REECE BELLOTTI could swap his tool belt for the commonwealth featherweight strap on Friday night but he still won’t give up his day job.
The Watford ace is a lighting technician on Hollywood films and the bulk of his fan base comes from the fellas he works with who have watched his steady climb from late starter to title contender.
The 26-year-old challenges Jason Cunningham on Saturday night at London’s iconic York Hall with hundreds of his colleagues cheering him on.
And the new dad has no interest in jacking in his well-paid trade when he can juggle switching movie lights on and switching off the lights of his rivals in the ring.
Bellotti said: “At the minute I am enjoying it and I look forward to coming to the gym every day.
“The money when you first start boxing is not spectacular but it is slowly improving, but luckily the training cost doesn’t affect me much because I can always just go back to work.
“I am lucky enough to have the sort of job where I can dip in and out of it. If I do find myself struggling then I can always go back to work, so I am sweet.
“A lot of my pals are people that I work with, it’s a good balance and I can pick and choose when I go back.”
When Bellotti won on Anthony Joshua’s undercard at the O2 Arena in September 2015, he sold a brilliant 500 tickets for just his third pro fight.
Support from his South Oxhey home was so strong that the Oxhey Jets’ Spartan South Midlands Premier Division fixture at Hoddesdon Town was moved to a Tuesday night.
And that impressive support will follow him to Bethnal Green again this weekend where 350 fans will watch him target a title after a training camp that has kept him away from the office.
He said: “I stop working while I am training because it is just too hard to do both, you just end up too tired.
“The hours you can do on set are totally different to the ones you do on a 9-5 job and you can be sent anywhere in the country.
“But if I can squeeze in a few weekends of work around my training camps then I will.
“I can’t really do the foreign trips any more because of training but I go all over the country and I’ve been up to Scotland and they are always good trips away with the boys.
“The missus still lets me on those trips, she is still alright to be fair, she is not on my case too much yet but give it time. It’s all money coming in at the end of the day so she’s happy.”
Mrs Bellotti has plenty to be happy about with a hard-working husband and baby boy Jaxon arriving in July.
But she might not have been too pleased when the daddy-to-be took a nap in the delivery room after an exhausting week-long labour.
But he has defended his decision to take an eight count during the newest Bellotti’s lenghty first ring walk.
Bellotti said: “At the minute it is getting easier with every week that goes by – I guess that is the same for anyone – she takes up most of the slack because she knows I am in camp.
“If I wasn’t in camp I would probably be getting the raw end of the deal but at the minute she is OK.
“The labour was like seven days long, we were in the hospital for a week, it was madness, but a good experience.”
As a youngster Bellotti was a promising footballer and he remains a keen long-distance runner, much to road-loving trainer Jim McDonnell’s delight.
The young right-back remembers marking another young Watford starlet off the park but it seems a lifetime ago after a recent run-out left him fearing his sporting talent is now only with his hands.
He said: “When I was about 13 I used to play against Anthony Joshua and he was a massive tall geezer with an afro.
“I left football to go and fight in the ABAs and didn’t really see him again and then I saw him years later and thought ‘I recognise him but he is an absolute tank’. The difference in him was mad.
“When I was younger I played a year above my age group, I wasn’t bad but I am not going to say I was great.
“I played recently and I definitely didn’t remember being so bad, I was awful. I have not been consistent and – like anything – you lose your touch with it.
“I was a right-back but when I made my comeback the other day I was just running around like a lunatic, I did not know what I was up to.”
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? Anthony Joshua vs Kubrat Pulev – Betting tips ?
Anthony Joshua defends his heavyweight titles against mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev on October 28 – here’s our view on the fight…
- DIAMOND – AJ to win by KO, TKO or DQ in the First Round: “AJ is known for his devastating power and boasts an astonishing 100 per cent knockout record.” (10/1 – add to your betslip)
- NEXT BEST – Joshua to win by KO, TKO or DQ in the Seventh Round: “Pulev is experienced and may hold his own for the first half of the fight.” (8/1 – add to your betslip)
- LONG-SHOT – Pulev to win KO, TKO or DQ: “He’s a massive underdog but heavyweight fights throw up a shock every once in a while.” (12/1 – add to you betslip)
In the ring, however, he knows exactly what he’s doing and he is expected to turn his unbeaten record up to 11 with another classy win.
But there is a dark urge in the back of the fighter’s mind that has him crying out for a once-in-a-lifetime brawl that will go down in the ages, one where his heart is tested far more than his head.
He said: “Obviously everyone wants to win a world title but I would rather be in a fight like Arturo Gatti vs Micky Ward or Diego Corrales vs Jose Castillo.
“People never forget those and I just want to be in a fight like that.
“I might change my mind once I have been involved in one, you never know.
“But it is just that fact that you are involved in a fight like that and everyone knows it was a great fight.
“In the gym we put that sort of work in and that is what people don’t see and you try not to do it in the ring because it’s an easier night if you don’t.
“It’s a good thing to do it, if it comes to it I will be more than happy to do it.”