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Page last updated at 13:55 GMT, Saturday, 7 August 2010 14:55 UK

Former champion Weir relishes new role

Jim Black
By Jim Black

Former boxer Paul Weir
Weir was the first Scot to win world titles at two weights

Paul Weir admits that training boxers does not give him anything like the same buzz that he enjoyed as a dual world champion in the mid-1990s.

But the 42-year-old Ayrshireman, who became the first Scot to win world titles at different weights, is enjoying his return to the sport all the same.

Weir was tempted back by a telephone call from Edinburgh welterweight Gary Young in April last year enquiring whether he would be interested in training him.

Young had just recently returned from America and Weir was sufficiently interested to pursue the matter further. He was, however, unlicensed at the time.

Weir recalled: "I contacted the Scottish Area Council of the British Boxing Board of Control and they recommended that I take the Board's test, which I duly did and passed.

"To be honest, I had never seen myself in the role of boxing trainer, because it costs time and money. But, fortunately, I can afford both, in particular the former, because it is time-consuming.

"I enjoy training boxers, but, if I am perfectly honest, no, it doesn't give me the same buzz."

Significantly, within seven months, Weir had moulded Young into a champion, by dint of his points win over Gary McMillan for the vacant Scottish welterweight title last November.

Weir has since added former Commonwealth super-featherweight champion Craig Docherty, super-bantamweight Kris "Badger" Hughes and featherweight Jason Hastie to his list of clients.

I am always looking for somebody who is prepared to train as hard as I did, with the same drive and determination

Paul Weir

But he described the trio as "works in progress", even Docherty at the age of 30, explaining that there is no substitute for experience.

"That's what I have to give to fighters," said Weir.

"Hindsight is a wonderful gift and if I had known back when I was fighting what I know now I suspect that my life would have been different.

"Now I can see situations developing before they actually happen and I have the ability to slow things down, so, yes, I think I have a lot to offer.

"Motivation is one of the keys. If things don't go right the head inevitably goes down, regardless of whether that is in sport or business.

"So it is about educating people and I have been there, seen it, and done it. After I lost to Josue Comacho for the WBO light-flyweight there was a 10-month period of uncertainty when no-one knew for sure what was happening.

"That was a difficult time trying to stay motivated and keeping my mind right, which is a big part of boxing.

"Camacho eventually stepped aside and I subsequently fought Paul Oulden and won the vacant title, but it wasn't easy staying focused."

Weir, who had previously held the mini-flyweight crown, also admits that finding a boxer who shares the same ruthless dedication and commitment he had is proving difficult.

"I am always looking for somebody who is prepared to train as hard as I did, with the same drive and determination, and that is not easy," he said.

"Kris Hughes and Jason Hastie are good lads, but I regard them as still being novices in many ways, and Craig Docherty, for all that he is a former Commonwealth champion who has also fought for world, European and British titles, is also still learning."

Paul Weir poses with his WBO mini flyweight belt in 1993
Weir poses after defending his WBO mini flyweight title in 1993

Hughes is in line to fight Matthew Marsh for the vacant Commonwealth title on a bill in Sunderland on 11 September.

Docherty, meanwhile, will feature on the undercard of Ricky Burns's world super-featherweight title bout with WBO champion Roman Martinez at the Kelvin Hall a week earlier.

But for the time being at least, Weir is still searching for suitable premises to establish his own gym.

He is grateful to manager/promoter Alex Morrison for allowing him to use his plush gym in the east end of Glasgow meantime.

"I have been searching for premises for some time and a couple of deals fell though at the last minute," he said.

"Alex has an excellent facility and I appreciate him allowing me to use it.

"But I am interested only in working with fighters in the role of trainer. I don't want an involvement in management and promotion, because I have no interest whatsoever in the politics of the sport."

Meanwhile, Weir is resigned to living with his spectacular fall from grace when he was sentenced to a 30-month prison term in October 2003.

He added: "It happened and I will never escape from my past. I will always be remembered for two things: winning world titles and going to jail.

"I made the wrong choice and suffered the consequences. But I paid my dues to society and came out a different person.

"I am a businessman who trains fighters and who leads a clean life. But what is for you will not go by you.

"What happened was something I had to deal with and I don't have an issue with it."

It would appear that the boxing community has forgiven Weir his trespasses, for he is to be afforded the honour of being inducted into the Scottish Boxing Hall of Fame later this year.

see also
Burns awaits title destiny
03 Jun 10 |  Boxing
McEwan's dream to emulate Buchanan
28 Jun 10 |  Scotland
Lack of bouts frustrates Simpson
30 Apr 10 |  Boxing
Scottish boxing is fighting fit
25 Jan 10 |  Scotland
McAllister aims to be ring 'icon'
22 Jan 10 |  Boxing
Simpson still hungry
13 Feb 09 |  Boxing
Ex-boxer appeals drug conviction
22 Oct 03 |  Scotland
Boxing basics
13 Dec 05 |  Get Involved
Amateur boxing explained
01 Mar 06 |  Boxing

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