WITH most sport on the Isle of Wight hampered by the coronavirus, amid uncertainty over the timeframe before its resumption, the County Press has been speaking to Newport Phoenix Amateur Boxing Club's head coach, Michael Voisey.

Swindon-born Michael, 49, has firmly established himself on the local boxing scene.

Following an illustrious career in the ring himself ­— winning numerous ABA trophies and being picked for the Southern Counties team in the early 1990s ­— he now helps nurture young talent to box at a competitive level.

Michael won his first bout at the Alum Bay Hotel in 1986, which he credits as his most memorable fight.

He lives in Newport, and was educated at All Saints' Primary School, West Wight Middle School and Carisbrooke High School, before studying painting and decorating at the Isle of Wight College ­— his trade today.

He was approached by fellow boxing coach, Derek Wolfe, who guided him to achieve his full coaching badge.

Within the realms of sport, Michael has also swam for West Wight Swimming Club and achieved a place with the Isle of Wight squad.

In football, he played for Wootton.

Here’s what he had to say......

When did you first start boxing and what attracted you to it?

A: I started boxing in 1986. The discipline, challenge and skill of the sport was what first attracted me to it.

What do you enjoy most about the sport?

A: I enjoy my role as head coach as it enables me to transfer my knowledge to the next generation.

I love guiding them and seeing them enjoy, progress and develop in their sport.

What has been the highlight of your sporting days so far?

A: One highlight was feeling proud to be wearing a Southern Counties vest. Another was boxing the Navy's champion, ranked second in Britain.

Who do you look up to in your sport and why?

A: Sugar Ray Leonard was my all-time favourite. I always admired his skill.

Latterly, I would say Tyson Fury with how he’s overcome personal mental health problems.

Who has had the most influence on you in boxing and in what way?

A: I was hugely influenced by my coaches, Adrian Grimes (Freshwater and Totland) and Derek Wolfe (Cowes and Medina). I respect them both greatly. Their dedication and knowledge has inspired me both as a boxer and now as a coach.

Say something nice about one of your teammates?

A: My brother, Chester Voisey, has qualified as a boxing coach this year and I am very proud of his achievement. It’s nice to work alongside him as my brother and as a coach.

What’s the funniest thing you’ve seen in your sport?

A: It has to be seeing a boxer trip on the ropes and make a dramatic entrance by literally falling into the middle of the ring.

If you could pluck any player from the elite level of your sport to play in your team who would it be and why?

A: Sugar Ray Leonard, for his immense skill and his personality — in and out of the ring.

Do you have a set routine in terms of preparation for a competition?

A: I try to create a positive atmosphere and build confidence, followed by lots of technique pad work.

What would you say to somebody to recommend them to your sport and your club?

A: Come along and enjoy the fitness training, discipline and the camaraderie. We as a club are a super supportive team who welcome new faces ­— come and meet us.

What advice would you offer to a youngster starting out in your sport?

A: You never know if you have a flair for boxing unless you try. Enjoy training and never give up ­— you never know where it may take you.

Who would you say are the top ten sporting personalities in the world, ever?

A: Mohamed Ali, Tyson Fury, Tony Adams, Sugar Ray Leonard, Frank Bruno, Thomas Hearns, Joe Calzaghe, Dennis Bergkamp, Thierry Henry and Ian Wright.

What do you find to be the most difficult aspect of participating in your sport?

A: Having a balance between work, family and trying to maintain a high standard of coaching.

What are your aims in your sport?

A: To make Newport Phoenix Boxing Club a success and inspire children and young adults to enjoy the benefits and discipline of boxing and fitness in general.

How would you sum up or describe the club you represent?

A: They are a great team, full of different personalities, who come together to support and encourage each other.

Reveal something about yourself your clubmates would not know?

A: I hate losing ­— though I have a suspicion they may know this.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

A: Never judge a book ­— or an opponent ­— by it’s cover.

Which team do you support and what’s been your favourite moment watching them?

A: The Cuban boxing team for their outstanding all-round boxing style. My favourite moment was watching them at the Olympics in 2000.

Who’s your sporting hero or heroes and why?

A: Sugar Ray Leonard, the all-round greatest boxer, and Michael Watson, the first boxer to beat Nigel Benn.

If you could change one rule in your sport what would it be and why?

A: I wouldn’t change any of the rules. They are all there to protect the boxer.