Boxing debut for former smoker Phil

Preston boxer Paul Morris, left, training with Phil HerbertPreston boxer Paul Morris, left, training with Phil Herbert
Preston boxer Paul Morris, left, training with Phil Herbert
Fighters will be getting ready to rumble this weekend, as an action-packed night of charity boxing is set to take place at Preston Guild Hall.

And as well as hoping to raise a knock-out sum of money, the boxing journey of a lifelong smoker has caught the attention of keen onlookers.

Former Penwortham Priory High School student, Phil Herbert, had been smoking for 25 years. Now, at the age of 40, Phil took it upon himself to give up tobacco, something he managed in four weeks.

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An intense eight week training program followed for Phil at Ashton-based Larches and Savick ABC Boxing Academy ahead of the charity bout on Saturday September 9.

The 40-year-old said: “I used to smoke 20 to 25 roll-ups a day. It was when I gave up smoking weed that I felt I needed to do something useful with my time and so I started doing white-collar boxing.

“I always had this thing of giving up smoking for good and so when I started boxing I felt I needed to get fitter.”

Phil, a catering manager by trade, gave up smoking through support from the Quit Squad, a service delivered by Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust and funded by Lancashire County Council.

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He said: “Giving up smoking has been the best thing I have done. I feel miles better now that I’ve given up. I’ve also been losing weight as well.

“The first two to three weeks after smoking were hard, but the last few weeks have been great. My recovery time when I box and go sprinting is now better since I gave up.”

Phil has raised £470 for Cancer Research UK - £30 short of his £500 target - a charity he is passionate about after losing his mum to the disease last year.

Phil said: “I was very close to my mum who died of cancer last year and it is because of this that I really feel passionate about cancer.”

The bout will see Phil box three, two minute rounds in front of a 1,000-strong crowd.