Local Mixed Martial Arts star Boyd Allen, a former amateur boxer, is to turn pro with Golden Gloves in the new year.
The one-time EFC featherweight champion, who also boasts a win over then lightweight boss Leon Mynhardt, wants to commit himself to boxing having reached the pinnacle of local MMA.
Aged 28, Boyd believes a new-style athlete is emerging; one that could blend both MMA and boxing – if given the chance. He says that UFC star Conor McGregor pointed to all sorts of possibilities in his hyped crossover fight with Floyd Mayweather, although his mission is less about marketing than stretching his ambition.
“What many people don’t know is that I had a solid amateur boxing background fighting out of Springs on the East Rand. I then boxed in Kempton and ended with Harold Volbrecht, amassing a 30-4 record.”
His brother Quade was a decorated amateur, too, winning both a Gauteng and SA title, so boxing is more than just a passing interest for Allen. He means business.
He mulled over the possibility of turning pro in his early 20s, but MMA drew him in and success was instantaneous as he reeled off several wins before being enticed to the EFC. Not only did he make a big impact as a fighter, he soon headed fight cards and attracted a big fan base who warmed to his fan-friendly style and laid-back attitude.
Competing out of the popular Fight Fit Militia gym in Sunninghill, he enjoyed a three-year reign as champion and most recently fought last month, beating Calum Murray at Carnival City to take his record to a respectable 16-3-1 in the octagon.
Interestingly, a recent poll on this site asked fans which South African MMA fighter fans would most like to see in the boxing ring, and Allen was the overwhelming number one choice.
His stand-up game, which demands key boxing skills, is excellent, which is no surprise given his amateur background and his frequent visits to Colin Nathan’s HotBox gym for training.
Nathan calls it as he sees it and he believes that Allen has the game to make a big impact on boxing.
“He more than holds his own in sparring. He has fast hands and can take a crack,” says the celebrated trainer. “Plus, he’s a pleasure to deal with. The fans love him in MMA and they’ll love him in boxing. He’s got a lot to offer . . . I look forward to having an opportunity to work his corner.”
Allen says he would love to pursue both MMA and boxing, but isn’t sure the respective authorities will let him do so. He’s adamant this fresh pursuit isn’t a gimmick, his amateur boxing proving he has the smarts to look after himself in the ring.
“I’m not going in blind,” he says. “I’m contracted to EFC, but I hope they give me the okay. There’s a new breed of athlete emerging, which I’m sure they understand. I’d like the option of going back, but I’m determined to make a go of boxing. I’m not interested in a one-off, high profile fight. I want to do what I did in EFC and be successful in boxing.”
Promoter Rodney Berman is intrigued by the possibility.
“Firstly, he’s a great kid with charisma and personality. I’ve heard he’s a top-class fighter and handles himself well in the gym. The measure will be in the ring and hopefully he’ll get his license in February and have his first pro fight soon after.”
If nothing else, it’s a grand experiment that could take flight or peter out. The early betting, though, is that talent will out and Allen will carve out a nice chunk of history as he seeks to become a two-sport star.