A heavyweight boxing hope has thanked Aylesbury hard man Norman Buckland for rescuing him from a life of crime.
Buckland took a teenage Matt Legg under his wing when they were inmates at Woodhill Prison and taught him the boxing basics.
Legg went on to carve out a career in the professional ring and after a break of almost five years, he is back in action in Milton Keynes next month (July 21).
Buckland will be at ringside to watch at The Wonderlands Nightclub and Legg admitted: “Without Norman I probably wouldn’t be boxing now.
“He told me I should stop getting in trouble for fighting and give boxing a try.”
Buckland knows a thing or two about being tough. The Guv’nor, as he is known, is the cousin of former Aylesbury Rugby Club player-coach and Premiership rugby star James Buckland.
Speaking ahead of Legg’s fight, Norman said: “Matt has to be one of the toughest blokes I’ve ever trained.
“He learned how to fight in prison where there were no gloves, no gum shields and only a few rules.
“He picked up everything I taught him very quickly – and was so tough.
“My fists would be black and blue, but I don’t think he felt pain.
“He was only a kid and I was 30 years old, but he wanted to spar every single day.
“Matt was always a lovely, polite fella’, but when he got angry there was no stopping him.
“I knew the only way to control him was to get him into boxing.”
Following his release from prison, Legg also worked with trainer Billy Hutchison in Aylesbury before going on to be a top amateur.
He reached the ABA super-heavyweight final in 2001 and turned professional with Frank Maloney.
Legg boxed on Sky Sports before a knee injury kept him out of the ring and Buckland, who trains former professionals Michael Dick and Barry Bennett, reckons his old pal can make a big impact on his return.
He said: “All the heavyweights out there should be quaking in their boots now that Matt is back.
“He hits so hard and he’s fearless.”
Tickets for the show are available on 07527888605.