Boxer Ben Sheedy has become the latest to join #TeamMorson, joining our impressive roster of fighters. Training with Ensley Bingham at Moss Side Boxing, Ben wakes up at the break of dawn every day to keep fit while simultaneously working as a self-employed bricklayer. We caught up with Ben after an afternoon session at the gym to talk to him about his boxing career, working life and how doing an apprenticeship has shaped the kind of person he is.
“My Dad’s friend used to box, and took me boxing and then I just carried on from there and it snowballed. I fell in love. I wanted to compete, I didn’t just want to use it for self defence.”
Having to balance working life with his fighting career is something that sets Ben apart from boxers who are further along their paths. Ben works every day while fitting time in for training which, despite something that has proven tricky over the years.
“I boxed for a few years and then when the recession hit and work wasn’t as readily available in Manchester so I was doing a lot of travelling to get to work so I couldn’t get to the gym. I was going to the Lake District, Wales and down south, all sorts of places. I had a few years out and then the minute the work picked up and I could be back in Manchester I was straight back in the gym. It’s a juggling act at the minute between training and working to pay the mortgage. I’ve worked my way up the ladder in that sense as well. I work mainly in Manchester subcontracting on sites doing new build houses. “
Ben has built himself up from leaving school with minimum qualifications to being self-employed, and the route he took towards this was through an apprenticeship.
“I didn’t particularly like class work. I didn’t get very good GCSE’s, so I went and did aptitude tests at colleges all around Manchester. I ended up getting in at Carillion in Salford and served a two and a half year apprenticeship with them. I spent the first few months in the centre and then a few months on site. I got put with a bricklayer and had to work hard. I was 16, and learnt my trade. That lasted a few years before I went self-employed. I’m massively for apprenticeships. If you’ve got the work ethic I think it’s a great thing to do in any trade. I think it’s a very understated thing now. Not as many people are doing apprenticeships as there should be.”
The parallels between his early career as a fighter and his formative days working on site during his apprenticeship are something Ben is keen to highlight, and sees this as a great strength.
“In a sense, apprenticeships, you start, you go to college, you do work experience and that’s almost like your first ten fights as a pro. It’s your apprenticeship stage. I feel like I’m in a better place because I’ve been a bricklayer and I’ve done an apprenticeship and served my time.”
Ultimately, Ben recognises that if he is to be a success as a professional boxer, there will come a time when he has to make a very important decision.
“The sooner I can put my trowel down and not actually have to go and work the better for me. To go to training and then go to work and lay bricks it’s not the easiest thing in the world, but being part of #TeamMorson now is a massive help and a step towards it.”