Haringey striker is thinking outside the box as he steps into the ring
Haringey Borough forward Richard Worrell is pursuing a sporting career on two fronts after joining Islington Boxing Club.
Standing six foot tall and weighing in at 13 stone, Haringey Borough striker Richard Worrell is the perfect man to lead the line at Coles Park.
His goal record backs that up – he scored 29 times before Christmas last season before leaving for Potters Bar.
Worrell, who has previously played for Dagenham & Redbridge and AFC Wimbledon, returned to Haringey during the summer – and he has picked up where he left off with 12 goals so far this campaign.
However, the 26-year-old’s physical attributes also make him a formidable opponent in the boxing ring, as he has discovered this year after joining Islington Boxing Club.
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“I started boxing in March,” said Worrell, who lives in Tottenham. “My cousin had a fight so I went down to the gym to do a bit of sparring with him, and the coach spotted me and said I’ve got the ability to go far. I was just going down there to keep fit really, to help with my football.
“They do academy boxing, and it usually takes six to nine months to get up into doing amateur boxing bouts, but I got there in a month and a half. Since then I’ve been with the amateurs.
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“My dad [Winston] is a coach there now as well. He started coaching when I started going. He used to fight [at Islington] when he was younger as well.”
Worrell had his first fight two weeks ago, representing the North-West London ABA division against Sussex at the Holiday Inn in Brighton.
“I lost it but it went really well – especially since the guy was twice the size of me!” said Worrell. “He was 6ft 6ins but it was a good fight, a good battle.”
The following day he was in the Haringey squad – as an unused substitute – as Borough earned a 3-1 home win over Hertford Town.
Most people would find it difficult to commit completely to two sports at once.
But Worrell, who is a personal trainer by profession, is relishing his gruelling schedule with Haringey Borough FC and Islington BC – and he remains intent on pursuing a career on both fronts.
Indeed, he believes that his football skills and his boxing talents complement each other nicely and will help him to achieve his ambitions.
“They definitely help with each other,” he said. “Boxing gives you the strength for football, and the football helps with the footwork for boxing. Of course the fitness is good for both of them.
“With Haringey we play on Tuesday nights, we train on Thursday and play again on the Saturday.
“With the boxing it’s Monday, Wednesday and Friday – so I spend every day training. I train for work as well.
“It doesn’t leave a lot of time for anything else, but if you want to be successful you’ve got to work hard for it.
“I’m going to try to do both sports and see where it takes me. I’d still like to get back into the professional game of football, and if that doesn’t work out I can try the professional side of boxing.
“If I could get into the Great Britain [boxing] squad for the Olympics in the next four years I’d take that. There’s always a chance –you’ve just got to keep working hard.”
Haringey Borough manager Tom Loizou believes Worrell has the drive to succeed at whatever he chooses to do – but he feels that his prolific forward may have to make a decision at some point.
“I don’t think he can do both, but you’ve got to leave the decision to him,” he said. “All I know is he’s a dedicated lad, whatever he does.
“He’s been quite successful as a centre-forward at our level. Last season, when it was just football and his mind was on it, he was very good for us.
“He needs to make his mind up. Boxing’s an individual sport where he only has to worry about himself, but football’s a team sport and there are 10 other people that he’s got to think about.
“I like both sports. I’d always tell people to get involved in sport, and football and boxing are probably my two favourites.
“They’ve both got short life-spans so he’s got to decide which he wants to do.”
Worrell came off the bench on Saturday but was unable to salvage a result as Borough lost 1-0 away against 10-man AFC Dunstable.
The hosts saw striker Ben Christie sent off in the seventh minute but defied their numerical disadvantage to grab a 70th-minute winner.