ANY lingering frustration at seeing his last three fights postponed has now mostly dissipated for Andy Tham. The promising Cumbernauld super-featherweight has reconciled himself with the fact that his boxing career will need to remain on hold for the next few months at least.  

Instead, the 24 year-old will be kept busy with a day job on the frontline as one of the nation’s key workers as the coronavirus pandemic spreads.

Tham is an electronic, fire and security engineer which makes him responsible for maintaining automatic doors, fire alarms, CCTV feeds and other security systems.

Of late that has taken him into buildings that need to be kept fully operational while the rest of the world stays in lockdown; government buildings, distilleries producing hand sanitiser and hospitals.

The St Andrews Sporting Club fighter has been a regular visitor to Edinburgh’s Royal Infirmary in recent weeks where he is often required to carry out vital work in close proximity to those medical staff performing heroically to deal with the growing crisis. 

But it is the quiet – rather than the expected hustle and bustle – that he admits has felt most alien as hospitals adapt to cope with the demand. 

“The strange thing when you go into the hospital now is that it’s like a ghost town,” he admits. “We’ve got the contracts for access control and CCTV at the Edinburgh Royal so we’re there a lot to make sure the doors are secure and to handle any emergency call-outs.

“Normally no matter what time you go there it’s always really busy, especially the car parks. But it was really quiet. It was really surreal seeing it like that.

“There are obviously a lot more precautions now. Every time you go into a different ward you have to wash your hands as it’s a high-risk area.

“My company are looking to get us facemasks and gloves as a precaution to give us a bit more protection too. It’s quite scary what’s happening and when you’re working in the wards it would be good to have that extra piece of mind. 

“A few of the wards got infected so you have to go through quite a strict signing-in process to say you’ve not got anything. Another place I was working at took our temperature before we started the job.

“You’re trying to adhere to all the guidelines but if you’re running cables through a ward it’s not practical to always stay six feet apart! 

“Even driving there has been totally different. The roads are dead. Normally in rush hour it can take the best part of two hours and I’m finding I’m getting through in an hour. We’ve got a job coming up in Glasgow city centre and it will be interesting to see what it’s like there with nobody around. It must be weird.”

Tham lives at home with his brother Reece and his mum and has to take his family’s health into consideration too when it comes to the situations his work places him in.

“I’m living with people who are classed as vulnerable as they’re asthmatic and have had pleurisy and pneumonia in the past so I need to think of their well-being as well,” he adds.

“I’m looking to get taken off the hospital work if possible for the time being as it’s obviously a high-risk area.”

Tham has tried his best to maintain his fitness levels the best he can in the circumstances with a view to hopefully returning to the ring later this year.

After impressing in his first two professional bouts, the wait for a third fight has gone on a lot longer than he would have liked. But the Kilsyth Golden Gloves boxer knows he still has time on his side. 

“I’ve been keeping up my running, doing some shadow boxing and persuading my brother to help me with the pads from time to time,” he adds.

“Hopefully when this all settles down I can get back in the ring. I’ve not fought for almost a year now as the last three got called off.

“In the first one I got weighed in and then the boy never turned up. So I had an exhibition fight instead. In January I ended up getting the mumps so I had to pull out of that one. My face was all swollen up, it wasn’t a good look. And then the last one in March obviously got cancelled because of the coronavirus.

“St Andrews have told me that they’ll try get me on the next show once everything calms down again. I’m still relatively fit so I’ll just need a few sparring sessions to get me up to speed and then I’ll be good to go again. I’m only 24 so there’s loads of time to reach my goals.”