‘An honour’: Manchester firefighter-turned-boxer Suz Member hopes to emulate hero Rocky at iconic York Hall

Atherton-based fire-fighter Suz Member is no stranger to danger, stepping into burning houses is part of the job.

But on Saturday night at Bethnal Green’s iconic York Hall, the 35-year-old will be taking on a whole different battle.

As well as his work for Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service, Preston-born Member has also spent the last few years carving out a career in professional boxing, becoming the first British-born Indian to do so.

On Saturday he comes face-to-face with Lithuania’s Tadas Stulginskas in what is his biggest fight yet.

The match-up comes as part of a new partnership with boxing promoters Acourtier Events and Member is aware of what is at stake.

“This fight is a massive opportunity,” said Member.

“For me it’s not about the money but having this great opportunity to fight in an iconic venue so it’s an honour and a privilege.

“The York Hall is considered to be the home of boxing, so I can’t wait.”

The welterweight fighter will be taking part in his sixth European Boxing Federation bout, having won five fights so far – all by knockout.

The boxer has come a long way from when he first started boxing in his youth, where he experienced a troubled childhood eventually leading to unlicensed boxing to pursue his dream.

 “I got into boxing when I was 10 after reading the Rocky book because I was too young to see the film, but I read the book in one night and loved it. I even still have the original book I read.

“Then a friend who went boxing asked me one day if I wanted to go with him and I jumped at the chance.

“When I was younger I used to get into trouble a fair bit but boxing helped me to get my life straightened out and I think because of that I can help young people who are also having problems.”

Through his hardship, Member has been able to pass on his experiences to young adults who are also going through problems by joining charity groups and projects.

“I became part of a group in Lancashire called North Lancs Training Group where we do talks in schools and I act as a mentor to help young kids having trouble.

“I’ve been into schools and prisons in places like Leeds, Blackburn and Burnley to try and help people.”

While his good work has been appreciated in the UK, he has also made an impact abroad after being contacted by the Zambian government to go over and help.

“After doing all this mentoring and charity work in the UK, I got an email to go over to Zambia,” he said.

“I did do some fights over there but at the same time I was helping the people out there as well.

“All the money I earned from the fights I gave to help the people, who were all very humble.

“I couldn’t leave with all that money when people were walking around with no shoes.”

His upcoming fight will be his biggest challenge yet but the 35-year-old is confident he has the potential to become world champion.

“If I’m not good enough then I’ll walk away as I don’t want to be fighting for the sake of it but I want to become world champion.

“I’m no ‘goodie-two-shoes’ and I have to battle my demons everyday, but I keep trying.”

Member is dedicating the fight to legendary footballer Sir Tom Finney, whose funeral took place yesterday.

Image courtesy of Mo Lulat via YouTube, with thanks.

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