Wolves fan Andy Gilkes wants to make it third time lucky as he bids to put the boot into his boxing bad luck and score a win in the ring.
The 44-year-old from Pelsall has fought in the Well Wishers charity fight show twice before and lost, so he is hoping for better fortunes in the eagerly-awaited event at Rushall Labour Club on Friday 6 October.
Andy has been training harder this time and thinks the ring savvy of 30 amateur bouts down the years will help him emerge victorious.
“The other two were close – on points decisions – and I’ve been training well, so I’m hoping experience will win the day and I can return to winning ways,” said Andy.
The self-employed courier has tattoos of Wolves icons Sir Jack Hayward, Nuno Espirito Santo, Steve Bull and even Bill Slater lifting the club’s last FA Cup win in 1960 on his left arm.
“I’ve followed Wolves all my life and I take my nephew Kealan to away games now,” said Andy. “I’ve got a team huddle on my arm and underneath it says ‘Come on me babbies!’ so I’m hoping if there are any Wolves fans in the crowd, they can cheer me on.
“I’ve also had the NHS badge sewn on my shorts to show I’m a huge fan of our health service so I’m hoping that will encourage support too.”
Andy was persuaded to appear on this year’s bill by Georgie Westley, Well Wishers Fundraising Manager, when he popped into the Fundraising Hub to say hello during a trip to Walsall Manor Hospital. He was there to be with his mum Marie, 74, who was undergoing bowel surgery and has made a full recovery.
“I’ve sold about 15 tickets but my mum won’t be coming because she doesn’t want to see me being punched and I’ve got a boxer’s face!”
Andy asked for a re-match with his last opponent at a Well Wishers show but the boxer – Glenn Wheldon – recommended a friend of Glenn’s, Ryan Romney from Birmingham who he’s been training, so he will meet him instead in a contest of three, two-minute rounds.
“Someone said to me I’ve got a good engine and I don’t give up and I’ve trained at a lot of gyms up and down the country, so I’m hoping I’m well prepared,” said Andy.
“I feel I’m like a fine wine in that I’ve got better with age, so I’m hoping to give a better account of myself this time.”
This year’s proceeds will go to Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust’s Paediatric Assessment Unit and Children’s Emergency Department to make the area look less clinical, as well as making the breaking news/family room a more peaceful setting. Toys will also be bought for bays and waiting areas.
Tickets, which are in high demand, are priced at £15 including a buffet, and are on sale by calling 01922 721172 extensions 6643 or 7279, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or visiting the Fundraising Hub in the Main Atrium at Walsall Manor Hospital (Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm).
On the night, the doors open at Rushall Labour Club at 7pm and the first bout at 8.15pm. The address is Liberty House, Lichfield Road, Walsall, WS4 1HB and the dress code is smart.