Wick boxer Liall Mackenzie set for pro comeback at Highland Skirmish
Easier access to your trusted, local news. Subscribe to a digital package and support local news publishing.
Wick boxer Liall Mackenzie is looking forward to his first professional fight in more than four years at a high-profile event in the Highland capital next weekend.
Mackenzie is one of a number of boxers from the Highlands and Moray on the bill for the Highland Skirmish at Inverness Leisure Centre on Saturday, May 28, and he will be backed by a big travelling support.
The 33-year-old welterweight has adopted the name Liall "The Pict" Mackenzie as he returns to the pro ranks. To the best of his knowledge he is the first professional boxer from Caithness.
Mackenzie, who works as a Wick airport firefighter, is the founder and head coach of Caithness Boxing Club.
He took up boxing in his early twenties while in the army and was welterweight champion of the Black Watch. He trains six nights a week, often twice daily.
The Highland Skirmish will be his first professional bout since February 2018.
“It will be my fourth professional fight," Mackenzie said. “I fought as an amateur, then I turned professional. I started Caithness Boxing Club around the same time as I was turning professional in 2017.
“I had three pro fights but I was still working full-time, trying to box professionally, run the boxing club, and it was just far too much. Basically something had to give and my boxing career is what gave, and I just concentrated on coaching.
“Because I stopped, my professional licence ran out but I've renewed it now.
“The reason that I'm now able to fight again is that we've got more coaches on board at Caithness Boxing Club so they're kind of taking the slack as far as coaching is concerned which is allowing me to resume my boxing career.
“I've signed a three-year contract with David McAllister [Northern Sporting Club]. I'm 33 now, so that will take me until I'm 36, and then that'll do me.”
Others on the bill for the Highland Skirmish include Ben Bartlett (Strathpeffer), Luca Micheletti (Inverness), Andrew Smart (Elgin) and Fraser Wilkinson (Hopeman).
Mackenzie said: “So far from up here I've sold between 40 and 50 tickets, so we're getting a good crowd coming down. It's a huge hall down there, so I would imagine there will be 400 or 500 people.
"If anybody wants tickets they can get in touch with me on 07706 753954. I've still got some tickets left."
Caithness Boxing Club is based at the former Wick South Primary School and has about 60 members from across the county in different age categories. They meet on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.
Mackenzie points out that his pro boxing career is separate from his role with the club, which is amateur.
“We've got a lot of members and we've got about 16 competitive boxers," he said. "Some of them are doing really well. We're building their experience up and getting them as many fights as we can.
“Traditionally, boxing attracts people that are maybe from troubled or disadvantaged backgrounds. It's a really good way of giving them a channel and giving them something to focus on.
“We literally see a change in people over the course of however many years. Obviously we get people from all backgrounds, and it's fantastic for young ones coming up.”
Anyone wishing to get in touch with Caithness Boxing Club can do so on Facebook and Instagram.