Commonwealth Games: Fife boxing stalwart Mike Kean ringside with Team Scotland

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One of the stalwarts of Fife’s boxing scene is ringside for his fourth Commonwealth Games.

Mike Keane, Boxing Scotland’s longest serving and most successful ever national coach, is in Birmingham for the 2022 competition which has just got underway.

Mike is head coach at Kingdom Boxing Club which he founded in 1988 and which has nurtured and supported many local boxers.

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He has been part of the national set up since the 1990s before becoming more heavily involved under national coach Dr John McKay, who was also based in Kirkcaldy, with Keane helping to organise his first house after he moved over from New Zealand.

Mike KeanMike Kean
Mike Kean
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Since then, Mike has been part of Scotland’s Commonwealth Games teams at Delhi, India in 2010; Glasgow 2014; and Gold Coast, Australia 2018.

He has also been ringside at four Youth Commonwealth Games - Pune, lndia 2008; Isle of Man 2011; Samoa 2015 and Nassau, Bahamas in 2017.

But despite that vast experience, he admitted the event still sparked butterflies.

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Mike Kean ringside with Team ScotlandMike Kean ringside with Team Scotland
Mike Kean ringside with Team Scotland

“It is still the same. You pull the kit on and you feel great, you stand in the tunnel with the boxer and the other coaches and you get counted down.

“You come out to a wall of noise and you feel the hairs on the back of your neck stand up.

“It is absolutely fantastic.I love it.”

Mike became Boxing Scotland performance co-ordinator in 2009,but paid tribute to Dr McKay who became national coach in 2003 after coaching New Zealand boxers to Commonwealth Games’ gold and bronze as well as Olympics and World Championships.

Mike Kean (left) with Team ScotlandMike Kean (left) with Team Scotland
Mike Kean (left) with Team Scotland

“He was just about our first ever paid full-time national coach in Scotland. He was a very intelligent guy and was a bit ahead of our time.

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“Because we didn’t have full-time coaches, we couldn’t be expected to run a full-time programme. John knew that, and converted it to have boxers in on weekends and nights and turned the programme into a full-time programme as best as he could, considering that it wasn’t funded.”

A lot has changed in the years since, with Boxing Scotland now having a High Performance Centre in Glasgow and the introduction of the Performance Pathway programme.

Mike feels the sport is on a great path and he hopes for more success in Birmingham.

“We now basically have a full-time team, which is a big change,” Mike added.

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“If we had more funding we could obviously do more and make it even better for the boxers and improve the sport in this country.

“But hopefully everything goes well at the Commonwealth Games and we pull in a few medals again.

“I believe we have a team that can do it.”