Heavyweight Josh a big hit

Josh Sandland
Josh Sandland

Halifax’s Josh Sandland is up to 14th in the British heavyweight rankings after just two fights as a professional.

The 24-year-old from Illingworth, a former Yorkshire Super Heavyweight Champion as an amateur with the Halifax Star club, has beaten two fancied opponents on their home territory so far.

He started with a four round points success against Jone Volau, a Fiji-born fighter now based in the north east, at Newcastle racecourse just before Christmas. Volau had won his previous four fights.

Sandland showed that win was no fluke when beating London area champion Dominic Akinlade at the famous York Hall, Bethnal Green last Saturday.

Akinlade, nicknamed ‘Top Gun’, was unbeaten in nine previous fights but Sandland registered a points success over six rounds.

“I’m amazed by what I have done so far,” said Sandland, who now boxes out of Chris Aston’s gym in Linthwaite, Huddersfield.

“I hope to fight again very soon. Chris is looking for another opponent and I will fight anywhere.”

Sandland, a tiler, is relatively short for a heavyweight at 5 foot 10 inches but tips the scales at seventeen and a half stones.

His father Gordon was a rugby league player with Ovenden and Josh played the 13-a-side game to a decent level, signing for Wakefield and the Huddersfield before going to Australia for a year as a 19-year-old.

Sandland won nine of his 11 fights at the now-defunct Star club.

John Cassidy trained him there and Josh is grateful to his efforts and those of trainer Michael Helliwell from Elland, who got him into the sport and has helped him with his fitness.