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Sacked and jailed ex-footballer set for prime boxing slot on undercard of Eddie Hearn show


Former professional footballer Paddy Lacey is plotting sporting redemption in the squared circle.

Lacey was previously on the books at Football League side Accrington Stanley – but is now targeting success as a boxer.

The midfielder made 11 appearances for Stanley in League Two in the first half of the 2016-17 season, even scoring the winner in a clash against Portsmouth.

But his world then came crashing down as he was sacked by Stanley and handed a 14-month ban from football after testing positive for cocaine.

Worse was to follow when he was then jailed.

But he has turned his life around since then and now juggles a carpet fitting business and playing semi-professional football with Chester City – whilst also trying to climb the ranks of the sweet science.

Can Lacey win a boxing title? Let us know in the comments section



Paddy Lacey played 11 league games for Accrington Stanley
Paddy Lacey played 11 league games for Accrington Stanley

This weekend will see Lacey, 28, compete at an Eddie Hearn show at the M&S Bank Arena in his native Liverpool. He’ll be on the undercard of the Conor Benn vs Chris Algieri bill.

It is a world away from the troubles he has encountered in recent years but also a shows of how far he has come.

After his release by Stanley, Lacey admits he fell in with the wrong crowd.

He had attended Glastonbury in 2017, where he was found in possession of cocaine, MDMA and hundreds of pounds in counterfeit notes.

He was jailed for 16 months, serving five of them. Speaking to the BBC about his experience inside, Lacey said: “That was my medicine.

“To be honest, it was the best thing that ever happened to me.



Paddy Lacey was sentenced to 16 months in prison in 2017
Paddy Lacey was sentenced to 16 months in prison in 2017

“I thought the judge was harsh on me. I got 14 months for the forged notes and another two months for possession of drugs at Glastonbury.

“When I went down to the court, the judge said ‘Look, I deal with people every day who have nothing going for them. You’ve got a letter here off England Boxing, you’ve got letters from football clubs…. You’ve got the world at your feet and you keep messing up. You’re going to have to learn a harsh lesson’.

“It gave me that thinking time when you’re sat there 23 hours a day.”

After being released Lacey soon set about trying to prove people wrong. He upped his boxing training and returned to football, joining Southport and then current club Chester.



Paddy Lacey with Matchroom Boxing supremo Eddie Hearn
Paddy Lacey with Matchroom Boxing supremo Eddie Hearn

That Lacey’s latest and most high-profile boxing match will come almost five years to the day since his last appearance as a professional footballer is something that is not lost on him.

He added: “My last game in the Football League was against Leyton Orient on December 10, 2016.

“Five years later I’m fighting in the M&S Bank Arena. If you’d told me that five years ago, I’d have never believed you.

“I feel like I’ve developed so much, as a boxer and as a person. I feel really happy at the way I’ve come on.

“I’m hoping in 2022 that I could be knocking on the door for a central area title. And then let’s see what happens.”





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