It’s only his fifth professional fight, but Bobby George, who is headlining next Saturday’s boxing at the Don Valley Stadium, is just grateful to have a roof over his head.
Despite having an illustrious amateur career, Bulgarian light welterweight George, real name Boris Georgiev, spent four weeks homeless when he first came to England in search of a professional career.
Trainer Mervyn Turner says he found the 29-year-old, originally from Sofia, on a park bench in London after he had hit hard times.
“A kid of that talent sleeping rough was unacceptable. He’s excellent, I couldn’t believe it,” said Turner.
“There’s no professional boxing in Bulgaria. He came over to England but he didn’t really get on very well.”
Turner took him to Luton, where he has been based as a promoter for 30 years, and signed him on a professional contract.
George has now settled in Luton with his wife and daughter, and they are expecting another baby girl in June.
He knocked out Ghanaian Languaye Wilson in his first professional fight, and since then he has remained undefeated, knocking out Tamao Dwyer and winning two bouts on points.
“He won everything in his amateur career and played to the very best level,” said Turner. When amateurs turn professional, you have to train them so much but he’s a delight to train.”
George won silver at the World Junior Championships in 2000, silver at the European Championships in 2002 and Olympic bronze in Athens in 2004. At the World Championships in 2003 he was knocked out by Mario Kindelan, regarded as one of the greatest Cuban boxers of all time.
In 2006, he won the European title at junior welterweight, beating Russian Oleg Komisarov 25-17.
George will appear alongside established Sheffield boxers Reagan Denton and Liam Cameron, as well as Jamie Sampson, Sam Matkin, Lewis Taylor, Jamie Ward and Hassan Ahmed.