It would be fair to say that Jason Easton has lived a rollercoaster life over the last 12 months or so. From losing his undefeated record in an attempt to win the vacant Commonwealth title, being convicted of assault and losing his boxing licence alongside splitting from both his long- term trainer and his ex- partner. This would have broken a lot of men but Jason is made of stern stuff, he has re-grouped and rediscovered love both in and out of the ring. As we spoke, he candidly explained what has been going on in his life and how he has become a changed man.
Jason is now training out of Leith Victoria with Gary Young, I mentioned that when we had spoken in the past his relationship with previous trainer Kenny McCartney had seemed more like a father son relationship and that I never thought they would split up. Jason explained how it all happened.
“I never thought we would ever split up either to be honest, I have nothing bad to say about Kenny and I respect him so much but we don’t even speak any more. What happened was I was sparring with Joe Murray and I remember over hearing someone saying that by watching me they would learn a lot but Kenny said no, watch Joe. I was so hurt; I’ve just come off the back of a loss and he is saying that. I sort of lost the rag and I ended up walking out of the gym. We did speak a week later and he said that I caught the end of a conversation, but surely, he would have told me that earlier. I felt like I didn’t want to go back to the gym so I contacted Gary Young and asked if I could come down for a session as he had helped train me before in the amateurs. Once I was there, I started to think maybe a change is what I need. We posted something on Facebook with me on the pads but really it was just to help promote Gary’s business as he does a lot of personal training. Kenny saw it and got the wrong end of the stick, I tried to explain I wasn’t doing it to get at him. Kenny helped changed my life, not only was he my trainer but he also gave me a job and I wouldn’t be where I am without him so why would I want to hurt him. Ever since my loss I had been coming home from my work and not enjoying it any more. I ended up just feeling that the best thing for me could be a change with some new faces and new scenery. As well as Gary I have Junior Burton doing my strength and conditioning. I’m now loving training again and it was Gary that has brought my love back, I’m dieting properly and sitting comfortably at the weight. I looked ill at the weigh in for my last fight against Glenn Foot.”
Speaking of that last fight Jason was again very honest in his assessment of his preparations.
“The training itself was good but my head wasn’t in the best place, I usually make the weight easily but for this one I was 10 pounds over the week before. Forty minutes before the weigh in I was still 1 lb and 3 ounces over and thought I’d lose it easy. I skipped for 20 minutes with the sweat suit on but barely got a sweat on, I went back on the scales and I’d lost two ounces. It was now only 20 minutes before the official weigh in so I started doing running on the treadmill and came in just under. Even after the weigh in I was doing things I wouldn’t normally do. I had three coffees and then went to Nando’s for chicken and had three fizzy drinks, I was just thinking ‘what am I doing?’. The next day I kept running to the toilet, I was so drained by the time the fight came at night. I didn’t feel myself but I still thought I had a puncher’s chance in the fight. I fought a stupid fight and was walking into his right hand which was the very thing we had trained to stay away from”.
Jason also made the headlines for the wrong reasons later that year as he was convicted of an attack and was made to attend anger management classes as well as complete 250 hours community service. Added to this the board stripped him of his licence until he had served his sentence.
“The incident itself was a drunken night out, I was heading up the road and someone started mouthing off. My mate and brother ran over the road, I went over and in the camera footage you can actually see me pulling them back. I did ask the guy what he was doing when he said something to me and I hit him once, he hit the ground and I put him in the recovery position straight away. The judge said that because of that he wouldn’t give me jail time as it showed I didn’t initially mean to harm him. For that reason, I got the community service and had to pay compensation as well. Between that, losing my fight and my licence as well splitting up with my ex and Kenny it has been the absolute worst year of my life without a doubt”.
Jason also touched on the rumours that were going around saying he’d had a problem with his latest brain scans.
“I had to go and see a neurologist and that was the scariest part as they thought I could have a subdural haematoma which is a minor bruising or bleed on the brain. I remember sitting in the room waiting to get my results, he came in with a real bad look on his face and I thought ‘oh no he’s going to tell me I’ve got something wrong with my brain’. He just sat down and said good news everything is fine; the only thing was when he showed me the pictures you could see how out of line my nose was! Now everything is looking brighter, at the time it was all happening I was actually going home to my dad’s house and bursting into tears every day yet I wouldn’t speak to anyone about it. I know I should have but I just preferred to try and deal with it all myself. I did eventually speak to my mum and brother and was breaking down to them a lot as we spoke about it. My girlfriend Mel has also been a huge help to me and is really supportive”.
With everything that has happened, I was curious as to what advice this version of Jason would give to his younger self if he could.
“Stay away from the town and don’t go out into areas where things could happen. There are too many people that either know you or sometimes don’t even know you and they want to kick off and have a fight with you”.
Looking ahead to brighter days and getting his licence reinstated, Jason touched on how much of a help and influence Gary Young has had on him.
“Gary has changed first of all my love for boxing but he has also got me sharper on my toes and dipping and moving rather than staying in there and banging as I had a tendency to do that. I want my career to be as long as possible and if I had kept to my old style it could have really shortened my career. He has also been doing some amazing work with me concentrating on creating a lot of angles, we are doing pads every day as well which is improving me a lot. He has given me the belief that I’m going to get back to the top. We have been to a meeting with the board last week to discuss getting my licence back and gave them everything they needed. Hopefully I will hear very shortly and then we can make plans to get back in the ring. I want to be back out there as soon as I can and fully intend to be challenging for more titles and having those big nights back”.
Interview by Jon Bruce.