Since Ted ‘Kid Lewis terrorised the World’s Welterweights almost a century ago, London’s East End has always been a fertile breeding ground for fighting men and Whitechapel-born Flyweight Harvey Horn appears to possess all the core ingredients to advance that legacy.
‘Very early on in life, I learned that you quickly gained respect around our manor if you could hold your hands up,’ says ‘Horny’ Harvey who was born in the London Hospital and raised in flat just off the Roman Road in Bethnal Green.
‘You had to be able to look after yourself to survive around there. Both my dad and my mum – who’s a proper East End bird – preached: ‘If any one lies a hand on ya, hit ‘em back twice as hard!’
Though the 22 year old Mark Tibbs coached southpaw has since alighted to the village of Abridge in Essex, his heart and roots remain firmly entrenched in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets.
‘We’ve still got loads of family there,’ disclosed the diehard West Ham United fan who earned rave reviews after brutally dicing Czech import Denis Bartos inside three rounds on his pro bow at the Copper Box Arena last December.
‘I really enjoyed going to primary school and growing up in the East End. From secondary school, I was always the smallest in my group but my pals were all massive and they really looked after me. I was never bullied. In fact I was usually the trouble maker!
‘I weren’t a bad tempered kid but I could always handle myself. When I was just seven, my mum got me into karate cos I was always rucking’.
But it was in a different form of combat that young ‘Aitch’ was to excel.
‘Dad, like many round here, was a huge boxing fan. He claims he had 15-20 amateur bouts and never lost but I’m not sure I believe him! My step granddad, Terry Insole, won several national junior titles out of the Fisher club,’ claims Horn.
‘Dad was always telling me stories about the top local fighters, your Straceys, your Kaylors. As I grew older, I started to take an interest in the champions who came from our area. I was particularly fascinated by (ex WBC champion)Charlie Magri from Stepney who, despite being a Flyweight, could knock people cold and sell a ticket, pack out any venue.
‘As a toddler, Dad first took me to the York Hall to have a swim but I later boxed there four times and, atmosphere wise, it was probably the best. They’re hardcore knowledgeable fans and once the MC announces you’re from Bethnal Green, the place just goes mental!
‘The Repton amateur boxing club was also right on my doorstep and it was a massive thing in the area. Dad first took me there when I was about seven but they rejected me, told me there were too many kids there already so I joined the Gator (ABC in Hainault) before returning to Repton, aged 15.
‘I’m the eldest of three boys who all box….and I’m easily the smallest. Finlay, who’s 18, is very stocky and unbeaten in three. Louis, who’s 16 but already six foot, won the schoolboys….ironically the only national junior title I didn’t win.’
In addition to bagging seven national titles (including the 2014 ABA Seniors), ‘Triple H’ captured a European Under 22 title, European Seniors silver medal and won three out of four starts for the GB Lionhearts in the brutal quasi-pro WSB before narrowly failing to qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympics. He believes he has the talent, confidence and personality to make a similar impact now that he punches for his lunch.
‘I’m aware the East End has a proud boxing heritage and I intend adding to it,’ concludes the man who shifted over 250 tickets for his debut.
‘On the Team GB set-up, I was brought up alongside the likes of Anthony Joshua. I want what they’ve got and intend to go out and get it.’
Horn takes on Gateshead’s Gary Reeve over four rounds at York Hall on February 24th.
An action-packed evening of boxing at the iconic fight theatre features Anthony ‘The Beast’ Yarde (14-0, 13 KO’s) defending his WBO Intercontinental and European Light-Heavyweight titles against Frenchman Tony Averlant (26-9-2, 5 KO’s);
Knockout artist Daniel ‘Dynamite’ Dubois (6-0, 6 KO’s) fights at the historical East London venue for the first time in his professional career as he defends his Southern Area Heavyweight belt against Queensborough’s DL Jones (8-0-1);
Zelfa ‘Brown Flash’ Barrett (19-0, 12 KO’s) takes on former British Super-Featherweight title challenger Ronnie Clark (20-4-2, 10 KO’s) when he fights in the capital for the first time;
Elsewhere on a stacked card hard-hitting Southampton Super-Welterweight Joe Pigford returns to the ring after a brutal KO win over Aaron Morgan in May 2017; Welling Super-Featherweight Archie Sharp aims to improve his unbeaten record to 12-0; former Southern Area Super-Featherweight Champion Boy Jones Jnr fights at Lightweight for the first time; gifted Southampton Featherweight Ryan ‘The Piranha’ Garner looks to get his career back on track when he fights over four rounds; Ilford Welterweight talent Hamzah Sheeraz fights in his second professional contest; stylish Ilford Super-Middleweight Umar Sadiq looks to go 2-0 while Beckton Lightweight and Anthony Yarde gym mate Mohammed Bilal Ali makes his professional debut.
Tickets for Saturday 24th February priced at £40, £50, £60 and £80 are available to purchase from www.ticketmaster.com and directly from fighters on the bill.
Media accreditation: Media and photographers wishing to attend the February 24 show can apply via the event page on the Frank Warren website: http://dev-frank-warren.pantheonsite.io/allevents/dubois-v-jones/Tags: Harvey Horn