CASEY Brown’s two sporting loves are about to meet in a very special way.

Fiercely loyal to both Phoenix Fire Amateur Boxing Club and Rylands Sharks rugby league, the 21-year-old will hit a special milestone for the former on Friday.

His fight with Knowsley Vale’s Charlie Abbott will be his 100th amateur contest.

To make it even more special, the bout will take place at Rylands Recreation Club – a place where he has spent most of his formative years.

While rugby league may no longer be played at Gorsey Lane, it is still a place that holds so many memories for Brown.

“It’s a big thing and I’m really looking forward to it,” he said.

“I’m the first boxer from Phoenix to ever have 100 fights and that makes me unbelievably proud. It makes it that little bit more special.

“The only way it could have been better is if Rylands was still a rugby club.

“To be able to fight at somewhere I’ve grown up and played rugby at for 13 years is incredible.

“I’ve never boxed there before. I was meant to a couple of times but the fights have fallen through.

“To have my 100th fight there is a bit of a fairytale, to be honest.”

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Casey Brown in action

Brown has won 60 of his 99 bouts – a more than respectable record considering the calibre of fighters he has shared a ring with.

It was a career that started down the road in St Helens and has seen him box all over the country and abroad.

When asked for a career highlight, Brown picked out a defeat. It may sound surprising, but it gives an indication of how dear to his heart the Phoenix Fire club is.

“A highlight for me was boxing on our 25th anniversary show at Parr Hall. It was the first time we had ever done a show there,” he said.

“I lost that fight, but the show was just sheer quality. For our little club to sell out Parr Hall was mesmerising.

“Boxing has taken me all over the country and to places like Spain, Ireland and Jersey.

“I boxed a lad called Kieran Sutton in my first fight at St Helens Town Hall. I was 11 or 12 years old.

“Since then, he’s gone on to win a couple of national titles and has represented England. Even early on, I was fighting good quality opponents.

“I hold Phoenix so dear to my heart. I owe them so much.

“I can’t imagine pulling on the kit of any other club.”

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Through high school at Beamont Collegiate Academy, Brown was classmates with Warrington Wolves hooker Danny Walker and England futsal international Jordan Edge.

Sporting pedigree was never too far away and Brown himself was multi-talented, which meant a pretty punishing regime.

For much of his career, Brown has combined boxing with rugby league at Rylands.

As a promising full-back, he was even picked up by The Wire’s talent scouts and was in their scholarship system until the age of 16.

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Brown playing rugby league for Rylands Sharks

“It was very hard at times. I’d be playing rugby on a Sunday and in the boxing gym on a Monday,” Brown said.

“It was very punishing on my body but very rewarding. Both sports have given me so many happy memories and opportunities.

“Not many people can say they’ve played rugby for their hometown club one week and then boxed around the country the week after.

“It was such an honour to pull on that Warrington jersey and run out at the likes of Wigan and Wakefield.

“I even scored on my debut against Hull KR, which was one of a few surreal moments.

“I can’t see myself playing for any Warrington club other than Rylands.

“Because of the way the boxing season runs, I would box until the summer and then play rugby.

“I only managed to play once this year, which was 14 years in a row playing at Rylands.”

Brown is currently studying Physical Education at Liverpool John Moores University while working towards his coaching qualifications for boxing.

When the time does eventually come to hang up the gloves, helping bring through the next 100-fight amateur from Phoenix is his main drive.

“I’m already a boxing leader but I said to Damian (Ridpath, Phoenix Fire head coach) when I was 12 or 13 that I would be head coach of this gym one day. I still believe that now,” he said.

“One day I’ll finish all my coaching badges and focus on that.”

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