ tag that may be placed on boxers with records like his own. ‘The Viper’, who was managed by Mickey Helliet for the latter part of his career, was never stopped in 17 outings and felt scorned by the judges on more than one occasion. He said: “I think that there are two labels that people are aware of; prospect and the journeyman. I made a kind of unique type of fighter, I was in between. I’ve always gone to win, especially in the pros. “Early on, I had a draw on my debut against a journeyman and it was the most beneficial kick up the a*** I’ve ever had. Without journeymen in our game, it doesn’t happen and I take nothing away from them but I was never a journeyman, I am not a journeyman. In my heart of hearts, I was going to win, every single time. “My proudest thing though, is I’ve never made an excuse when I have lost. My record isn’t a reflection of me, so I want my actions to be a reflection of me. I honestly believe I had no natural talent. Everything I do, I’ve learnt and taught myself, developed that way.” The gym above the Royal Oak pub in the traditional Irish area of Adamstown, Cardiff was once the training site of International Boxing Hall of fame entrant ‘Peerless’ Jim Driscoll but following his untimely death at 44 years old in 1925, it stood unused for decades. However, Piper and Gareth Seward, close friend and trainer, restored it in 2009 and they were honored to breathe new life in to a historic landmark of Welsh boxing. He said: “People have come and gone through here. To have my name above the door, amongst the likes of Jim Driscoll, is wonderful. It’s been an honour and a privilege to be here, under the old ‘Jim Driscoll’s Gym’ sign. “When we came here, it literally was just a shell, nothing but a carpet. The carpet is still here and we’ve had a blast.” Piper, whose earliest memory of boxing was being babysat at four years old as his father Clifford Piper trained in a ring, would like to pay tribute to the help he received from his father, Gareth Seward, Michael Seward and Richie Heath in his five year professional career.

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