“I’d seen it with my dad and my brother Dennis who ran a club for decades and was an Olympic referee in 1972 at Munich and was in demand for refereeing international shows all over the world. But he was never at home, which was a hard one for his wife and family to take. I couldn’t subject my family to that and drifted away from boxing for many years, until about the turn of the millennium, when my kids had grown up and I decided to reconnect with boxing. I started to go regularly and train hard three times a week and then, that particular club asked, ‘Why don’t you help out with the coaching?’ I said, ‘Okay.’ I did it, not so much because they asked, but because I’d spotted faults in what some of the coaches were doing. They were teaching, in my view, the wrong things. I didn’t impose myself, but I started to have an input to what these kids were being taught.
Then about 18 months ago (summer of 2022), I was training in a gym in Aberdeen called Bodbox and the son of the guy who runs the gym is called Gregor McPherson. I went there just to do some training and my son Paul, who is an ex-journalist, was filming me in the ring talking to Gregor and showing him how to parry and block. He was a good youth boxer, but my concern was, without a good defence, he was going to get hurt. I wanted him to be able to look after himself.
“I was unaware that Paul was filming on his phone and he said after, ‘I’m going to put this on TikTok. I’d never seen TikTok, although I’d heard of it and within a matter of days, the following became huge. Paul said, ‘We should do more of those coaching videos of you down at the gym. Showing you on the punch bag, going through drills, that sort of thing.’ It went from 25,000 followers, to 50,000, then a quarter of a million. Then he started to post stuff on Instagram and up to a few weeks before, I had a little over 100 followers and now it’s knocking on to 300,000 and includes followers from the likes of journalist Tony Parsons and Anderson Silva, who I’d never heard of, to the disgust of my younger friends, not to mention a number of well known pop musicians and actors. I was astounded. I’ve had a few people being negative saying things like, ‘You’ve speeded that video up. How can you be so quick and powerful at your age?’ My reply is, ‘I wish I knew.’