Mark Jeffers – Life away from the ring

For local boxer Mark Jeffers, lockdown has forced the youngster to take a step back from the ring and like many, has had to find a way to make ends meet.

The lockdown restrictions have forced boxing in the UK into a dark place, along with the rest of the sporting world.

Jeffers gave an insight into the measures he’s had to make following this year’s lockdown chaos.

“Obviously, I’ve had to start working because there’s probably going be no fights coming out this year”, Mark admitted.

“So, I’ve had to get a full-time job, and then just doing my own stuff at home. The gym’s back open now so I’m back in there doing three nights a week.

“As far as full-time boxing is concerned, I’ve had to go back to part time for two or three more months”, Mark said.

Mark now helps out in his family business, Nitecrest. The card manufacturer has become Jeffers’ main source of income, with no fights set to take place for the rest of the year.

Mark touched on his time in the business so far.

“It’s a family business. They make gift cards and stuff like that with printing season tickets for Everton”, Mark said.

“I’ve always done it during school holidays, so I’ve always been in the factory work in that kind of way anyway.

“If you don’t fight you don’t get paid, so I’m just making some money at the minute”, Mark said.

The last time the 22-year-old set foot in the ring was all the way back in late January, when his victory at the time led to him being crowned as the area champion.

Mark Jeffers after winning his last fight against Ben Thomas

Since then, the Covid-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on the country and led to boxing and numerous other sports to be put on hold.

Jeffers spoke of his time away from the ring and how he felt knowing he faced a lengthy spell out of action.

“It was frustrating more than anything”, Mark said.

“I wouldn’t say it was difficult to accept because that’s just life sometimes and some things you can’t control.

“I’ve just got to get on with it, get some money made and hopefully next year we can get back to normal again”, Mark said.

For the nation, it has been a challenging year mentally, with lockdown initially forcing people to stay in their homes for numerous months.

The Northern Ireland born boxer has also spoke of the mental challenge he has had to face whilst being away from the ring.

“It’s probably been the most challenging time, definitely”, Mark said.

“Just having to train knowing that I’m not going to have anything coming up this year.

“So, you feel like you’re going through the motions every day for the sake of nothing”, Mark said.

The local boxer has had an immense start to his boxing career, currently boasting an unbeaten record with 11 wins from 11 fights.

Jeffers has been using his strong start along with his future prospects for his career to give him a boost.

“It’s grinding it out more than anything”, Mark said.

“I know a year’s a long time, but it’s a short period in comparison to what my boxing career is going to last.

“So, it’s down to remembering what I’ve done in the past years and the future I can have”, Mark said.

When the initial lockdown back in March was announced by the government, no one would have predicted that it would last as long as it has.

Mark admitted himself that he did not expect the lockdown restrictions to still be having a impact on the country.

“I didn’t think it would get as bad as it did”, Mark said.

“With all the restrictions there was no one on the streets for a few weeks. But I didn’t see it getting as bad as it’s ended up being.

“Obviously, I’m not an expert, but yeah, it’s a bit of a farse at the minute”, Mark said.

Despite the obvious negative impacts that the pandemic has had on people like Mark and his career, there has been a silver lining.

Because of the lockdown restrictions in place, it has allowed Jeffers to spend more quality time with family and loved ones.

“I’d hardly ever see my brother when he was working away, so I get to see him a lot more now”, Mark said.

“That’s one of the nice things about it, as bad as it was, you get to see a lot more of your family.

“Even just round the house, being in the back garden and having a kick about, so that was one nice thing about it”, Mark said.

Over lockdown professional boxers have slowly but surely been making their way back into the frame, but Mark feels that since its return, the quality of boxing has lowered and prefers to watch the lower levels of the sport.

“I see a lot of them on TV now and the standard of it for me is terrible at the minute”, Mark said.

“You watch these small hall shows and it’s all about getting that chance and showing people what you can do”.

Mark will be hoping that he is able to get back into the ring as soon as he possibly can.

But for now, he will be focusing on helping out the family business, printing out numerous types of cards, rather than looking to score on them.