CRAIG MacINTYRE is a man eager to make up for lost time. Four-and-a-half years since making his professional debut, the Glasgow boxer has fought just a dozen times. In the past 20 months he has been in the ring for a total of three rounds.

The MTK super-lightweight will look to extend his unbeaten record against Darren Surtees next Wednesday (August 12), a bout that will be broadcast live on ESPN+ and IFL TV from an empty television studio in Yorkshire, another sign of these peculiar times.

MacIntyre last fought in June 2019 but, given he only trained for three weeks for a contest that didn’t get into the fourth round, there is a feeling that he has been in cold storage for much longer.

There are valid reasons for what he describes as a “stagnant” period in his promising career. There was an ongoing contractual wrangle with a former manager, while his planned return to action on the undercard of Josh Taylor’s world title fight in the Hydro in May fell the way of Covid-19.

Most significantly, however, there have been family matters to attend to. When his father Neil, a prominent figure in amateur boxing in Scotland, became terminally ill with cancer it fell to MacIntyre and his mum, Elaine, to provide around-the-clock health care.

His dad sadly passed away in September 2019 and MacIntyre is determined to keep pushing for the top in his memory.

“I’ve barely fought in the last few years but I’ve had a lot going on, he said. “My dad passed away from cancer towards the end of last year so I’ve been in the house looking after my mum. Before that we were both caring for my dad 24/7 in the last few months before he passed. I couldn’t really leave the house to go training or think about any of these things.

“That spell put a lot of things into perspective. I had to put boxing on to the back burner for a while. My old man had looked after me my whole life – I had to do the same for him when he needed me.

“He had the cancer for 15 months and, when he was diagnosed, he was told it was terminal. My mum was brilliant with him. She did most of the heavy lifting but I was there to help her the whole time.

“My dad always supported me throughout my career. He loved the fact that I was a boxer. I actually got him into the sport. When I started out he began taking a bigger interest in it. He ended up becoming a delegate for the amateur boxing club and a judge.

“When I turned pro he was at every fight and backed me all the way. I want to keep boxing in his memory and to do him proud. It’s just a shame he never got to see me win a big title but I’d like to do that for him one day.”

At 25 years old, MacIntyre (11-0-1) is still young enough to achieve that. He looks at the achievements of Ricky Burns and believes the three-weight world champion has left a legacy that every Scottish boxer can try to emulate.

“I feel like I’m on the right track with my career but it can be a hard slog at times,” he admitted. “But you just need to keep grinding. I’d like to be further ahead at this point but it’s been stagnant in the last couple of years because of a few things including contract issues with my last manager and then all the stuff with my dad. So it’s been a tough few years.

“I’m still young enough that it’s not going to affect my future plans that much. I’m in the game to win some belts, get some money and get back out with my senses intact.

“You look at someone like Ricky Burns. I was at his fight when he became world champion and it was incredible. No disrespect but he’d probably say himself he’s not the most talented boxer in the world but he grafts really hard and knows the game inside out.

“To be honest Ricky doesn’t really get the credit he deserves. But he’s someone who gives hope to every Scottish fighter that it’s possible to get to the top.”

- Craig would like to thank sponsors JNG Ltd, KK Plumbing & Heating, Puresport CBD, Improve Glasgow and Lifting Services 24/7 for their support