Rendall Munroe says he will end the hype surrounding Lee Selby
by @jamacd2011 (John MacDonald)
In boxing, nothing is permanent. The success, the adulation, it is fleeting. Perhaps, briefest of all is retirement. A fighter walks away having lost that hunger, their body crumbling under the stress or simply unable to register a win anymore.
The lure of the ring is hard to walk away from; whether it’s the bright lights, the rapturous crowd, another crack at success or simply one last payday, many a fighter is tempted in to lacing the gloves once again for at least one of these reasons.
History shows that for the most part, comebacks end in disaster; Ricky Hatton being the latest to fail to recapture the glory of days gone by. One man hoping to buck the trend is Rendall Munroe (27-3-1, 11 KOs), when he faces Lee Selby for the vacant European title on February 1st at the Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff.
Munroe had called time on his career after suffering a sixth round stoppage defeat to current WBA ‘Regular’ super-bantamweight champion Scott Quigg last November on the undercard of Hatton’s ill-fated return. His retirement was brief, as six months later he was back fighting at a new weight and his passion for the sport restored.
“I’m still seeing the lights; I want the lights and I want the belts.” Munroe told LiveFight, the enthusiasm clear in his voice as he discussed his motivation for returning to the ring.
“Even in retirement I kept on training, I kept going to the gym, I kept sparring,” he continued.
“A lot of people were saying to me ‘What are you doing? You’ve not had enough?’ Obviously there were a few things in my mind that I wanted to get sorted myself. I spoke to my manager and trainer [Mike and Jason Shinfield] and they were like ‘Rendall, if you want to come back, come back at a higher weight. It might suit you better.’ I was boxing at 8st 10lbs as a 14-year-old, I’m 33 now. I was doing the weight but there comes a time when your body says that it’s taking its toll.”
The nadir of making the weight came while preparing for the second clash with Quigg. Munroe was always big for a super bantam, relatively tight, but he always made it without too much duress. But this time the final bell tolled for Munroe, then 32, in a division that brought him four titles and one valiant world title defeat (to Toshiaki Nishioka) over a three year period.
“It was the most difficult of all the times I did it," said Munroe when discussing the Quigg fight.
"I had to take off my boxer shorts and everything on the scales, even then I was just on the limit.
“No disrespect to Scott Quigg, because he’s a brilliant fighter but I felt like I was training to make weight, rather than training to fight him. I felt like I put that much effort in to making the weight that I wasn’t thinking about the fight. All I kept thinking was ‘I have to make 8st 10lbs, I have to make 8st 10lbs!’
After mixing it with the likes of Kiko Martinez, Victor Terrazas (who both went on to become world champions) as well as Nishioka, the once affectionately known ‘Boxing Binman’ felt he had paid his dues, that he had earned another crack at the elite of the division. Instead of the world title shot he craved, he was handed the talented but untested Quigg.
“I felt that I’d built up enough of a reputation to be fighting for world titles. No disrespect to Scott Quigg at all but I proved myself!
“I’d just come back from Japan where I boxed one of the best in the world, pound-for-pound, at super bantamweight [Nishioka] and now I’m back boxing at domestic level! Why?? I don’t know because I hadn’t lost since!
“Truthfully and honestly, you can be the fittest man in the world, the strongest man in the world but if your head ain’t in the right place, it don’t make a difference and that was the situation for me.” said a disgruntled Munroe.
While he may have struggled to motivate himself for that fight, there will be no such issues when it comes to facing Selby (17-1, 6 KOs). The Welshman is highly touted as one of Britain’s best hopes to claim a world title. With the backing of Matchroom, his stock has risen in the past year as he fought regularly on big cards live on Sky Sports.
Munroe intends to end the hype.
“My dream is to become a world champion. Right about now Matchroom is doing the business for everyone, Matchroom think Lee Selby is the business. When I get Selby dealt with they can get me the world title shot they keep promising him!”
Selby holds wins over fellow Brits; Stephen Smith, John Simpson and Martin Lindsay as well as a win over the highly ranked Romanian, Viorel Simion. It's a resume that doesn’t impress Munroe.
“When you look at it I beat Terrazas, I beat Martinez and they both won world titles. I sparred Jamie McDonnell for his world title fight that he won, I was sparring with Stuey Hall for his world title fight that he won. What does that say about me? I’m world class.
“How can you say he’s world class? Which world class fighter has he boxed up to now? Without trying to be disrespectful, which world class fighter has he boxed?”
The experience the 33-year-old has gained during his career means that he is supremely confident of his chances regardless of Selby’s height, weight and home-field advantages.
“He’s got nothing that worries me. Nothing! I’m world class, I think I’ve proved that. As for him being bigger, I’ve been sparring bigger lads since day one. I always have to get sparring partners who are bigger than me anyway because I’m a strong lad at the weight myself. When we are in the ring it’s about me and him, nobody else. I’m going out there to do what I’ve got to do and that’s it. Jeers don’t bother me, the crowd can’t fight for him
“I ain’t getting no younger but I’m good enough, strong enough and I’ve proved I belong at that elite level. This is my chance to show Rendall Munroe has gone up a weight and to still show I’m world class. By beating Lee Selby I’ll be European champion which will get me fights and put me back in the frame to fulfil my dream of becoming world champion.”
Tickets for 'Reloaded' Selby v Munroe are on sale now priced at £30, £40, £60 ringside and £120 VIP are available from livenation.co.uk or by calling 02920 22 44 88
VIP Packages priced £120 are available from matchroomboxing.com or by calling 01277 359900
The show will be broadcast live on Sky Sports