After four demanding years competing on small hall shows, notching up an impressive 19-1 record, headlining sold-out events, performing in front of the Box Nation cameras, and surviving the slumps that come with a first career loss, ‘Lightning Bolt’ Lloyd Ellett claims to have completed his apprenticeship and finally feels ready to move on to major title fights in 2016.
The 28-year-old Brighton-born boxer most recently won his 20th professional contest on February 12th in his coastal hometown with a comfortable shut-out points win over travelling opponent, Andrej Moravek (2-5-1), scoring a knockdown in the process.
“I’m adapting more to the professional game now and I would say that my apprenticeship is pretty much done. The learning stage is complete and I’m ready to test myself. I’ve been through it all now; I’ve done the small hall circuit, signed with a top promoter, fought on TV, and suffered my first loss, which is a feeling I never want to go through again.”
Managed by former World title challenger Scott Welch, known as ‘The Brighton Rock’ and also as Horace ‘Nights Out’ Anderson (the bare-knuckle boxer who punches Brad Pitt skyward in the Guy Ritchie film – Snatch), Ellett conceded his perfect record on October 2nd when headlining a sold-out Crusader Events show at the Metropole Hotel in his seaside hometown for the fourth time in his four-year long professional career.
His one and only victor was former two-time Southern Area champion and English title challenger, Ryan Toms (14-11-2).
Although roared on by the home crowd, the 5ft 10” super-welterweight experienced difficulties adapting to the southpaw stance in front of him and took a left hook flush to the head in the sixth round of the eight three-minute rounds contest that he couldn’t recover from despite valiant efforts to endure.
Determined to learn from the solitary defeat, he promised:
“Now that I’ve experienced that losing feeling and being under that pressure in a fight, I definitely feel that I’m back stronger for it. I was winning but not boxing well.”
Rewinding the clocks back some four years, the 154-pounder joined the pro ranks in November 2011 and enjoyed a busy campaign, competing 16 times in three years when signed to Mickey Helliet’s London-based promotional outfit – Hellraiser Promotions.
“Mickey was brilliant, he was really good for me. He kept me very active and he was always straight down the line with me, so what you see is what you get. He’s very experienced, very professional, and good at what he does. We spent a lot of time in Las Vegas together to get some sparring experience that he arranged which was great for me.”
During that trip to Nevada’s Mojave Desert, Ellett spent his days in Floyd Mayweather’s Gym sparring with the likes of former British title-holder Ashley Theophane, who next challenges Adrien Broner for his WBA Super World title on April 1st; as well as ex-world champion, DeMarcus Corley.
Tracking even further back in time, Ellett’s ambition as an amateur, after winning the Haringey Box Cup in 2010, was always to become a professional boxer, especially after spending his youth watching his idol Prince Naseem on national TV with his theatrical ring entrances and gangs of celebrities sitting at ringside.
However, the reality of a professional boxer’s life, starting from the bottom of the pile was somewhat different to what he had envisioned. He laughed:
“I’ve boxed in some dodgy places, I can tell you! The Coronet in South London; boxed there four or five times and to get from the changing rooms, which was just like a freezing cold garage, you had to basically walk outside the building and past the smoking area to get to the ring.”
“There’s obviously a bigger demand to sell tickets for the small hall shows, that’s a big part of it so that could be difficult at times and was a little bit stressful if you didn’t have it under control. Fighting itself doesn’t make a difference to me, whether it’s a big or small venue, it’s just going from ring to ring for me but there is a bit more pressure with selling tickets that you have to handle.”
On the small hall circuit, the home fighter has to cover the house (the promoter) and the away fighter’s purse before being paid their self. Lloyd said:
“I tried not to, but I have carried that stress into the ring with me before. If you haven’t sold much of your allocation then your purse will be smaller or not even get a purse at all which happened to me a few times. That’s in no way a reflection on who’s running the show, it’s the deal you have agreed and you know the consequences going in.”
“I was actually prepared for the ticket sales and the lower echelons of the sport because I sat down with my manager Scott Welch and Mickey Helliet right at the start of my journey and they outlined how it would be.”
Scott Welch is a former British and Commonwealth heavyweight champion who now heads up his own promotions company called BHB Promotions and is the head coach at Brighton and Hove ABC.
Touching on Scott, Lloyd mentioned:
“Scott had been helping me out for years and is now my manager, he warned me of all the pitfalls so I was quite prepared for it.”
Ellett did what was asked of him on 11 occasions starting with his pro bow on November 25th 2011, completing his inauguration with a shut-out points victory over four rounds against the reliable South African, Bheki Moyo at the aforementioned Coronet venue in Elephant and Castle.
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With his record unblemished two years on, he was rewarded with a maiden title shot in his 12th fight, and stopped Faheem Khan in the fourth round to claim the vacant International Masters Bronze light-middleweight title in front of a raucous home crowd at The Metropole Hotel in Brighton.
It was his first taste of topping a bill with a title on the line and proved to be the turning point in his fledgling career.
He said of it:
“Yeah that was an amazing feeling and for ages everyone around Brighton was saying to me they want to come to watch me fight after that. It was probably the busiest it’s been in any of my fights and the atmosphere was amazing. For me, that was my most memorable fight so far.”
From there, the iBox Gym student, trained by Eddie Lamm and Alan Smith, grabbed another two Masters titles, each time topping the bill at the favoured seaside setting.
An avid Brighton and Hove Albion FC fan, who features regularly in the match day programmes at The Amex, Lloyd makes the 120-mile round trip from Brighton to Bromley every weekday to be a part of the successful iBox Gym which is also home to the new British and Commonwealth welterweight champion – Bradley Skeete.
When his contract came up for renewal, news spread and Frank Warren quickly signed papers with the 154lbs prospect late last year. The Seagulls fan enthused:
“It was amazing news for me, really. Growing up, that’s the goal – to get attention from a big promoter and fight on TV. But you don’t see that side of things that I’ve been through. You watch Naz on TV with Frank Warren sitting ringside and the glitz and glamour but not what you have to go through in order to get there. But I was over the moon to have signed with such a big promoter and it made it all worthwhile.”
On March 27th last year, the Brighton-born boxer made his first appearance in front of the Box Nation cameras, which remarkably doubled up as his York Hall debut at the same time having never fought there either as amateur or pro:
“My Box Nation debut was amazing. I don’t think that I felt the cameras’ presence too much but the atmosphere was different to the other shows I’d been on, and it was my first one at York Hall as well. Being able to watch it back later with the commentary was a whole new experience!”
The relationship with Queensberry Promotions failed to live long. Manager Scott Welch arranged for Ellett and another from his stable of fighters – unbeaten heavyweight Nick Webb – to have their contracts returned on mutual consent.
Since the separation, Ellett has fought a further three times; agonising over his previously mentioned maiden career loss but bravely bouncing back with two wins on the spin.
The former captain of the Sussex and Southern Counties Boxing Team England International representative, Ellett is now focused on major title tilts during 2016. Ellett beamed:
“It all depends on well I perform but my ultimate goal would be to get a major title around my waist and defend it here in Brighton in front of all my fans. That’s what I want to work my way towards now – the British title. I’ve paid my dues and whatever fights I have now, that’s the direction in which I want to be heading, and hopefully I’ll be knocking on the door soon.”
Ellett is never short of sound advice with an experienced mentor like Scott Welch in his corner who has unarguably seen it all, once appearing on the undercard of the Mike Tyson v Evander Holyfield I fight at the MGM Grand, Las Vegas, when ‘The Real Deal’ memorably shocked the world in an 11th round TKO of the formidable ‘Iron Mike’ back in November 1996.
The pair that share a relationship extending back to the amateurs have now linked up again in the gym as Ellett boldly made the decision to leave the iBox Gym behind after his previous bout in February to go back to his roots at Welch’s Brighton-based gym, which also boasts the new Southern Area middleweight champion – Nicky Jenman.
“I had decided after the last fight in mid-February that it was time for me to move on, I had begun to go a bit stale there and we parted on the best of terms. I got myself straight down to Scott’s gym and I can train three times a day now. I feel rejuvenated since the move, I’m like a different fighter already!”
Following four plus years in the paid game, amassing vital knowledge and invaluable experience in bundles, the Lightning Bolt proffered his own piece of advice to young professionals turning over to the pro ranks:
“If I could give any advice to youngsters just starting out, then I would say that if you’re getting into boxing for the money only, then think again! That’s just not the best reason. Don’t get me wrong because the money is there to be made, but starting off on those small hall shows, you will have to come through a few sticky patches first, boxing regularly but not always earning a purse every time that you fight.”
He concluded sensibly:
“During that first couple of years you need to always be ready, be in the gym the whole time and place training as your number one priority, and you will get there in the end.”
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