Fight Club N.I, which is base in Lurgan’s High Street, will present it’s first professional boxer in Marty Follis who will step into the ring against another Northern Ireland man Ryan Kilpatrick in Liverpool next month.
The contest ironically will take place one year to the day since Marty lost his father Gerry Follis, who he has described as “my best friend”.
Growing up with boxing in his blood, and having sampled a time with youth sides at Ulster Rugby, Marty Follis retreated into a downward spiral after losing his dad.
This resulted in him going through a bad time, but with sustained professional support and the help of his family and friends, he has turned the corner.
The Mournview man explained: “I went through a very dark time following my dad’s death, I immediately threw myself into drugs which resulted in an attempt at taking my own life. To be honest it was really hard losing a person who could be described not just as a father but as a real friend.
“The fight in Liverpool takes places exactly a year after his death, is that fate? I don’t know, but I will be there to do a job, to represent the club, all the fans who are making the trip and most importantly my wife Clare and daughter, Alysha.”
Looking back on his own ‘dark day’s’ the Lurgan boxer continued: “I wasn’t sure which way to turn, but Davy Boyd at Fight Club told me to get back into training as soon as possible after I recovered so the focus of training with the people in the gym has been superb and I also have a big event to look forward to.
“There are so many people out there with mental health issues, but there is always a way out, there is help out there, if you let someone know how you feel.”
With a cruiser weight division the ultimate goal, Marty added: “The next few weeks are going to be tough.”
However the current Northern Ireland and European Semi Pro champion also stressed: “I have had great support also from local sponsors, who have been fantastic, it has been a tough 12 months, but things are looking up.”