Paddy Lacey is finding redemption in the boxing ring after his career as a professional footballer fell apart in 2017 due to drugs.
Lacey improved his perfect boxing record to 7-0 with a dominant decision win over Seamus Devlin at the M&S Bank Arena in Liverpool on Saturday night.
The 29-year-old was originally set to fight early in the evening, but his fight ended up getting pushed back and he didn’t get into the ring until after Liam Smith stopped Hassan Mwakinyo in the main event.
A large contingent of locals stayed behind to watch Lacey ease his way to a point victory over six rounds and continue his remarkable transition to professional boxing.
The former footballer spent time on the books of several English Football League clubs such as Sheffield Wednesday and Bradford City, before finding his feet at Barrow and moving on to Accrington Stanley.
Lacey’s football career fell apart after he was given a 14-month ban by the Football Association for taking cocaine.
He admitted breaching anti-doping rules after testing positive for Benzoylecgonine, a metabolite of cocaine, following Accrington’s game against Hartlepool on November 22, 2017.
A few months later, Lacey was found in possession of 20.3 grams of cocaine, 16.8 grams of MDMA, and £520 in counterfeit £20 notes at Glastonbury Festival – he was later sentenced to 16 months in prison at Bristol Crown Court.
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After serving just five months, the scouser was released and could be forgiven for thinking his luck was about to change. However, he soon suffered a catastrophic knee injury that led to an operation and sepsis.
Lacey eventually managed to get back to full fitness and continues to play football at a semi-professional level for Warrington Rylands. He is also a carpet fitter as well as an undefeated pro boxer.
While beating a fighter whose record is now 1-38-1 won’t have him knocking on the door for a world title anytime soon, it’s clear to see Lacey has some talent.
Who knows, perhaps he will follow in the footsteps of former Premier League player Curtis Woodhouse who managed to bag himself a British title after leaving football to pursue boxing.