Shakiel Thompson: Sheffield boxer gets in freakish shape ahead of big break on Sky Sports

A Sheffield boxer is one step closer to the big time after signing a promotional deal with Sky Sports – but he hasn't given up the day job just yet.

Thursday, 23rd June 2022, 6:00 am

Dad-of-one Shakiel Thompson from Handsworth may be dreaming of sold-out arena shows and world titles, but the business administration at manufacturing company Gripple Ltd won’t take care of itself, even during fight week.

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Nor can he indulge in any treats lying around the office to help him through the day when he has to make the 11 stone 4 middleweight limit before his next fight on Saturday.

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Shakiel, otherwise known as 'Dr Steel', Thompson.

And any hope of snoozing his alarm each morning is cut short by sprint training in Norfolk Park before work, plus there’s another session to complete after his shift.

"It’s easy when you put your mind to things,” insists the 25-year-old.

But there was a time where it wasn’t easy.

Shakiel previously fought under Frank Warren’s Queensberry Promotions banner before that deal was cut short. Then the coronavirus pandemic hit, forcing him to find regular work.

Shakiel celebrates his 2019 win over Alistair Warren at the First Direct Arena in Leeds. Photo: Dave Thompson/PA Wire.

He didn’t fight for another two years.

"Quitting did go through my head, but I stuck at it,” he says.

"Boxing means so much to me and I know where I want to go, where I want to be. I kept going and look what’s happened now.”

Shakiel was spotted by Sky Sports' boxing promoter Ben Shalom when he earned the seventh victory of his fledgling career – and fifth via stoppage – in March on a small hall show in Oldham.

"I feel like I am under the radar,” he adds.

"Everyone thought I quit, that wasn’t the case. I stuck in the gym every single day, non-stop working, that’s why when I did come back I was still blowing people away.”

The ambition, like most prospects, is to win a world title.

But, for now, those ambitions must be balanced with his work schedule, not that Shakiel is complaining.

"Right now I’m doing everything right,” he says, “I’m fit, I’m ready to fight, so there’s no difference.”

In the meantime, there’s lost time to make up for.

"Now everything is picking up I’m really happy to have this platform behind me. Hopefully my name gets out there.”